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Governor Proclaims Thousand Cankers Disease a Threat to Illinois' Walnut Trees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE from Illinois Department of Agriculture
February 10, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Governor Pat Quinn has proclaimed Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) to be a viable threat to Illinois' native Black Walnut tree population. Quinn approved regulatory measures this month to restrict the movement of potentially-infested products into Illinois as a preventative measure to protect the economical and environmental well-being of Illinois' walnut tree industry.

"Illinois has 2.3 million acres of forests that may contain black walnut and be susceptible to this disease," H.W. Devlin, Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, said. "Though TCD currently is not known to be here, these measures were warranted to protect our state's walnut resources."

Thousand Cankers Disease is a highly-contagious, invasive fungus primarily affecting North America's Black Walnut tree population. It is spread by the Walnut Twig Beetle (WTB), which introduces fungal spores into the tree when they form galleries in the phloem. The fungus colonizes the area around the galleries, forming cankers that cause a disruption of the flow of nutrients throughout the tree, resulting in dieback, decline, and eventually, death of the tree.

Because there are no current management strategies for TCD, the regulation of product movement is necessary to protect Illinois' walnut trees and walnut tree industry.

Individuals and businesses wishing to move regulated materials into or through Illinois that originate in a Thousand Cankers Disease infested area now must enter into a compliance agreement with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The materials must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate from the originating state verifying they comply with the conditions of the compliance agreement. All regulated materials originating in areas not known to be infested with Thousand Cankers Disease now must be accompanied by proof of the harvest location of the wood by county and state.

"Regulated articles" are defined as the following:

1) All plants, plant parts, and products of the genus Juglans; articles of Juglans, including but not limited to logs, green lumber, firewood, nursery stock, bark, mulch, burls, stumps, and packing materials;

2) Any of the above said materials passing through a known infested state, regardless of origin;

3) All life stages of the Walnut Twig Beetle (Pityophthorus juglandis);

4) All life stages of the Geosmithia fungus (Geosmithia morbida);

5) Any article, product, or means of conveyance when it is determined by the Illinois Department of Agriculture to present a risk of spread of the Walnut Twig Beetle or the Geosmithia fungus. Exceptions are nuts, nutmeat, and hulls, processed lumber (100% bark free and kiln dried, with squared edges), and finished wood products without bark, including but not limited to walnut furniture, musical instruments, and gun stocks.

For more information regarding TCD, visit the Illinois Department of Agriculture's website at www.agr.state.il.us and click on the Thousand Cankers Link on the right.

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Contact: Jeff Squibb, Illinois Department of Agriculture, 217-558-1546