FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 12, 2012
SCHUMER CALLS ON U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TO EDUCATE PUBLIC ABOUT ASIAN LONG-HORNED BEETLES; INVASIVE SPECIES HAS POTENTIAL TO DESTROY CHAUTAUQUA & CATTARAUGUS MAPLE TREES
Asian Long-Horned Beetles Pose Big Risk To Maple Trees – If Beetles Make Way To Chautauqua & Cattaraugus Counties, Maple Tree Industry Would Suffer Greatly
Schumer, In A Letter To USDA, Requested Officials Be Made Available Throughout The Summer At County Fairs & Other Local Events In Chautauqua To Inform Public About Beetle Risks And Ensure Public Has The Tools They Need
Schumer: To Protect Our Maple Trees, We Must Act Now
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called upon the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to take critical steps to prevent the Asian Long-Horned Beetle, an invasive species, from making its way to Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. Recently, the wood-devouring species has been identified in nearby Ohio.
Asian Long-Horned Beetles pose a significant threat to maple trees, which play a vital role in Chautauqua’s economy. Chautauqua County is home to numerous farms that produce maple syrup, and boasts nearly 5.9 million potential maple sap taps.
“If the Asian Long-Horned Beetle were to develop a presence in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties, it would significantly impact the local community, devastate maple trees and harm the economy. That’s why we need to take action now to prevent it from taking root here,” said Schumer. “This would be particularly devastating as Chautauqua County has already suffered through the impact of the Emerald Ash Borer, which damaged trees throughout the region.”
In his letter to the USDA Secretary Vilsack, Senator Schumer emphasized that local residents must have the information and tools they need, and asked that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service office (APHIS) provide staff support at community events, like County Fairs and other local events, throughout Chautauqua County this summer, including the Chautauqua County fair to help educate and inform the public.
“We simply cannot wait to take action. We need to take proactive steps to ensure that Asian Long-Horned Beetles don’t make their way to Chautauqua County and put our maple syrup industry at risk,” said Senator Schumer. “If we wait for a beetle infestation in Chautauqua, it will be too late. These beetles are an invasive species and they destroy maple trees. I’m calling on the USDA to take preventative action and keep our maple syrup farms safe.”
"We are always on the lookout for new species that could harm our region and the Asian Long-Horned beetle poses a significant threat to Chautauqua County” said Diane Baker, Executive Director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension Chautauqua Office. “Early information is critical to stopping the spread of invasive species which is why we want to thank Senator Schumer for urging the USDA to help us educate residents about how to identify the Asian Long-Horned beetle.”
The best way to prevent a significant infestation is early awareness of the beetles’ presence in a region. Given that the USDA has projected a resurgence of the Asian Long-Horned Beetle this summer in Ohio, and that the beetle has already had a large impact on New York City, Long Island, Staten Island and other regions in the northeast, it is important that Chautauqua and Cattaraugus County residents are aware of the risks these beetles pose, and how to identify the beetles should they begin to infest local maple trees. Furthermore, local residents need to have information about who to contact if they find these invasive beetles on their property.
Early detection is critical to minimizing the damage to Chautauqua’s maple trees, some of which are hundreds of years old. Bringing the USDA into the process of spreading awareness about this beetle is a critical step in preventing an infestation of Chautauqua County’s beautiful maple trees.
Please see Senator Schumer’s letter to the USDA below:
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
I write to express my concern in regards to the grave risk posed to Chautauqua County’s plentiful supply of maple trees by the Asian long-horned beetle. The Asian long-horned beetle is devastating to a number of species of plant life, including maple trees. As you may know, Chautauqua County as a significant maple industry. If the Asian long-horned beetle were to develop a presence in Chautauqua County it could significantly impact the local community and economy. Furthermore Chautauqua County has already suffered through the impacts of the Emerald Ash Borer which damaged trees throughout the region.
As you know, the best way to prevent a significant infestation is early awareness of the beetles’ presence in a region. Given that the USDA has projected a resurgence of the Asian long-horned beetle this summer in Ohio and that the beetle has already had a large impact on New York City, Long Island, Staten Island and other regions in the northeast, it is important that Chautauqua County residents be aware of the risk this beetle poses and how to identify it should it begin to infest the local maple trees. Furthermore local residents need to have information about who to contact if they find these invasive beetles on their property. In order to ensure local residents have the information and the tools they need, I respectfully request that USDA’s APHIS office provide staff support to community events, throughout Chautauqua County this summer, including the Chautauqua County fair to help educate and inform the public.
Maple trees play a vital part in Chautauqua’s economy. The county is able to boast that is has nearly 5.9 million potential maple sap taps, and every year the county plays host to the Annual Chautauqua Maple Promotion Day. There are numerous locally-owned farms in the area that rely heavily on maple syrup production; these are the people who could be impacted if the beetle were to gain a foothold in the region. It is vital that local residents be able to recognize the signs of an infestation that could threaten a large portion of western New York’s maple syrup yield.
I strongly believe that the best response to the threat of an invasive species is to be proactive. If we wait too long to educate the public, it could be too late. I believe you would agree that early detection is critical to minimizing the damage to Chautauqua’s maple trees, some of which are hundreds of years old. By USDA playing a role in spreading awareness about this beetle, it is my hope that we can prevent an infestation before it wipes out Chautauqua County’s beautiful maple trees.
Thank you for dedication to the protection of our country from invasive species. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my Washington office at 202-224-6542
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer