What does Deregulation mean?
The State of Illinois' Department of Agriculture (IDOA) no longer has regulations or restrictions in place for moving regulated Ash materials. This also means that there is no longer a quarantine within Illinois. Unrestricted and unregulated movement of formerly regulated ash and related wood articles is now allowed.
Why was this decision made?
Many factors went into this decision. After a thorough review of our 2015 detection program results, IDOA analyzed positive EAB detections over the previous few years; recent regulatory measures taken by our neighboring states; the regulatory measures necessary to move forward; the areas still requiring protection; and the resources available to provide adequate protection. IDOA's review of this information led it to the decision to rescind the internal State quarantine.
Doesn't this mean EAB will spread quicker?
It is possible that EAB may spread quicker with no quarantine in place. However, there are a few important points to consider. Since early detection is so difficult with EAB, it is likely that EAB is already much wider spread throughout Illinois than our efforts could detect, especially at early and low levels. Also, due to deregulation of EAB in neighboring states, the bug is likely entering Illinois from those states naturally through flight and weather patterns.
Is this saying the bug won?
Not necessarily. Though EAB has continued to spread, the quarantine, regulations, and compliance have undoubtedly helped to reduce the rate of spread over the past decade. This reduction has provided communities, residents, and landowners, time to plan, prepare for, and manage this pest to the best of their capacities. While Illinois was afforded ample time and management options, other states did not have the same opportunities and their preparedness lagged behind Illinois' efforts. We feel confident that the cooperative effort in Illinois achieved positive results by adequately planning, preparing, acting, and reacting to the best of its ability.
What happens with the compliance agreements?
Without regulations to comply with, the compliance agreements are no longer applicable. Compliance agreement holders should have received a letter from IDOA explaining the situation.
Ok, so can I now move ash wood anywhere?
Within Illinois, yes. However, people are still encouraged to not willfully or knowingly transport EAB infested wood. It is recommended that individuals source and use firewood on a local level. Additionally, Illinois remains within the quarantine that continues to be maintained by USDA. Although Ash wood can move anywhere within this Federal multi-state quarantine, it cannot leave the quarantine without USDA permitting. If you are unsure about whether movement of Ash wood is permitted, please contact IDOA or your local USDA office.
What about other firewood?
IDOA no longer regulates hardwood firewood, and it is permitted to move throughout Illinois. However, it is still regulated by USDA pursuant its multi-state quarantine. IDOA will continue to maintain its firewood registry program for people and businesses bringing firewood into Illinois pursuant to the Department's administrative rules. Softwood firewood is not regulated.
Should I continue to treat my tree(s)?
The decision whether to continue treating your trees is completely yours to make, and this deregulation should not sway you. As long as your tree has been regularly treated, is responding well to treatment, and showing little to no signs of infestation, treating it should continue to protect it from infestation.
My tree(s) looks good and I haven't done any treatments yet. Should I start?
It depends. Considering EAB could spread more rapidly now, you may want to consider treating your tree sooner than later. Treatments work best on healthy trees as a proactive measure to prevent or halt infestation. In deciding whether to treat your trees, you may consider the overall condition of the tress, the value of the trees, and the importance of the trees to you and/or your property. In certain circumstances, some trees are simply not worth treating. It's always a good idea to consult with an arborist for an evaluation of the tree and pricing of a treatment program.
Are there any other regulations or quarantines still in effect which I should be aware of?
Yes. IDOA works cooperatively with USDA to regulate a European Gypsy Moth quarantine which includes Cook, DuPage, Lake, and McHenry counties. Please contact IDOA or your local USDA office with specific questions.
Additionally, IDOA maintains an external quarantine for Thousand Cankers Disease and Walnut Twig Beetle (TCD/WTB). This means there may be restrictions on Walnut wood and related articles entering Illinois. Again, please contact IDOA with specific questions.
Generally speaking, it is always best to check with IDOA before you transport, import, or export any plants, plant material, or plant based articles.