The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

September 14, 2013

Conservation officers work to control Emerald Ash Borer

By Amy Kent
Herald Staff Writer

---- — CLINTON — The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive species that is quickly spreading across much of the Midwest and surrounding region wiping millions of Ash trees in its path.

To slow down the spreading process, the Clinton County Conservation Board passed a resolution Wednesday regarding the movement of firewood across the state of Iowa and Clinton County.

The approved resolution stated that visitors of any of the CCCB parks and recreation areas will only be allowed firewood cut from Clinton County and the surrounding Iowa counties.

Although prevention of the spread of EAB is nearly impossible, county ordinances all across the region are popping up to prolong the invasion.

"We just want to slow down the progression," CCCB West District Park Officer Chip Brown said. "They know it will be here, they just want to slow it down."

Concern for quarantines and restrictions for EAB first arose after its detection in Iowa in 2010. Since, there have been confirmed cases of EAB in Des Moines County and Jefferson County in Iowa.

Whiteside County, Ill. also had confirmation of EAB, which is why CCCB executive director Walt Wickham introduced a new firewood policy in all the county's parks.

"Basically, we have been strongly encouraged by the Iowa Association County Conservation Board to put some kind of a stronger resolution in place," Wickham said. "We already have a restriction of bringing firewood in from quarantined areas, but they are now pushing that we place a rule that would prohibit any out-of-county firewood."

Brown and Natural Resource Technician Darrin Voss argued that enforcing the new policy would be tough, which Wickham agreed with, because of the close proximity of many of the CCCB's parks to bordering counties.

So, Wickham and the board decided to amend the resolution to say Clinton County and adjacent counties, leaving the enforcement and responsibility in the hands of the officers.

"(Firewood) should have a label, and even if people bring it from their own yards, even if it's cut, rangers should be able to (identify) it," Brown said. "That's what we went to school for."

If visitors are caught with out of state Ash firewood, they will be required by the ordinance to burn each and every piece upon detection.