Wisconsin Entering Statewide Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine

DATCP Consulted With Stakeholders Before Imposing Quarantine

Emerald ash borer
Mike Groll/AP Photo

Wisconsin will soon be under a statewide emerald ash borer quarantine.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection made the announcement Wednesday that the imposed quarantine will go into effect Friday.

All but two of Wisconsin’s 72 counties either have the insect or are bordered by counties that do. The quarantine means there are no more county-by-county restrictions.

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Minnesota Department of Natural Resources/AP Photo

Presently, no one can move firewood out of a quarantined county to non-quarantined areas and business that handle ash wood must sign agreements with DATCP specifying how they’ll reduce the risk of moving the insect, according to The Associated Press. But imposing a statewide quarantine means firewood from an emerald ash borer-quarantined area can move freely between counties and businesses will no longer need risk-reduction agreements.

But DATCP Spokeswoman Donna Gilson said moving wood from one county to another is discouraged.

“It’s still really a bad idea because it is not just the emerald ash borer, there are still gypsy moths, there’s still oak wilt that is carried on firewood,” she said, adding that there is always the unknown to think about, “Who knows what other pests there might be that we’re not even aware of.”

There will still be restrictions on firewood brought onto federal lands and businesses looking to move wood from Wisconsin will need to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to reduce the risk of spreading the invasive species.

The emerald ash borer infiltrates trees and eventually kills them even though their presence might not be noticed for years, said Gilson.

“You can’t see the damage until it is well underway,” Gilson said.

Gilson said the borer was first noticed in southern Wisconsin about 10 years ago and has since spread north, usually on logs cut for firewood.

“In the northern half (of the state) we were getting this patchwork of counties and that is what really prompted the decision,” Gilson said.

Gilson said DATCP consulted with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state tribes before making the decision to issue the quarantine.

All of Wisconsin’s neighboring states have emerald ash borers, Gilson said.

Movement of firewood from counties under gypsy moth quarantines will still be prohibited, according to AP.

DATCP recommends outdoor enthusiasts purchase or bring their wood from local sources in an attempt to control the borer so the insect doesn’t infiltrate Wisconsin’s trees more than it already has.