Health experts say the medical records of cats and dogs could serve as an early warning system for diseases such as avian flu. The GLRC’s Rebecca Williams has more:
Health experts say the medical records of cats and dogs could serve as an
early warning system for diseases such as avian flu. The GLRC’s
Rebecca Williams has more:
The health records of thousands of dogs and cats throughout the country
are tracked by the National Companion Animal Surveillance Program.
Larry Glickman helped design the system. He’s an epidemiologist at
Purdue University. He says it was originally designed to track anthrax or
plague outbreaks in pets. Glickman says now, the system could be used
to monitor pets for avian flu symptoms.
“What we’re concerned with in the U.S is for example, a pet animal like a
cat will come in contact with a bird that is sick or even died of avian
influenza, then the cat will pick up that virus and will become infected,
and the very same day it might climb in bed with people and transmit
that virus to people.”
Glickman says the system can pinpoint areas where quarantines are
needed… to slow the spread of disease in both pets and people.
When an emerald ash borer has infected a tree, white-colored
larvae can be found under the bark. (Photo courtesy of the Michigan
Department of Agriculture)
When an adult emerald ash borer emerges from an ash tree, they
leave behind a D-shaped exit hole. (Photo courtesy of the Michigan
Department of Agriculture)
The ash borer larvae form S-shaped tunnels under the bark..
(Photo courtesy of the Michigan Department of Agriculture)
U.S. senators are asking the Department of Agriculture for emergency funding to help control the spread of the emerald ash borer. The burrowing tiny insect has already killed millions of ash trees. The emergency funding request comes as Congress has severely cut federal funding for the program. That’s forced states to change the way they fight the spread of the beetle. The GLRC’s Mike Thompson reports because of the federal budget cuts and a lack of state funding, experts fear the infestations could spread:
US senators are asking the Department of Agriculture for emergency
funding to help control the spread of the emerald ash borer. The
burrowing tiny insect has already killed millions of ash trees. The
emergency funding request comes as Congress has severely cut federal
funding for the program. That’s forced states to change the way they
fight the spread of the beetle. The GLRC’s Mike Thompson reports
because of the federal budget cuts and a lack of state funding, experts
fear the infestations could spread:
(Sound of chainsaw and worker)
In 2002 the emerald ash borer was first discovered in southeastern
Michigan. Soon after that federal and state officials determined the
chainsaw was the best way to fight it.
(Sound of tree falling)
Since the tiny beetle arrived, officials estimate the insect has killed – on
its own – more than 15 million trees in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, and the
infestations keep spreading.
There is no known natural predator for the ash borer; no known
pesticide. The experts believe the only way to stop it is to destroy it by
cutting all ash trees within half a mile of a known infestation.
Dan Herms is an entomologist at Ohio State University. He serves on the
ash borer science advisory panel. He says the beetle threatens all of
North America’s 8 billion ash trees.
“If the spread of the insect can’t be contained to Michigan, it will
continue to spread to Ohio and throughout the Eastern United States,
killing all the ash trees. Essentially it’s going to do to ash what
Dutch elm disease did to elm and what chestnut blight did to chestnut.”
Over the past two years the three infested states have cut down
hundreds of thousands of ash trees to stop the spread, but cutting was the
preferred method when the federal government was picking up the tab.
In 2004, the federal government allocated some 41 million dollars for
protecting and cutting down ash trees. That funding slipped to 27
million dollars last year. In 2006 the federal government ash borer
funding has dropped to 8 million dollars – just one-fifth of what it was
two years ago.
Getting at the reasons for the budget cut is difficult. State agriculture
officials defer to federal agriculture officials who defer to Congress.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ash Borer Program coordinator
Craig Kellogg theorizes the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina forced
lawmakers to cut funds.
“We can always speculate between all the other programs that are going on at
USDA, the cost of war, the cost of the hurricanes and the clean-ups and
all that good stuff, but we are not at the level that we were given the full
reason why we were cut.”
So with little federal money, most of the pre-emptive cutting of ash trees
has stopped. OSU entomologist Dan Herms says he’s concerned.
“It worries me extremely because if the funding is not restored such to
allow at least the opportunity to stop the spread of the insect in northwest
Ohio it will spread throughout the eastern United States, and it will cost
hundreds of billions of dollars in damage.”
The USDA and the states have shifted focus. States will use the federal
funding they receive to monitor the spread of the insect, enforce
quarantines and educate the public. Ohio will cut trees only if they find
new infestations away from the northwest part of the state.
But if the threat is so great to Ash trees, why won’t the states spend their
own money to stop the spread of the emerald ash borer?
We asked Ohio Agriculture Department spokeswoman Melissa Brewer.
“Well, you know, the state has stepped up to the plate as far as having in kind services
and taking those programs and running with them. You know, as far as how much
money can be contributed and that kind of thing… I don’t know who to even direct you on that.”
Officials from the different states say with current state budget pressures,
it’s difficult to find the money to cut down ash trees, and now that
federal money has dried up, Indiana scientists say they’re not sure
cutting trees worked.
