Thank you for taking the time to contact the office of Governor Mitch Daniels. He has forwarded your email to the Department of Natural Resources and asked that we respond directly to you.
On January 25, 2006, the DNR announced a change in the procedures required when dealing with an infestation of emerald ash borer. To this date, when an infestation was found, the DNR, using federal funding, oversaw the required removal of ash tress in a one-half mile radius of the infestation. The tree removal was used to slow the spread of the pest. Under the new protocols adopted through a new rule, the state will continue to monitor and delineate infested areas but will no longer require nor fund the removal of trees in an infested area.
State Entomologist Dr. Robert Waltz has advised that the removal of ash trees surrounding an infested area has not proved to be a effective approach to controlling the emerald ash borer because of the near impossibility in detecting a new infestation. Indiana will continue to do all we can to assist with controlling the spread of this pest and will work with property owners – municipal, state, private or others – to deal with infested ash trees on their property.
The emerald ash borer is believed to have been brought to the United States and Canada from China in a packing crate or other wood as long as 15 to 20 years ago. Because it has been in this country so long and our ability to detect new infestations is so inadequate, it is impossible to know where some infestations are located until the ash trees begin to die.
The state will continue to work with residents, the nursery industry and others to slow the spread of the pest. Not moving firewood is one of the most effective steps Hoosiers can take to help stop the spread of the emerald ash borer. On its own, the beetle can move only relatively short distances. With people, the beetles can be moved across town or even across the state very quickly. The nursery and wood industry is doing their part and scientists throughout the country, especially in Michigan, are looking for other ways to attack this pest.
Under the new protocol homeowners and other property owners with ash trees will not be required to immediately remove ash trees if within a half-mile of an infestation, the property owner will assume the expenses of removing the tree if it becomes infested and dies as of natural causes.
Again, thank you for taking the time to write. Please feel free to contact us again if you have further questions or concerns.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources