USDA Declares NYC Free of the Asian Longhorned Beetle

On October 10, 2019, NYC Parks replanted a katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) in McCarren Park in Brooklyn as part of the commemoration of the eradication of ALB in Brooklyn and Queens. Photo by NYC Parks Tree Preservation Senior Program Manager Danielle Gift

On October 10, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in coordination with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation announced that they have eliminated the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) from the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.

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The ALB Reforestation Project on Long Island

Addie, KC & Nick (S. Alvey) 2015 72
(from left) Addie Cappello, K.C. Alvey, and Nick Bates at the Annual Fall Festival at the CCE-Nassau County East Meadow Farm

On Long Island, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County (CCE-NC) is wrapping up a successful season of planting with their Asian Longhorned Beetle Reforestation Project.

The Project is coordinated by CCE-NC Urban Forestry Educator Nicholas Bates with support from Horticulture Assistants Addie Cappello and K.C. Alvey, Horticulture Educator Vincent Drzewucki Jr., and CCE-NC Executive Director Greg Sandor. This article is written by K.C. Alvey, who also prepared a very, very cool timeline about the work the Asian Longhorned Beetle Reforestation Project has accomplished thus far.

From authors Alvey, Cappello, and Bates:
It has been an exciting fall between leading public outreach events and coordinating plantings on public and private properties across Farmingdale, NY and Amityville, NY, communities that were hard-hit by the Asian Longhorned Beetle infestation. Since its initial arrival from Asia to Brooklyn in 1996, this invasive beetle has decimated thousands of trees across Long Island, particularly maples, elms, ashes, and other known host species. This infestation has caused economic damage, in addition to environmental damage, and threatens tourism, recreation, the maple sugar industry, arboriculture, and landscaping.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County is fortunate to have been awarded $595,000 of a major $1 million grant from the US Forest Service in May 2015 for our Asian Longhorned Beetle Reforestation Project. CCE-NC is working in partnership with the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the US Forest Service, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the US Department of Agriculture, the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the Town of Babylon. We aim to revitalize Long Island’s urban and community forests, starting with the quarantine zone along the border of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, where the USDA has had to remove over 10,000 trees in an effort to eradicate the beetle and prevent its spread.  

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