USDA releases environmental assessment

May 18th, 2012    Author: Kristin Bednarski    Filed Under: News

The United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service released a second environmental assessment May 9 that outlines alternatives for the continued eradication of the Asian longhorned beetle from Ohio.

The Asian longhorned beetle is an invasive insect that was found in Clermont County in June of 2011.

Since the beetle was discovered in Tate Township, USDA-APHIS has been involved with the eradication process in the county, including the removal of 7,226 infested trees as of May 5.

“The environmental assessment describes our goal, which is to eradicate ALB from Ohio and the U.S. and our proposed actions for doing that,” Dr. Bob Baca, team leader for the environmental compliance program, said.

The environmental assessment analyzes four alternatives being considered in the eradication process including no action, full host tree removal, removal of infested trees and chemical treatment of high-risk host trees and removal of infested host trees and combination of removal or chemical treatment of high risk host trees.

The environmental assessment also includes an introduction, background information and references as well as the environmental impacts of the different alternatives.

“Our preferred approach is to do something other than no action,” Dr. Brendon Reardon, national program manager of the Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication Program, said. “That being said, there is no decision on what approach we would like to use. We want to learn from the public.”

Reardon said there will be a 60-day comment period for the public to submit comments about the environmental assessment. He said comments will be accepted until July 9.

“The important thing for people to realize is we have not made a decision,” Baca said about the alternatives. “And by submitting comments they can influence our decision.”

Baca said in-depth comments will help the most.

The environmental assessment can be found at www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/ea/alb.shtml. Paper copies are also available at the USDA-APHIS Amelia office at 1761-A State Route 125 in Amelia or by calling (513) 381-7180.

Comments about the environmental assessment can be sent to 4700 River Rd., Riverdale, MD 20737 or to brendon.reardon@aphis.usda.gov.

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