Action Plans: Think Ahead, Be Ready

Judging from the experiences of pest managers and federal officials in New York and Chicago, effective eradication of this pest requires coordinated efforts of multiple state, federal, university and private organizations. Many states and provinces recognize the potential threat of ALB, and want to be prepared in case it is found in their area.  Therefore, ALB action plans have been or are being drawn up by many states including Vermont, New Hampshire, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. A summary of the ALB Action Plan for Vermont is provided below. Though the specific management protocols may change as technology improves, this plan provides a framework for prompt action in the event of the detection of an infestation within this state’s borders.  Additional action plans from other states will be added to this site as they become available.

Action Plan for Handling Infestations of Exotic Wood-boring Insects in Vermont

In 1998, researchers from the University of Vermont and personnel from the Vermont Departments of Forests, Parks & Recreation (FP&R) and Agriculture, Food and Markets (AF&M) developed an action plan to address the potential threat of an accidental introduction into this state.  The goal of this plan is to define what will be done and by whom should ALB be found in Vermont. This action plan was reviewed and approved by the Commissioners of the VT AF&M and FP&R. Though specifics of this plan may change over time, by establishing it, a structure is now in place so that an infestation can be addressed without delay.  A summary of this two-phase plan is provided below.

Phase I

This part of the Action Plan establishes specific responsible people and their specific responsibilities should an ALB infestation be detected.

Responsible Persons.  The Commissioners of the VT Depts. of AF&M and FP&R will assume primary responsibility for ALB eradications.  All efforts will be coordinated with appropriate federal agencies, e.g., US Dept. of Agric. Forest Service (USDA-FS) and Animal, Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection Quarantine (APHIS-PPQ).

Scientific Advisory Committee.  The role of this committee will be to make management recommendations for ALB eradication and review implemented activities periodically and address impediments to eradication. Members of this committee would include appropriate representatives from the University of Vermont (UVM), the VT Depts. of AF& M and FP&R and the USDA-FS and -PPQ.

Working Group:  The purpose of this group is to specifically coordinate and oversee all ALB management activities.  Active roles will be assigned to the State entomologist, and representatives from UVM and USDA-FS.

Public Awareness and Education. Personnel at the UVM Entomology Research Laboratory will coordinate education and public awareness for this plan.

Quarantine Establishment. VT Depts. of AF& M and FP&R personnel will develop recommendations for joint department quarantines in and around infested areas.  The commissioners of these departments will work with appropriate federal regulatory officials to enact a federal quarantine.

Phase II:

This component of the VT ALB Plan details specifics associated with successful implementation of an eradication program for ALB in Vermont.

Action 1. Public Awareness and Education
        a. Communication links will be established among state, federal and university personnel involved with ALB.
        b. UVM will serve as the primary information source for the media and will coordinate media contacts.
        c. Public meetings will be held to inform the general public regarding ALB.
        d. An information clearing house and network will be established  to exchange of current information.
        e. A central location for in-state identification of suspect specimens will be established.
        f. A historical record of significant events associated with ALB eradication in Vermont will be maintained.

Action 2. Survey and Monitoring

All survey and monitoring activities will be coordinated by the Chief of Forest Protection of the VT Dept. of FP&R and the Director of Plant Industry, VT Dept. of A&M. Specific guidelines for conducting a delimiting survey in urban, and forested lands on public and private property were established based on survey protocols used in the NY and IL infestations. This includes specific procedures for tree inspection. These protocols would be reviewed and revised based on experience and knowledge current at the time an infestation is found.

Action 3.  Removal of Infested Trees

All ALB infested trees will be cut at ground level as soon as possible after detection. Specific guidelines associated with this action will be developed by the working group.

Action 4.  Disposal of Infested Wood

All ALB-infested wood material will be chipped and burned. In accordance with quarantine restrictions established, no infested wood will be transported outside the infested area prior to chipping.  Chips may be transported to the nearest in-state facility for use in generating power or for heating.

Action 5.  Replanting

In rural forest infestations the VT Dept. of FP& R will provide technical advice on suitable silvicultural treatments within ALB infested zones to mitigate loss of productivity resulting from tree removal.  Payments for crop loss will be investigated under stewardship incentive programs.

In urban and suburban settings, the VT. Dept. of FP&R will assume responsibility for working with communities and homeowners to replant trees in infested areas.

The ALB Action plan will be implemented immediately upon notification of the detection of ALB within the State of Vermont.

A copy of the current ALB Action Plan is available upon request from the Scott Pfister or Margaret Skinner at the University of Vermont, Entomology Research Laboratory:.