State to Replant Trees Removed as Part of Effort to Eradicate Invasive Pest "ALB"
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) urban forestry program today accepted the final grant payment of $300,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the U.S. Forest Service to partner with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County to replant trees removed as part of the State's Asian Longhorned beetle (ALB) eradication effort. USDA has provided $1 million to DEC to coordinate this pest eradication project in the Long Island ALB quarantine zone. To kick-off the replanting event, DEC was joined by local partners for a ceremonial tree planting at Marjorie Post Park in Massapequa, Nassau County.
"Replanting these trees will help re-grow the tree canopy lost since the discovery of the Asian Longhorned Beetle in the town of Babylon in 2008," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Working together with state and federal partners, and community residents, we have proactively and effectively responded to the devastation caused by this invasive pest."
The ALB was first found in Amityville, Suffolk County, in 2008. Since that time, communities have replaced the trees removed due to the infestation. In July 2013, infested trees were discovered within the quarantine zone, largely in the town of Babylon. These trees were removed by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to limit the spread of the pest.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "The Department, working in close partnership with the DEC, the USDA and CCE, has been actively working with the community to control the spread of this invasive insect. We have made progress with the deregulation of Eastern Queens but continue our aggressive approach to combat the beetle in other areas, including on Long Island. I'm pleased the State has been able to secure the critical funding needed to replant the trees removed, providing an opportunity for healthy new tree growth and regeneration for years to come."
After a tip from an alert citizen, DEC and APHIS investigated the quarantine zone and identified 500 newly infested trees. The town of Babylon has replanted more than 100 trees on public property, including sites along Routes 109 and 110 and around Republic Airport. Trees will be planted along the Southern State Parkway to help replace trees removed in that area. The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County will continue to coordinate replanting on private property, including private residential yards, St. Charles Cemetery, New Montefiore Cemetery, St. Charles Cemetery, and Mt. Ararat Cemetery.
In addition, Cornell Cooperative Extension has entered into an agreement with the town of Babylon to replant trees on municipal property within the quarantine zone. Residents will also have the opportunity to plant a replacement tree at or near the site of a removed tree as part of the program. In total, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County has planted more than 900 trees since 2008.
Educational materials and tree maintenance tips will help residents care for the newly planted trees. A ceremonial tree will be planted at the event to celebrate the eradication and replanting effort.
USDA Forest Service Field Representative, John Parry said "The partners involved in this re-forestation effort have worked very well together, to efficiently restore the urban forest for the communities and the property owners involved"
"On behalf of the entire Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County (CCE-NC) Association I would like to thank APHIS, USDA, U.S. Forest Service, NYS DEC and our many other local partners for your on-going support with our ALB replanting efforts here in the Quarantine Zone on Long Island" said Gregory M. Sandor, Executive Director, CCE-NC.
"Over the past two years this partnership has been a tremendous success with over 1,000 trees planted from a diverse list of trees and put together by our local CCE-NC staff. With this $300,000 extension of this grant, we look forward to continuing our replanting efforts and working closely with our local, state and federal partners."
The Asian Longhorned beetle is a dangerous pest of hardwood trees. Native to China, Japan and Korea, the insect was likely transported via packing materials used for international shipping. The first infestation was discovered in Brooklyn in 1996. ALB has also been found in Queens, Nassau, and parts of Suffolk County. The town of Islip declared ALB eradicated in 2011.
The DEC Urban Forestry Program will continue to coordinate the project and provide outreach and technical assistance. Visit DEC's Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) web page for more information on ALB in New York State, including the ALB locations map.