The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has quarantined ash wood and ash products and hardwood firewood in Wayne County, effective immediately, as part of an attempt to prevent the further spread of the emerald ash borer.

MDA and USDA confirmed the identification of the emerald ash borer in late July at a campground near Greenville in Wayne County - the first detection of the plant pest in Missouri. The emerald ash borer is an invasive wood boring pest that is responsible for the death and decline of more than 30 million ash trees across the U.S.

"This quarantine of Wayne County is a necessary step in doing everything we can to prevent movement and a further infestation of the emerald ash borer," said Collin Wamsley, state entomologist with MDA. "Missouri has participated in a nationwide early detection effort since 2004. The arrival of the emerald ash borer, although a disappointment, was not a surprise. We will continue to do everything we can to protect Missouri forests and landscapes from further infestation."

The quarantine is issued under the regulatory authority provided by the Plant Protection Act which authorizes the U.S. secretary of agriculture to prohibit or restrict the movement in interstate commerce of any plant, plant part or article if the prohibition or restriction is necessary to prevent the dissemination of a plant pest in the U.S.

MDA and USDA-APHIS continue to carryout delimiting surveys around the initial detection site of the emerald ash borer.

The first U.S. detection of the emerald ash borer occurred in Michigan in 2002. Since then, it has been detected eight other states including Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Virginia.

Missouri is the furthest south and west of any other known infestations.

For more information regarding the emerald ash borer, visit http://www.mdc.mo.gov/firewood">www.mdc.mo.gov/firewood or call Collin Wamsley at (573) 751-5505. To learn more about the Plant Protection Act, visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/pubs/fsheet_faq_notice/fs_phproact.html"> http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/pubs/fsheet_faq_notice/fs_phproact.html.

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