Linden, NJ (March 14, 2013) – Federal and state agriculture officials have announced that New Jersey is free of the Asian longhorned beetle. “After more than a decade, we can declare New Jersey is free of this invasive pest,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher. “We could not have accomplished this eradication without this coalition of federal, state, and local agencies, and of course, the citizens of New Jersey, whose vigilance was critical in this fight.”
Secretary Fisher was joined by USDA Deputy Administrator for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection and Quarantine program Rebecca Bech, as well as local elected officials at an announcement ceremony and tree planting at Hawk Rise Sanctuary in Linden, New Jersey, a city that was severely impacted by the invasive pest.
“The united commitment by federal, state and local governments to achieve eradication has helped protect trees in the state of New Jersey and in our nation from the invasive Asian longhorned beetle,” stated Bech. “It is this commitment and cooperation that has resulted in success.”
The beetle was first discovered in Jersey City in October 2002. State and federal agriculture officials then found trees infested with the beetle in Carteret, Woodbridge, Linden, and Rahway. Eradication efforts involved the removal of 21,981 trees in Union, Middlesex, and Hudson counties. The infested trees were taken to Covanta resource recovery facility where they were converted to electrical energy to power some 30,000 homes and businesses.
Nearly a third of those trees have been replanted. Foresters replanted with a variety of non-host species, with each tree chosen specifically to meet the site requirements.
“The public is our best defense against the beetle,” said Deputy Administrator Bech. “Early detection is essential, and I want to thank the citizens of New Jersey for their efforts to stop the spread of this invasive pest.”
New Jersey is the second state to declare eradication from the beetle. ALB was successfully eradicated from Illinois in 2008. The ALB-regulated area of Islip, N.Y. also achieved eradication in 2011. An area is declared free of the ALB after all the infested trees are eliminated and surveys are negative for active signs of beetle activity or the presence of the beetle. Eradication announcements for Manhattan and Staten Island, N.Y. are also expected this year.
“While this eradication is a victory for forest health, many other pests still actively threaten New Jersey’s trees,” said State Forester Lynn Fleming. “We need every resident to keep vigilant and not move firewood and inspect their trees regularly for signs of infestation.”
News Release: New Jersey Declares Itself Free From Devastating Tree-Killing Pest