Emerald Ash Borer threatens Mark Twain Lake - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Emerald Ash Borer threatens Mark Twain Lake

White Ash trees near Mark Twain Lake White Ash trees near Mark Twain Lake

There's a concern that an invasive bug could soon have a big impact on a state park in Northeast Missouri.

Mark twain Lake officials are worried that the Emerald Ash Borer, which is confirmed to be in Ralls County, could kill thousands of trees around the park. Officials said they're doing everything they can to keep the bug away from campgrounds, but they need the campers help.

Shirley Kertz  has been coming to Mark Twain Lake for the last 15 years. She said having the Ash trees around the campsite are an important part of the camping experience.

"The shade is nice and everything," Kertz said. "It helps to look at the trees in the fall when the tree turn colors and everything. It's so much nicer when there's trees around."

Allen Mehrer, a forester with the Corps of Engineers said that experience is in danger with the likelihood of the Emerald Ash Borer coming to the lake.

"They bore under the bark, under the cambium, and take away nutrients from the tree," Mehrer said. "The process is 2 to 3 years. You start to see the tree go into decline. Once you see it, it's too late."

Even though the bug isn't at the campground yet Mehrer said the biggest threat to it showing up is other campers.

"Don't leave me any of your firewood," Mehrer added. "That is the primary carrier of Emerald Ash Borer."

Around 50 percent of the trees at campgrounds around Mark Twain Lake are White Ash Trees. Treating that many trees would be extremely costly. Mehrer said they are already considering replanting new tress, but that isn't a silver bullet solution.

"The thing is, it's going to take 20 years for them to be a tree that provides the same shade that we are getting out of the White Ashes right now," Mehrer said.

Kertz said she hopes something can be done so campers can enjoy the lake as much as she has for years to come.

"It's just fun to get away from everyday life and everything. It's relaxing," Kertz said.

Mehrer said if you do bring your own firewood to the campground be sure to burn all of it or take any extra firewood back home with you.


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