The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Agriculture and Markets is expanding a quarantine of the transportation of ash wood in parts of the Hudson Valley and other parts of the state as it hopes to contain the spread of the emerald ash borer, a beetle that feeds on ash species.
This week, the DEC announced that the expanded quarantine would cover 43 of the state’s 62 counties, including Dutchess, Westchester, Putnam and Rockland. Officials hope that the transportation restrictions will slow the spread of the insect, which damage ash trees by disrupting water and nutrient flow to the plant.
Items being regulated in the restricted counties include ash wood, logs, untreated firewood, nursery stock and wood chips. The DEC is prohibiting the transportation or movement of those items in any life stage, unless for management, control, identification or disposal.
According to the DEC, the emerald ash borer does not travel far on its own, and human movement of infested materials, especially firewood and logs, is the biggest cause of spread to uninfected areas. Officials hope that by limiting human movement of potentially infested material, they can slow the spread and provide greater protection for the unsullied regions.
The beetle, which is a shiny green and approximately the size of a penny, first appeared in Detroit more than a decade ago near the Great Lakes and it has since spread through the Midwest before making its way to New York in 2009.