AUGUSTA — On January 14, 2021 the federal quarantine regulations restricting the movement of the emerald ash borer (EAB) were removed by the USDA to refocus their resources on biological control of the pest. Despite the USDA’s shift in emphasis, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) Maine Forest Service (MFS) and Plant Health Program (PHP) will continue to regulate the movement of EAB because an estimated 90 percent of Maine’s ash trees remain outside of the currently regulated quarantine areas. Approximately four percent of trees in Maine’s hardwood forests are ash. In addition to its roles in the forest ecosystem, white ash is a valuable timber species, green ash is an important street tree and black/brown ash is an important cultural resource for the Wabanaki Tribes. EAB threatens all these species of ash trees (but not mountain-ash, Sorbus spp.) and will have significant ecological and economic impacts on the state. There are no practical means to control EAB in forested areas, though pesticide treatments can protect individual trees. DACF continues to see opportunities to slow the spread of this devastating insect and has amended the EAB quarantine effective April 21, 2021.
What You Need To Know
- An exterior quarantine was added to the EAB rules.
The amended state quarantine rules add prohibition on movement of potentially EAB infested materials into the State of Maine from other states and/or from Canadian provinces formerly included in the federal regulation.
- The amended rule also expands the regulated area in northern Maine.
The rule as adopted adds the towns of Caswell, Connor Township and New Sweden to the existing Aroostook County quarantine area to provide a buffer around the latest EAB find in Van Buren (see map). It also adds the towns of Saint John Plantation, Saint Francis and Allagash to the west of the existing quarantine to help facilitate movement of firewood for home heating (see map).
- The new rule eases the restrictions on the movement of hardwood and ash wood chips.
The restrictions on movement of composted or uncomposted chips of the genus Fraxinus are removed. The level of risk of spread of EAB from movement of chips is not enough to balance the amount of resources required to regulate that product. Removing this restriction is not expected to significantly increase the potential for EAB spread.
- BMPs are still very important even inside the quarantine areas.
Despite the expansion of the northern Aroostook regulated area MFS and the PHP encourage all who are involved in moving ash tree products to follow Best Management Practices. Even within regulated areas, spread of EAB can be reduced through these important steps.
More information on EAB can be found on the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s EAB website.
Questions about the quarantine rule can be directed to email@example.com or by telephone at 207-287-7545.
Maps courtesy Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
–Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
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