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Debbie Hadley

Sandy Cleanup Efforts Could Spread Invasive Pests

By November 5, 2012

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Hurricane Sandy destroyed the boardwalk where I spend my summers, flattened the dunes on my favorite barrier beach, and flooded the homes of many of my friends and family members. She also shredded tens of thousands of trees along the east coast. The long, slow cleanup has already begun. As I write this, I'm listening to the hum of chainsaws all over my neighborhood. And that has me a little bit worried.

There's plenty to worry about around here these days, but I may be the only one in NJ worrying about invasive tree pests. Exotic tree pests, like emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle, don't move that far when relying solely on their own power. But when they're hidden in storm debris or firewood, they can be carried for miles and soon infest whole new forests. We've lost enough trees to Sandy. We really don't need to lose thousands more to bugs.

If at all possible, make sure any tree debris is disposed of locally. Cure the wood and use it in your fireplace, but don't take it on your next out-of-state camping trip. Ask contractors where they're taking the brush, and make sure they are following any guidelines established by your state's forestry or agricultural department. Let's not make Sandy's legacy any bigger than it already is. Protect our forests from invasive pests!


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