The City of Oneonta and the Otsego County Conservation Association will be co-sponsoring a talk on the emerald ash borer on Wednesday, December 12 at 6:30pm. This free talk will take place at the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, 189 Main Street, Suite 500.

An invasive insect from eastern Asia, the emerald ash borer (EAB) attacks and kills all species of ash trees. Since it was first found in the United States in 2002, EAB has been responsible for the death of millions of trees in the United States and Canada. Its presence in Otsego County was confirmed in 2014 in Unadilla.

"The emerald ash borer continues to expand into Otsego County," said Jeff O'Handley, OCCA's program director. "It's especially important for people in the southern and western parts of the county to be aware of this pest and the impact it can have."  The program features a presentation by Dan Snider, field projects manager for the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP). Snider will cover emerald ash borer biology, ash tree identification, and signs of emerald ash borer infestations.

The program will also include a discussion of best management practices for infested areas, and how citizens can contribute to research programs to preserve ash trees in the landscape.

In 2017, the City of Oneonta received an Urban and Community Forestry Grant to develop and implement the Emerald Ash Borer Maintenance Program. As part of the plan, the City removed a number of ash high-risk ash trees from streets and parks, inoculated others with insecticide to protect against infestation, and conducted a number of outreach and education programs. Judy Pangman, Community Development Director for the City of Oneonta, will be on hand to discuss the progress of the program.

Ryan Mathews, Engineer I for the City of Oneonta, said the tree removals were done in the interest of safety.

"Once the emerald ash borer arrives, the trees die pretty quickly," Mathews said. "Falling limbs represent a risk to public health and could also result in significant property damage."

"At this point, it's not a matter of 'if,' it's a matter of when," O'Handley said, in reference to the emerald ash borer infestation. "We think it's important that people understand as much about the emerald ash borer as possible so that they can decide what to do on their own property."

The program is free and open to the public. For more information, contact OCCA at (607) 282-4087.