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MI Dept. of Agriculture & Rural Development Seeks Comments on Proposed Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Interior Quarantine

Agency: Agriculture and Rural Development

For immediate release: December 22, 2016

Media contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724 Program contact: Mike Bryan, 517-284-5648

LANSING – The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced today it is seeking public comment on a proposed Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Interior Quarantine.  Hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) is an insect pest from Asia which has caused the death of millions of hemlock trees across North America. Historically, HWA has not been found in Michigan; however, in the past few years it has been detected at multiple sites in three counties in western Michigan.  The proposed quarantine is developed to help stop the spread of HWA into other parts of the state and to limit spread in those three counties.  

Under the proposed quarantine, movement of hemlock nursery stock, branches, boughs, uncomposted chips, logs and firewood would be regulated. Specifically, movement out of, or within, the three county area would be prohibited except under compliance agreement issued by MDARD. The proposed regulated area includes Allegan, Muskegon and Ottawa counties.

“Michigan forests contain an estimated 170 million hemlock trees, and thousands more are planted in home landscapes,” said MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams. “If HWA were to become widely established in Michigan it would cause severe losses across multiple industries, including timber products, nursery stock and tourism.”

“Eastern hemlock is a foundation in North American forests because of its influence on fish and wildlife habitat,” said Bill O’Neill, state forester and chief of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Forest Resources Division. “Hemlock trees provide critical shade to cool cold water trout streams, and white-tailed deer, songbirds and small mammals rely on hemlock for food and shelter. Hemlock trees also provide diversity among Michigan’s northern hardwoods, which provide clean air and water, and a backdrop for world-class recreation.”

A draft of the proposed HWA Interior Quarantine is available at www.michigan.gov/pestquarantines

MDARD has opened a comment period of 45 days to allow the public an opportunity to provide input on the proposed Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Interior Quarantine. All comments must be received by MDARD no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 6, 2017. Comments may be sent electronically to bryanm@michigan.gov.  Comments submitted in hard copy form can be sent to the address below:

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division P.O. Box 30017 Lansing, MI 48909

For more information on HWA, visit www.michigan.gov/HWA  or  www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies. For more information on the proposed interior quarantine, contact Mike Bryan, Plant Industry Specialist, at 517-284-5648.

 

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