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Macomb Tries To Halt Emerald Ash Borer

An Emerald Ash Borer
photo from US Forest Service
An Emerald Ash Borer

Macomb aldermen agreed to take steps designed to prevent an unwanted guest from making itself at home in the community.

The city will not allow campers to bring firewood in to Spring Lake Park unless it in shrink-wrapped bundles and certified by the USDA to be free of the Emerald Ash Borer.

Firewood that is not USDA certified would be confiscated and immediately burned.

City Forester Tim Howe said the EAB lays its eggs in firewood, and campers then help the destructive insect get around.

“It does spread by firewood. Normally they would go a-half mile a year if they were just spreading naturally. But Tree Board member Dan Glenn made the observation that if it's in the back of a pickup truck going down the interstate, it spreads at 60 miles an hour,” Howe said.

He said Spring Lake personnel would likely exchange firewood with campers who bring in non-certified wood.

Howe said a recent estimate indicated there are around 300 ash trees on city property and roughly 1,200 on private property in Macomb.

Howe said the Emerald Ash Borer is getting closer to Macomb. He said it has been spotted in Toulon, which is around 80 miles away, and he acknowledged its arrival is likely inevitable.

“But the longer we can keep it out of Macomb, the better we can be prepared,” Howe said.

“The federal government is working on controls all the time and they may come up with a biological control that let's us save some of our ash trees.”

Howe said the EAB was brought into North America from Asia in 2002. Since then, it has destroyed more than 26 million trees in North America.  He compared the destruction to Dutch Elm Disease, which he said wiped out many trees in Macomb years ago.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.