abc
QUICK LINKS:

Gypsy Moth Quarantine Proposed for Lake and Cook Counties

Updated: 01/23/2014 7:50 PM
Created: 01/23/2014 6:47 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

One of the most destructive insects in the nation, the gypsy moth, prompted a quarantine in Lake and Cook County to be enforced by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The restriction could have major ramifications for campers and the timber industry.

MDA officials announced the proposed quarantine at the Duluth City Hall on Thursday. Firewood restrictions may cramp campers, but timber experts said it could really hurt one of the biggest industries in the Northland.

Specialists with the MDA said gypsy moths have marched across the nation from the East Coast, and over 64,000 were trapped in Lake and Cook County last year. Decades of treatment could not stop their spread according to Gypsy Moth Program Supervisor Lucia Hunt.

“The treatments were intended to slow the spread of the insect and they have been successful, however we knew a day would come when the quarantine would be necessary. So this is no surprise,” Hunt said.

She said the moth starts as a caterpillar that strips leaves from trees. Hunt said that impacts over 1 million acres a year nationwide.

However a quarantine will force local mills and paper plants to use lumber from the affect area within five days according to the Minnesota Forest Industries. Executive Vice President Wayne Brandt said that will cut deep into Northland businesses.

“Frankly the timber in quarantined areas will be worthless. Nobody will want it. When they move into St. Louis County it will be impossible for us to comply without frankly shutting down mills,” Brandt said.

He said his group is working with the MDA to mitigate those concerns, but the current restrictions are a problem because lumber is stockpiled during the winter and processed much later.

Brandt also said loggers are not the main cause of spreading the gypsy moth. The moths grow in the bark of trees, but Brandt said loggers strip most bark in the logging process. He said campers unaware of the gypsy moth infestation are the biggest issue.

“Most of these pests get moved by individuals moving firewood. That's the problem,” Brandt said.

Hunt said surveys show a large percentage of Northlanders know about the gypsy moth problem, but they will need to be more vigilant.

“We want to keep the trees green. We want to keep our tourist attractions alive,” Hunt said.

She admits a quarantine will not completely stop the gypsy moth. The question to be addressed is how will the quarantine affect residents and industries in the Northland.

There will be two public hearings to discuss those impacts. The first is at the Lake County Courthouse in Two Harbors on Feb. 11, and the second is at the Cook County Courthouse in Grand Marais on Feb. 25.

Hunt also said the frigid temperatures in the Northlander may kill some of the moths this winter, but it won't eliminate the problem.

Front Page

  • General Mills Website Policy Could be 'Clicking' Your Rights Away

    Could clicking "like" on a company's Facebook page, entering their sweepstakes, or downloading their coupons cost you your right to take that company to court? Some consumer advocates are raising their eyebrows at the new website privacy policy for General Mills, saying it could do just that. 

  • 2 Hospitalized After Lincoln Park House Fire

    Two people are in the hospital after a house fire in Duluth's Lincoln Park neighborhood on Friday. Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Bushey said the damage is estimated at $30,000. There is no word on the conditions of the victims.

  • Aitkin Woman Dead in Wright Co. Crash

    An Aitkin woman is dead after a car crash near Minneapolis on Wednesday, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. 65-year-old Karen Tibbetts was driving an SUV that lost control on Highway 55 between Rockford and Buffalo.

  • Former Minn. Minister Accused of Abuse Reported in Spokane-area

    The Washington State Patrol says investigators have acted on 20 or 30 tips this week as they check locations in the Spokane-area in their search for a self-professed minister accused of sexually abusing at least two girls in rural Minnesota.

  • Smokehaus to Deliver Sandwiches, Meat by Bike

    The Northern Waters Smokehaus is looking to avoid traffic this summer by also going green. On May 5, they will begin delivering their sandwiches around downtown Duluth and down Park Point by bike.

 

Flood Warning

MN AREAS AFFECTED: Aitkin; Crow Wing
Expires: 4/25/2014 1:00 AM

Winter Weather Advisory

MN AREAS AFFECTED: Carlton, South St. Louis; Central St. Louis; North St. Louis
Expires: 4/19/2014 12:00 PM

Winter Weather Advisory

MN AREAS AFFECTED: Northern Cook, Northern Lake; Southern Cook, North Shore; Southern Lake, North Shore
Expires: 4/19/2014 4:00 PM

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement