The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) has issued an emergency quarantine order to protect against the introduction and spread of the emerald ash borer (EAB), a destructive wood-boring beetle that has already killed millions of ash trees in North America. The order was motivated by the removal of federal domestic quarantine regulations by the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS).
“It is important that we remain vigilant and do everything in our power to make sure that the emerald ash borer doesn’t find a way into Montana,” said MDA Director Mike Foster. “This quarantine order protects the green ash woodland resources in eastern Montana that provide habitat for many wildlife species as well as economic benefits to livestock producers and rural communities.”
EAB, Agrilus planipennis, is currently known to be present in 35 states as well as several Canadian provinces. It has not been detected in Montana where statewide monitoring has been conducted for over a decade. Ash are the most planted trees in many Montana communities east of the Continental Divide. Green ash trees are native to parts of eastern Montana where they provide shelter for livestock and valuable habitat for a wide range of wildlife.
EAB is estimated to have caused billions of dollars in damage across the infested range in North America. USDA APHIS instituted a quarantine program for EAB in 2003. Unfortunately, it has proved to be ineffective at controlling the spread of EAB, and APHIS will instead direct available resources toward management and containment beginning January 14, 2021.
Montana’s emergency quarantine order restricts EAB from entering the state in any form, as well as the movement of live ash trees, parts of ash trees capable of harboring live EAB, and any other articles determined potentially hazardous. MDA will accept public comment regarding the quarantine order until February 26, 2021 at the contact information provided below.
Montana Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 200201
Helena, MT 59620-0201
Click here to view the quarantine order.
Click here to view the emergency rule.
Click here to visit the USDA APHIS website to learn more about the emerald ash borer.