State officials and scientists say the emerald ash borer is a national
problem and it should be the federal government’s responsibility to pay
the protection costs.
Faced with a severe cut in federal funding, the state of Ohio is scaling back its fight against the emerald ash borer. The burrowing insect has killed millions of ash trees in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. And researchers fear the bug will soon spread to other states. The GLRC’s Mike Thompson
Faced with a severe cut in federal funding, the state of Ohio is scaling
back its fight against the emerald ash borer. The burrowing insect has
killed millions of ash trees in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, and
researchers fear the bug will soon spread to other states. The GLRC’s
Mike Thompson reports:
Since the emerald ash borer was first spotted in Ohio in 2003, the state
has cut a quarter of a million ash trees – most of them in the northwest
part of the state. The federal government has paid for the cutting, but
Ohio’s federal funding for ash tree protection has shrunk from 17 million
dollars to about 1 million dollars.
So state officials say they will reduce the cutting of ash trees to keep the
bug from spreading. The state will let the northwest Ohio infestation run
its natural course, choosing instead to cut trees in other parts of the state.
Melissa Brewer speaks for The Ohio Department of Agriculture
“If you ignore those infestations, those infestations are going to grow and
you are going to see an expedited demise of our ash trees.”
Ohio agriculture officials say they will also use federal money to monitor
the insect, enforce quarantines and educate the public.
Emerald Ash borer is a type of beetle that is threatening black
ash trees. (Photo courtesy of USFS)
American Indians have been making baskets from the wood
of black ash trees for hundreds of years. Now, they see that tradition threatened by a beetle. The emerald ash borer has killed millions of ash trees in Lower Michigan over the past few years, and Indian basket makers are preparing for the day when their grandchildren may no longer find black ash. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Bob Allen
American Indians have been making baskets from the wood of black ash trees
for hundreds of years. Now, they see that tradition threatened by a beetle. The
emerald ash borer has killed millions of ash trees in Lower Michigan over the
past few years, and Indian basket makers are preparing for the day when their
grandchildren may no longer find black ash. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Bob Allen reports:
(Sound of museum)
The Anishinabe believe the black ash tree is a gift to their people, and they say
its carried them through many hard times. The story of the baskets is part of a
display in the Ziibiwing Center at the Saginaw Chippewa Reservation in
Judy Pamp is assistant director of the Center, and she remembers how
important baskets were when she was growing up.
“If we ate it was because there were baskets to sell or trade, and it went from
that being the thing that sustained us to where now it’s more of a an art and a rare art,
and that you do in limited quantities.”
Pamp comes from a long line of basket makers, and she’d like to pass on the
skills to her granddaughter, but she says the baskets aren’t the most
important thing… rather it’s a sense of connection among the generations.
“You know the whole family pulling together, the whole community pulling
together to help one another out… that everybody was important and
everybody had their role.”
Some family members may be good at one part of the basket making, and
there’s plenty of work to divvy up. First, there’s going into a swamp to find a
black ash tree, cut it down and haul it out.
(Sound of pounding)
Then, there’s peeling off the bark, and pounding the wood into strips, called
splints, for baskets. All that can take 25 hours of hand labor. Then, it’s
another 6 or 8 hours to weave a basket. Without the trees, basket makers worry
they may lose that closeness of working together.
The emerald ash borer isn’t on tribal lands yet, but it’s in
two neighboring counties. Scientists say it’s only a matter of time before the
beetle invades the reservation and wipes out the ash tree. The invasive pest got
to the U.S. in cargo shipped from Asia. Despite quarantines the bug continues to
spread because people move infested firewood, timber or landscape trees.
Deb McCullough is an entomologist at Michigan State University. She
concedes ash trees in Lower Michigan are goners.
“Took me a while to get my mind around that. You know we’re going to see
somewhere probably in the neighborhood of four hundred million ash trees in the forests
of lower Michigan that eventually are going to succumb to emerald ash borer
unless something really amazing happens in the next few years.”
McCullough says they’re looking for a way to help trees resist the insect, or a
predator to keep it in check, but it might be years before a solution is found.
So, the tribes are looking at their own ways to deal with the ash borer.
(Sound of splint pulling)
One idea is to harvest a whole bunch of black ash splints for baskets and freeze
them to use later. That would keep basket making going for a while.
(Sound of basket maker)
Another plan is to collect and save seeds from black ash trees.
Basket maker Renee Dillard says someday maybe trees can be replanted from
seed, but she says that means forty or fifty years before any wood is
harvestable, and she doesn’t think she’ll be around then to teach her
grandchildren how to choose the right tree and pound out the splints.
(Sound of pounding)
“As a people, we’re pretty resilient and we can adapt to change. It’s just that we’re
losing an important part of that whole black ash process, and I don’t want my great
grandchildren to just make baskets. They need to understand the whole process because
it’s done carefully and prayerfully.”
Dillard follows the old ways. She lays down tobacco as an offering of thanks for the tree,
and she believes this calls her ancestors to witness her use of the gift.
The Anishinabe don’t know why the emerald ash borer is taking their trees at
this time, but their tradition teaches for every hardship there will be an answer
and something to balance the loss.