Preventing the spread of Emerald Ash Borer in Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Preventing the spread of Emerald Ash Borer in Iowa

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Confirmation came Friday that an invasive species that feeds on trees has entered Iowa. Officials confirmed the first case of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) along the Mississippi River in Allamakee County. And as people start to think about outdoor recreation and camping, a reminder not to transport firewood.

Here's why: the beetle can be transported in that wood. It first appeared in Michigan in 2002, and today officials confirmed it is in Iowa. The beetle's larvae feed on the bark of trees, disrupting the plant's water and nutrient supply. That has killed tens of millions of trees, costing cities and other agencies big time.

There are more than 88 million ash trees here in Iowa. But now these trees are being threatened. It's beautiful sunny days like this that prove camping season is just around the corner. But this year what you bring could help save the environment.

"Then end result is that we could loose our ash trees. If we get a big infestation or if we find it and don't get it under control," said Wayne Buchholtz, Park Ranger with the DNR.

They're called emerald ash borers and Friday officials confirmed the first infestation in Iowa, along the Mississippi River in Allamakee County. Four larvae were found in a tree causing concern.

"When they're in the tree they're actually burrowing little tunnels in there and what they does is disrupts the flow of sap up and down the tree which is what keeps the tree alive," said Buchholtz.

So why does this matter to campers? It turns out, you can spread the ash borer from camp to camp.

"If you go to a state the has EAB make sure you clean all your equipment when you return," said Buchholtz.

For now that state is prohibiting transfer of firewood and ash timber. Meaning you can't bring outside firewood into a campground. Believe it or not the DNR says we, humans, have a lot to do with controlling the spread.

"Really all the invasive species that we have here in Iowa or anywhere are transported by humans because we're mobile and driving around all the time," said Buchholtz.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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