A 25-county quarantine of ash products and firewood was announced Friday in an effort to slow the spread of the emerald ash borer.
The quarantine, which covers the eastern one-fourth of the state, is also intended to allow wood product businesses to continue to operate, said Bill Northey, secretary of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
“This quarantine is established to make sure that any ash products that leave these counties do not spread the pest,” Northey said.
The quarantine follows the confirmation of emerald ash borer infestations in four Eastern Iowa counties, the most recent last month in Mechanicsville in Cedar County.
The state's first infestation was confirmed in 2010 on a Mississippi River island in Allamakee County. Rigorous monitoring found no additional infestations until this summer when infested ash trees were confirmed in Burlington in July and in Fairfield in August.
The three recent confirmations prompted state foresters to predict a more widespread emergence of the tree-killing invasive beetle.
"I think we will see it start to fill in the gaps between the confirmed infestations," said Paul Tauke, chief of the Department of Natural Resources Forestry Bureau. State Urban Forester Emma Hanigan said she would not be surprised to see it surface in many Iowa counties within the next year.
The quarantine regulates the ash borer at any living state, entire ash trees, firewood of any hardwood species, any cut or fallen material of the ash, non-heat treated ash lumber with either bark or sapwood attached and hardwood wood or bark chips larger than one inch in two dimensions.
Regulated items cannot be moved from a county included in the quarantine unless a permit has been issued by either IDALS or the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) or if the article has been treated to exterminate any pests under the supervision of USDA and IDALS.
The counties included in the quarantine are Winneshiek, Allamakee, Fayette, Clayton, Buchanan, Delaware, Dubuque, Linn, Jones, Jackson, Clinton, Johnson, Cedar, Scott, Keokuk, Washington, Muscatine, Louisa, Wapello, Jefferson, Henry, Des Moines, Davis, Van Buren and Lee.
A full copy of the quarantine can be found on the Department’s website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov under the “Hot Topics” section.
EAB kills all ash species and is considered to be one of the most destructive tree pests ever seen in North America.All Iowans are strongly cautioned not to transport firewood across county or state lines, since the movement of firewood throughout Iowa or to other states poses the greatest threat to quickly spread EAB even further. Most EAB infestations in the United States have been started by people unknowingly moving infested firewood, nursery plants or sawmill logs.