WOODRUFF - The state will no longer use county-by-county rules to attempt to slow the spread of deadly emerald ash borer (EAB).
Next Friday, all of Wisconsin will be under an EAB quarantine. That means ash wood can now move freely around the state.
In the current system, individual counties are quarantined only if the tree pest was found there. The state restricted the movement of ash wood between infected counties and those free from EAB, trying to keep more areas "clean."
"When it was a county-by-county quarantine, it really impacted forest products industries with moving ash around the state to mills or from mills," said DNR Forest Health Specialist Linda Williams.
Williams said it's inevitable EAB will eventually infect every area of Wisconsin. But so far, it has only been found in 48 of the state's 72 counties, and only seven northern counties.
"We encourage people to just be aware of emerald ash borer's approach, and that they will have to do something to save their ash trees or to utilize their ash trees," Williams said.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture program will no longer trap the beetles across the state. That will make it harder to track the counties the pest has infected.
"We won't have data from non-quarantined counties to provide evidence of the presence or absence of EAB," Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection spokeswoman Donna Gilson wrote in an email. "Now, in the absence of trapping data...it just made sense to extend the quarantine statewide."
Newswatch 12 got the update on EAB spread at the annual meeting of the Wisconsin Headwaters Invasives Partnership in Woodruff on Wednesday.
RHINELANDER - Oneida County needs more foster care homes. Right now, there are nine licensed foster homes in the area, most of which are full according to the county's social services department.
Foster Care Coordinator Rachel Nelson says that in Oneida County there are 24 children currently living in foster homes. The department participated in a statewide foster care recruitment project last fall, and discovered just how great the need is.
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