For Immediate Release - August 20, 2012

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR MURRAY, CONGRESSMAN MCGOVERN JOIN USDA TO ANNOUNCE $1 MILLION FOR REFORESTATION IN CENTRAL MA

WORCESTER – Monday, August 20, 2012 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, Congressman Jim McGovern, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan and Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Ed Lambert joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today to announce $1 million from the USDA for the replanting of trees in Central Massachusetts communities impacted by the Asian Longhorn Beetle infestation (ALB).

"The landscape across cities and towns in Central Massachusetts, including homes, businesses, and neighborhoods, was devastated by the infestation of the Asian Longhorned Beetle," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "Our Administration has worked closely with Congressman McGovern and the state legislative delegation to respond to the needs of affected areas. We thank Secretary Vilsack and the Obama Administration for this $1 million in USDA funding which will further our efforts to re-plant trees and rebuild impacted communities."

"I have seen the devastation of the Asian Longhorned Beetle first hand in the neighborhood in which I grew up," said Congressman McGovern. "But I have also seen the extraordinary coordinated efforts by federal, state, and local government in tandem with the Worcester Tree Initiative and local corporate partners to restore our urban tree landscape to new beauty. This additional funding will go a long way towards helping communities still dealing with the biggest impact from the ALB eradication effort."

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Division in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service has awarded the grant to the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). This program will focus on restoring the urban tree canopy, picking up where the tree replanting program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) left off. That program completed more than 13,500 tree plantings over a 2 ½ year period. DCR will focus its replanting efforts in areas where trees have been removed as part of the Asian Longhorn Beetle eradication effort. DCR anticipates being able to plant an additional 2,000 trees in Worcester County as part of this program.

"With our local, state and federal partners, USDA is doing everything it can to eradicate ALB in Massachusetts and restore a healthy population of trees to the affected communities," said Deputy Undersecretary for USDA's Marketing and Regulatory Programs Rebecca Blue. "We also urge the public to remain vigilant in reporting any sightings of the pest. Together we can eradicate this beetle and ensure the health of our nation's trees and the local economies that depend on them."

"We're happy to be working with our federal, state, and local partners to replant trees and work toward eradicating this beetle from our communities," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. "This is a big step in rebuilding our communities, to make them stronger and more beautiful than ever." 

“DCR is pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this grant program and be able to offer new trees to the communities that have been hardest hit by the Asian Longhorn Beetle infestation,” said DCR Commissioner Lambert. “DCR remains committed to the eradication of the ALB beetle through continued education, surveying, beetle trapping efforts, removal of infested trees and regulatory enforcements.” 

Since 2008, ALB teams at the local, state and federal level have removed 32,012 trees and replanted 19,852 trees across Worcester, Shrewsbury, Holden, West Boylston, Boylston, and Auburn. Through this partnership, funding has supported reforestation efforts and has helped to raise awareness and educate residents to identify the ALB. Additionally, this initiative has led to 100 new jobs, including 38 with DCR and 62 with USDA.

About DCR’s Bureau of Forestry

There are 3.2 million acres of privately owned forest land in Massachusetts and over 300,000 acres of DCR forests and parks. Municipal watershed lands cover 245,000 acres and there are 351 municipalities with associated urban trees and forests. The DCR Bureau of Forestry serves all of these owners and the forest they care for through various programs including the Forest Legacy Program, the Forest Health Program, and the Service Forestry Program.

To learn more, visit www.mass.gov/dcr.

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