Local municipalities are urged to prepare for the financial burdens of emerald ash borer infestation.
In April, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County announced that there have been two recent detections of emerald ash borer-infested trees in Fredonia and Angola.
Emerald ash borer is a small invasive green beetle that infests and kills all species of American ash trees.
According Pat Marren, New York state Department of Conservation senior forester, nearly 20 counties in New York are infested - including Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties.
"Emerald ash borer is highly destructive - it is a tree killer for healthy and distressed trees alike," Marren said. "We're working to try to define the infestation."
According to Marren, infested trees may create financial difficult for municipalities.
"Municipalities need to have plans in place to implement," Marren said. "Plans to manage trees, treatment options, to spread costs out and remove trees - some trees may not be healthy enough for treatment. Budgets and manpower may be limiting factors."
According to Marren, the best course of action for homeowners dealing with infested trees is to contact a certified arborist.
"Firewood regulations are still in effect - we would ask people not move infested material," Marren said.
Emerald ash borer has been in the U.S. since the mid-1990s and was likely introduced through wood packing material brought into Michigan where emerald ash borer was first identified in 2002. The first detection in New York was near Randolph in 2009. Ash trees are commonly found as street trees, along roadsides and in yards and forests, comprising roughly 10 percent of trees in Chautauqua County.
Reportedly, emerald ash borer larvae have recently been documented at Chautauqua Gorge. The reports have not been officially substantiated by the DEC.
To report emerald ash borer sightings, call the Dunkirk DEC office at 363-2052.