Emerald ash borer and firewood awareness in Boulder County, Colorado

Guest blog by Brett Stadsvold, EAB Coordinator for Boulder County Parks & Open Space, Colorado

In the dry and sunny Colorado climate, ash trees provide welcomed shade in our cities and backyards -but now those trees and the shade they provided are threatened by emerald ash borer (EAB). The invasive insect, EAB was discovered in Boulder, Colorado in September 2013 and is now presumed to be located throughout the city.  Foresters that are familiar with EAB know that once it is found in an area there is little hope for ash trees surviving the wave of ash decline without intervention.

Boulder County advertisement on the Denver RTD buses stationed in the Boulder Terminal

Most cities and towns in Boulder County have taken action to manage public ash trees, but a high percentage of the ash tree population in the county is located on private property. One of the biggest advantages agencies can gain when managing EAB is more time. In an effort to increase the time Boulder County and its cities and towns have for EAB management, agency staff are proactively educating residents on ash tree identification, private EAB plan development, and proper firewood practices.

With grant assistance from the Western IPM Center, Boulder County was able hire one dedicated staff person to attend public events and provide free EAB education for county residents. The grant also provided funding for a campaign to target property owners via direct mailers, social media, and six weeks of bus advertisements urging residents to learn how to identify ash trees and create an EAB management plan for private ash trees.

"Buy it Where You Burn it" firewood sign encouraging residents to obtain and burn local wood

Boulder County is a tourist destination for camping and recreation enthusiasts with many modern campgrounds and abundant dispersed camping areas in the surrounding mountains. Firewood often accompanies campers destined for the mountains, and we are concerned that EAB could be dispersed further as campers move with firewood across the county. In 2016, Boulder County plans to print firewood signs and work with the United States Forest Service and firewood sellers to place signage encouraging firewood users to obtain and burn firewood locally. DontMoveFirewood.org produced the digital content that will be both printed on yard signs in the National Forest Campgrounds in Boulder County, and used for a related social media campaign.

Proactive public education and outreach in multiple formats is necessary to build the local knowledge base on EAB and proper firewood practices. Boulder County thanks The Western IPM Center, DontMoveFirewood.org, and the United States Forest Service as being wonderful partners on this collaborative education effort.

Webinar: Changing Movement of Firewood by Campers, on October 21st

Join us for the 2nd edition of the 2015 FOCI webinar series, “Changing movement of firewood by campers: an eight year study of the effect of regulation and education” on October 21st, 2015 at 2pm Eastern. Learn about how Wisconsin used a combination of limited regulation and targeted persuasion to change public movement of firewood, what motivates people to move firewood (or not move firewood), and how the firewood professionals community can use this information to slow the spread of forest pests. Presentation will be led by Andrea Diss-Torrance, Invasive Forest Insects Program Coordinator with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

WEBINAR RECORDING NOW AVAILABLE: Changing movement of firewood by campers – stream recorded webinar (1hr 2min)

Note: the first 30 seconds while the webinar loads it may appear to be malfunctioning- and it gives a misleading message as if you have already watched the webinar. If you give it a minute to buffer and load, it should work well after that. Thanks for your understanding!

New threat to Hawaiian trees underscores need for prevention of spread

Guest blog by Faith Campbell with the Center for Invasive Species Prevention

The Hawaiian Islands’ remaining native forests are dominated by the ʻōhiʻa lehua tree (Metrosideros polymorpha). The tree provides nectar for the Islands’ unique honeycreepers- a subfamily of native Hawaiian birds. These birds, the Islands’ one native terrestrial mammal (Hawaiian hoary bat), and many of its endangered plant species depend on ʻōhiʻa-dominated forests. ‘Ōhi‘a also has significant cultural values to the Hawaiian people through its connection to the deities Ku, Pele (volcanoes) and Laka (hula).

‘Ōhi‘a trees on the “Big Island” (the island of Hawaii) are being killed by Ceratocystis Wilt of ‘Ōhi‘a or Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death (Ceratocystis fimbriata).  First detected in 2010, the new disease had killed more than half the ʻōhiʻa lehua trees on an area totaling 6,000 acres by 2014. Another 10,000 acres had lower but still significant mortality. The infestation is approaching Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

At this time, there is no known protective treatment or cure for the disease but thankfully the disease has not yet been reported on any of the other Hawaiian Islands. Because it is not yet known exactly how the disease spreads, to protect the other islands, the Hawaiian Department of Agriculture has adopted an emergency quarantine prohibiting movement of ʻōhiʻa lehua flowers, leaves, twigs, wood (including firewood), mulch, and greenwaste, off the Big Island. To learn more about the specifics of the quarantine, visit: https://hdoa.hawaii.gov/blog/main/ohiaquarantine/

Forestry officials also urge people to avoid transporting wood of affected ʻōhiʻa trees to any new areas on the Big Island and to clean pruning tools, chain saws, vehicles, and shoes used off-road in infected forest areas.  People with homes at higher elevations and on the windward (wet) slopes – such as those living outside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – do have wood-burning fires, and movement of ʻōhiʻa tree firewood to these homes should be avoided as a precaution. The native forests of Hawaii have many threats to their unique trees – making the need to avoid spreading this new and damaging tree disease all the more important.


For more information and complete citations, please visit the Ceratocystis Wilt of ‘Ōhi‘a gallery page