LANSING – The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development today announced a Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Interior Quarantine to protect the state’s 170 million hemlock trees from a pest which has killed trees across North America. HWA has already been found in four counties along Lake Michigan in the Lower Peninsula, more specifically in Allegan, Muskegon, Oceana and Ottawa counties.
The quarantine follows an increasing number of detections of this exotic pest in west Michigan. MDARD attributes the infestations to shipments of infested nursery stock which were brought into Michigan from infested eastern states prior to 2002, when the state’s Exterior HWA Quarantine was first put into effect.
The HWA Interior Quarantine generally regulates the shipment of hemlock nursery stock within and out of the four counties. The new quarantine also regulates movement of hemlock forest products including hemlock yard waste. Hemlock logs, lumber and firewood without any attached twigs or branches are exempt.
“If HWA continues to spread in Michigan, it could cause significant losses to the state’s forest and tourism industries,” said Gina Alessandri, MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division Director. “This quarantine will keep the pest from moving into new areas of the state and slow the spread within the four already affected counties.”
According to the USDA Forest Service, hemlock trees have a strong impact on streamside habitat conditions and stream health. Loss of hemlock can result in a rise in water temperatures in streams and an increase in soil erosion. Long-term negative effects include reduction in property values and decline in tourism revenues.
“Michigan’s hemlock trees are a keystone species that plays a critical role in many of the state’s forests. We need everyone’s help to slow the spread and protect this natural resource,” added Alessandri.
Additional information about the HWA Interior Quarantine is available at www.michigan.gov/mdard. For more information on HWA, visit the following websites: http://michigan.gov/exoticpests or www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies
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