Managing invasive insect poses potential $11.7 million impact over next 10 years
NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York has approved a management plan to monitor and help mitigate the impact of the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect that kills all types of ash trees.
The Emerald Ash Borer was discovered in the City of Vaughan in 2008. Since that time, York Region has been working closely with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Canadian Forest Services, Ministry of Natural Resources, conservation agencies and local municipalities to monitor its spread. Eradication is not viable for managing this pest.
“The presence of the Emerald Ash Borer in our community poses a tremendous threat to the 2.8 million ash trees in our forests, back yards and along our roads,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. “Managing the spread of this species and moderating its impact will be essential if we are to protect the health of our forests and the significant investment we have made in expanding our green spaces.”
Surveying is underway across southern York Region to help determine the extent of the infestation. Recent positive identifications have been made in the City of Vaughan, Town of Richmond Hill and the Town of Markham. The spread suggests the Emerald Ash Borer could destroy all ash trees in York Region in the next 10 to 15 years.
To help manage the impact of the Emerald Ash Borer, York Region’s Management Plan includes:
• Development of a communications strategy to educate residents and other stakeholders
• Increasing private planting programs and incentives to help offset impacts to affected landowners
• Timely identification and removal of infested ash trees along Regional roads and along paths in the York Regional Forest
• Replanting with different native tree species after affected ash trees are removed
• Protecting significant ash trees with pesticide
• Annual surveys to monitor the expansion of the infestation
York Region has re-allocated $50,000 from other forestry programs to support communications and surveying in 2011. Full implementation of the Emerald Ash Borer management plan could cost as much as $11.7 million over 10 years.
“It is essential to have an accurate determination of where the Emerald Ash Borer is located in our Region, as well as a firm sense of how fast the infestation is spreading, if we are to properly manage this insect’s negative impact,” said Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor Wayne Emmerson, Chair of the Region’s Transportation Services Committee. “In addition to our environmental protection needs, we will need to be extremely vigilant to ensure affected ash trees are identified and replaced before becoming a potential hazard to people and property.”
To learn more about the Emerald Ash Borer please visit www.inspection.gc.ca/pests
or call the CFIA toll-free number at 1-866-463-6017. Local information is available via the front page link at www.york.ca
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Media Contact: Michael Kemp, Corporate Communications, York Region
Phone: 905-830-4444 Ext. 1232 / Cell: 905-251-6419