Mark Dillenbeck, Contributor

The good news is that the emerald ash borer has not yet been detected in Charlotte.

The bad news is that it has now been found in almost every county in Vermont, including Chittenden County.

This includes a recently discovered infestation in a shopping mall in Williston that is near enough to our town to put us within the “emerald ash borer infested area” as defined by the state. These are 10-mile zones around locations where the beetle has been identified.

But Charlotte is still in a yellow zone on state maps, indicating a lower severity infestation area where trees are not yet showing infestation symptoms or decline, but where emerald ash borer has been detected.

Emerald ash borer populations remain low in our state and infestations to date have impacted a small percentage of our ash trees. This good fortune may be due to robust public outreach by state forestry authorities and Vermonters’ relatively strong adherence to rules and guidelines regarding movement of wood.

Unfortunately, the long-term outlook remains bleak and we expect almost all ash trees to eventually succumb to emerald ash borer.

To prepare for this unfortunate eventuality, we are encouraging land owners and seasonal leaseholders on Thompson’s Point to take the following proactive steps:

  • Cooperate with Vermont State “Slow-the-Spread” guidelines
  • Chemically treat high-value landscape trees
  • Preemptively remove potential hazard trees,
  • Report potential emerald ash borer infestations.

The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation has recently updated its Slow-the-Spread guidelines. The basic recommendations can be boiled down to: do not move emerald ash borer infested logs or firewood, especially during the insect flight season which runs from June through September. More detailed guidelines can be found on the Vermont Invasives website.