Slow the Spread Video & Task Force Update

Highlights from Slow the Spread Presentation 

While HWA is relatively new in West Michigan, New England has been fighting the pest for over a decade. On March 23, Allison Kanoti, a forest entomologist with Maine’s Forest Service presented at the Ottawa County Parks Nature Education Center at a public meeting. Kanoti shared her experience managing for HWA on the leading front of the East Coast invasion. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session. There were about 50 attendees. The presentation was streamed live via Facebook for those who were unable to attend. Over 350 people viewed the presentation online. It can be viewed below.

Important items of note from the presentation include the following:

  • An educated and engaged public is crucial to fighting the pest. A turning point in Maine’s fight against HWA was when the general public, in addition to land managers and biologists, began looking for it.
  • For many reasons, HWA is difficult to detect. The fight against HWA will be long-term.
  • Treatment is relatively easy and very successful. The challenge is surveying. A large effort is needed to establish the current distribution.
  • The pest spreads slowly and is treatable, but we cannot wait for our trees to die to take action. We must begin to survey for the pest now, even though most of our hemlocks, including those infected, may look healthy.

Kanoti shared that our passionate community, experience treating invasive species, and the potential for funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative set us up for success.

Please join us at the Nature Education Center for our next public meeting: Saturday, April 8 from 12-1 pm.

Pest detection update: HWA was confirmed at Silver Lake, Muskegon State Park, PJ Hoffmaster State Park, Holland State Park, and Historic Ottawa Beach Parks. Six other county lakeshore parks were surveyed and currently they are free of detectable HWA.

*If you missed the Slow the Spread presentation, you can watch it below (we were only sideways for a couple of minutes).

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