The state is taking swift action in the wake of last week's discovery of the emerald ash borer in wood in Prospect and Naugatuck.
The beetle, one of two that Connecticut officials have been concerned about arriving within the state, has the potential to devastate the state's elm tree population.
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station (CAES) announced:
DEEP and CAES said they were moving forward to quickly put in place:
- A quarantine zone that would prohibit the movement of certain wood products out of New Haven County, the area in which EAB has now been detected
- A ban on the importation of firewood into Connecticut through New York or Massachusetts – unless it is properly certified or has not come from an area of infestation
- Additional detection traps – known as “Barney” traps becaue of their purple color – in the Prospect area to monitor the presence of EAB and help assess their presence
- A “delimiting” survey to help determine the area in which EAB is present and the extent of the infestation
- Suspension of all timber contracts and firewood permits for state forest lands in New Haven County
- A survey with federal agencies to determine how long the EAB infestation has been present in our state, information which will help determine best strategies for addressing it
DEEP will also maintain a ban that has been in place against bringing any firewood into state parks and forests. Wood is made available at these facilities for campers.
DEEP and CAES , the first record of this pest in Connecticut. There is also a second probable detection of EAS in Naugatuck State Forest, with final verification from federal officials in process.
DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty said, “We are taking the first presence of EAB in our state very seriously, and are taking all steps to stop the spread of this pest in Connecticut and throughout New England. We will direct all necessary resources to this effort. The quarantine, the restrictions on movement of firewood and other actions we will take are designed to help protect our trees and the beauty of our forests, parks, communities and neighborhoods.”
CAES Director Louis A. Magnarelli said, “CAES will work with DEEP and other partners to address the threat posed by EAB. Scientists on our staff are fully engaged in this issue and will continue to help develop and implement the best strategies for dealing with this threat to our natural resources.”
Esty and Magnarelli said the quarantine on the movement of wood from New Haven County will be established immediately after a required public hearing on the issue is held. Plans are being made to hold that hearing as soon as legally possible.
They also said the prohibitions on the importation of firewood will be put in place through emergency state regulations, that will be presented to Governor Malloy for his signature within the next few days.
The ban can be imposed on firewood traveling through New York and Massachusetts because they are areas where infestations of invasive insects have already taken place – with EAB in New York and a second insect, the Asian Long Horned Beetle having been found in Massachusetts.
Firewood with certification showing it has not come from an infected area – or has been properly treated to kill insects – will be exempt from the ban.