Ash Tree Survey Continues; Meetings Set for Thursday on Emerald Ash Borer

CONCORD — A month after the emerald ash borer was discovered in an ash tree by the Merrimack River, a survey of trees within a 3-mile perimeter has determined several more are infested with the insect.
The emerald ash borer is an invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees, which account for about 4 percent of the total hardwood forest in New Hampshire. The Granite State is one of 19 states and two Canadian provinces dealing with infestations.
Within days of the confirmation that the EAB was found, survey teams established a perimeter and began assessing its extent.
"We've been surveying out to the 3-mile perimeter and we have found several infestations along the river," said Kyle Lombard, entomologist with the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands. "That's where the ash are and they are traveling with the ash."
The beetle has been found in Concord and Bow and its presence there affects all of Merrimack County. An emergency quarantine went into effect April 8, meaning that all species of ash and all hardwood firewood, as well as woodchips containing ash and anything that could spread the emerald ash borer, cannot be moved outside of the county.
Two informational meetings are set for May 2 at the New Hampshire Fire Academy, 98 Smokey Bear Blvd., Concord, from 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.
At the meetings, representatives from the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food, the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development's Division of Forests and Lands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection and Quarantine (USDA APHIS PPQ) and the U.S. Forest Service will describe the emerald ash borer's threat and the purpose and provisions of the quarantine. They will also answer questions and hear public comments about the quarantine. Feedback from the public will guide the state's continuing response.
The survey of the perimeter is expected to be completed by mid-May, at which time forestry officials will have information on the extent and how to deal with the infestation.
"Once we have a good handle on where this is and how big it is, we'll get our management strategy finalized and out to landowners," said Brad Simpkins, interim director of the Division of Forests and Lands. "We're hoping to do that by mid-May."
Emerald ash borer attacks and kills North American species of true ash, and tree death occurs three to five years following initial infestation. The detection in Concord is the first for New Hampshire and is the easternmost detection in North America.