Regional EAB group plans important meeting Nov. 18

LUDLOW, Vt. – REREC, a newly-formed regional group designed to assist area towns with the onset of the emerald ash borer infestation, will meet Monday, Nov. 18 at 10 a.m. in Ludlow Town Hall to start its preparation of detailed programs to help local towns deal with the EAB crisis.

EAB larvae infestion in an ash tree. Photo provided

REREC, which stands for Regional EAB Resource Committee, currently has members from both Windsor and Rutland counties. The urgency of the group’s efforts has dramatically increased with the recent detection of EAB infestation in Londonderry. While the EAB insect travels a fairly limited distance that would normally slow down the spread of the infection, the use of ash tree firewood from infected areas has resulted in the more rapid spread of EAB.

According to Ralph Pace, REREC chairman, the meeting will be focused on establishing work teams to deal with the six main areas of concern in dealing with EAB infestation. These include:

  • Develop guidelines, forms, reference documentation, and procedures to inventory ash tree population, location, size, and condition;
  • Prepare educational tools, publications, and news releases to inform public officials and private landowners;
  • Develop plans for the disposition of removed ash trees and permitted uses of them;
  • Evaluate methodology, approved chemicals and appliers, estimated costs, frequency of use, and guidelines for decision to include tree in the legacy category;
  • Prepare guidelines for determining areas to be included in inventory process, ownership and responsibility for tree removal and protection, suggest appropriate local ordinances, and define the legal status of private landowners RE EAB; and
  • Create an overall model town plan for the management of its EAB policy and procedures using information from the above efforts.

All of these steps will be performed with the advice and assistance of both state forestry officials and regional planning commissions. REREC will continue working with similar EAB resource groups in the state.

While the primary focus of the group will be on ash trees in the public domain, notably covering public right of ways, REREC intends to offer as much assistance as it can to private landowners. However, Pace noted, “The ultimate burden for dealing with EAB on private properties will be that of the owner.”

The emerald ash borer is an exotic beetle that was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. The adult beetles nibble on ash foliage but cause little damage. The larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. Emerald ash borer probably arrived in the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating in its native Asia. As of October 2018, it is now found in 35 states, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Manitoba.

The attached photo illustrates how the larvae of the EAB attacks the cambium layer between the bark and hardwood core of the ash tree destroy the trees ability to send nourishment to the rest of the tree, thus slowly killing it.

Pace indicated that other regional towns interested in working with REREC are welcome to participate in the Nov. 18 meeting. For more information, call 802-228-7239.

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