by Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension, Benton, Linn and Polk Counties and Wyatt Williams, ODF Invasive Species Specialist
A large purple box hanging in the trees along Airlie Road last year caught my attention at 55 mph. Pulling over I recognized it as a monitoring trap for one of the current invasive species threatening Oregon’s woodlands. Luckily ODF and others are watching out.
The emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive insect from Asia, has killed an estimated 100 million trees and caused more than $3.5 billion dollars’ worth of damage and property value losses in the eastern U.S. since its arrival in the 1990’s. All 16 North American ash species are threatened with extinction, including our native Oregon ash. The furthest west population yet detected is in Boulder, Colorado – a day’s drive or so from Oregon in a motor home. Originally introduced to the U.S. via wood packaging material, it is now spread across the continent in infested firewood.
With summer travel and camping season upon us, you can do your part by educating people about the dangers of moving firewood. There is a whole national campaign about this: Don’t Move Firewood. If like me, you enjoy bossing people around, insist your visitors not transport wood!
ODF is working with Oregon State University and OSU Extension, the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the US Forest Service, APHIS, and Washington Department of Natural Resources in order to ‘save our ash.’
Of course this is not the only invasive we worry about, as human travel and commerce create ever increasing opportunities for insects and diseases to jump around. Chestnut blight and Port-Orford-cedar root rot are some older examples and sudden oak death a more recent arrival. Here in the Willamette Valley, people are becoming aware of a problem in black walnuts. Here is a good article about the thousand canker disease which is killing black walnuts in the area that was just posted last week.
Wow. That is a lot of grim information. We’ll try to find something happier next time…..