Agency RSS

Emerald Ash Borer Readiness Training Works Through Response Plan





For Immediate Release:  April 29, 2016
Media Contact:  Jody Heemstra, 605.773.4073




***There are links to download both audio and photos to go with this release. Access photos here. Audio link is contained within the body of the release.***


Emerald Ash Borer Readiness Training Works Through Response Plan


PIERRE, S.D.- Federal, state and city officials held a field training exercise Thursday, April 28, to practice how the agencies will respond if emerald ash borer is found in South Dakota.


Emerald ash borer is an exotic insect responsible for the loss of more than 100 million ash trees in the United States over the past two decades. The insect was detected in central Minnesota in 2009 and Iowa in 2010. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA), SDSU Extension, USDA APHIS and the City of Sioux Falls coordinated for the training exercise.


“It will show up one of these days. It’s just a question of when,” said SDDA forest health specialist and professor of Forestry at South Dakota State University Dr. John Ball. “We’ll probably practice this every year from here because I’m sure it’s going to show up relatively soon. By that (I mean) years, not decades.” (Download Ball audio here)


Since emerald ash borer has not yet been discovered in the state, pictures showing a variety of insect infestation symptoms were attached to trees. As part of the training, survey crews were tasked with finding the pictures, determining if the symptoms shown were caused by the borer and logging the location of the tree if the symptoms shown in the photo were caused by the borer.


Emerald ash borer is a serious threat to South Dakota as black, green or white ash make up about one-third of the trees in many of the state’s communities. Ash is also a common windbreak tree and a major species in the riparian forests that line South Dakota’s rivers and streams. Native ash species have no natural defense against the borer.


Emerald ash borer was accidently introduced from East Asia into the Detroit, Michigan, area sometime during the 1990s. Since that time, it has killed ash trees in 25 states and two Canadian provinces.


Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating $25.6 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 115,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture's mission is to promote, protect, preserve and improve this industry for today and tomorrow. Visit us online at http://sdda.sd.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter.