EUGENE, Ore. — The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive species of beetle that has been spotted in the Willamette Valley after decades of migrating across the United States.
It was spotted in Forest Grove earlier this year and agencies across the state are preparing for what they are saying is its inevitable arrival.
The half-inch long beetle burrows itself into Oregon Ash trees, where it saps nutrients and leaves the tree for dead.
According to Eugene’s Urban Forestry Department, without action, the beetle would decimate trees it inhabits.
"There will be almost an entire loss of Ash trees in our community once it arrives,” says Eugene’s Urban Forestry Department Supervisor Spencer Crawford. “It won't be immediate; they’ll come into one area and slowly spread; there will be decay to trees that slowly die off. Since the trees have no natural ability to ward against them, it will be almost an entire loss without any response from the city.”
Oregon Ash trees make up much of the vegetation along the area’s waterways, accounting for up to 10% of biodiversity in some areas within Eugene.
If you spot this beetle, report it to the Oregon Invasive Species Council.