May 15, 2011
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has invoked a ministerial order that empowers the agency to regulate the movement of all ash tree materials and all firewood from specific areas of Ontario and Quebec.

Those moving these materials from the regulated areas without prior permission from the CFIA could face fines and/or prosecution. The regulated area for Ottawa and Gatineau has been expanded to include the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville in Ontario, and all of Ottawa.

In southern Ontario, it was determined that the most effective way to regulate moving ash tree material is to amalgamate into one regulated area. The amalgamated regulated area in southern Ontario includes Hamilton, Toronto, the Regional Municipalities of Chatham-Kent, Durham, York, Peel, Halton, Niagara and Waterloo and the Counties of Brant (including the City of Brantford), Elgin, Essex, Haldimand, Huron, Lambton, Middlesex, Norfolk, Oxford, Perth and Wellington.

Regulated areas for Sault Ste. Marie and the regulated area, which includes the Municipalities of Carignan, Chambly, Richelieu, Saint-Basile-le-Grand and Saint-Mathias-sur-Richelieu, in Québec remain unchanged.

Toronto to cut and spray

In other EAB news, Toronto voted to cut down some ash trees and spray others to deal with the invasive insect.

It is estimated that EAB could affect 8.4 per cent of Toronto’s trees, estimated at a value of $570-million. Toronto Councilor Paul Ainslie says, “The worst part is there is nothing we can do to stop it.” It is estimated most of the Toronto’s ash trees will die within ten years.

Toronto parks and environment committee recommended the use of the insecticide TreeAzin. “It’s very expensive and we don’t really have money set aside in this year’s operating budget,” said Ainslie.

Ottawa cutting 700 trees

In Ottawa, forestry staff members are removing approximately 700 trees from 23 city properties. It is estimated that 20 to 25 per cent of Ottawa’s urban forest cover consists of ash trees.

Built-in anti-freeze

Meanwhile, in Sault Ste. Marie scientists are looking into why the invasive insect survives Canadian winters, despite originating in eastern Asia.

Sault Ste. Marie is the sole northern Ontario city to experience an EAB outbreak, although it’s not as heavy compared to southern locales.

Scientists have discovered that emerald ash borer pupae do not survive past temperatures of -30 C, which is not uncommon in Sault Ste. Marie. Researchers have installed devices to record temperatures on trees in communities such as Ottawa, North Bay, Kingston, London, and the Sault.

Barry Lyons, of the Great Lakes Forestry Centre, is among a group of researchers studying the effects of winter temperatures on the emerald ash borer. The majority of the borers survive winter as pre-pupae, due to high levels of glycerol which works like antifreeze. “This is the first time it (glycerol) has been demonstrated in the group of insects the emerald ash borer is in, so that’s quite a significant finding,” said Lyons.

Scientists also believe that because of the cold temperatures, each stage of the insect takes longer to develop. The warmer it is, the faster they develop. In the colder climates, it takes the emerald ash borer two years to complete a cycle, but just one year in the south.