Within the past six years, three new nonnative terrestrial pests have emerged to threaten the forests of the Lake George watershed. Among them: emerald ash borer, which was first detected in Warren County in 2020, at the bridge that crosses the Schroon River near Chestertown. That discovery was the first indication that this species might have established itself in the Adirondack Park.
According to the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP), the emerald ash borer is an insect whose larvae feed on bark tissue, girdling and eventually killing the tree. In 2022, the pest was found in the Town of Lake George, near Hearthstone Point Public Campground, where it may have arrived via a camper’s firewood. It now appears to be spreading throughout the Lake George watershed.
The most recent newsletter from the Assembly Point Water Quality Committee reports that a 17-acre protected copse near the north end of Assembly Point is “infested with emerald ash borer, according to Jeffrey Speich, a retired forest expert with the Department of Environmental Conservation.”
According to the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District, there is, as yet, no statewide or regional program to treat ash trees infected by EAB. To contain an infestation, DEC officials recommend that infected
ash trees be felled and that the wood be left behind, to be burned or chipped on site.
Early detection reduces the cost of removing and replacing a tree, the DEC stated. To limit the spread of EAB, DEC tries to prevent the transportation of firewood beyond a fifty-mile radius. Keene Valley-based APIPP
recommends that firewood be “a hyperlocal purchase.”
Looking to the future, APIPP has begun experimenting with biological controls. Earlier this month, APIPP staff released biocontrols at a site in the Central Adirondacks, where EAB was detected in 2021.
According to APIPP, three different species of biocontrol insects — one that will attack EAB eggs and two that will attack EAB larvae – have been found by the US Department of Agriculture to help control the pest when integrated into a forest management plan.
Elsewhere in the US, EAB has killed tens of millions of trees, states APIPP, whose recently released “Field Guide to Terrestrial Invasive Species of the Adirondacks,” helps people identify not only EAB but the 70 other invasive plants and animals found in the Adirondacks.
Hearthstone Point Campground (photo courtesy I love NY).