A new federal designation for Monongahela National Forest will allow the West Virginia Division of Forestry to work with the federal government to combat insect and disease threats to the forest.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin cited the threats to the forest in a recent letter; including beech bark disease, hemlock woolly adelgid, gypsy moth, and emerald ash borer.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the designation on May 20, 2014. It applies to 94 national forests in 35 states.
“I believe the Insect and Disease Area Designation, which was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, is an essential tool to protect one of our nation’s greatest treasures, the Monongahela National Forest,” State Forester Randy Dye said.
Insect and disease in forests are linked to making forests more susceptible to wildfire. The MNF occupies 919,000 acres in 10 counties across the state.
“This designation allows the Forest Service to more quickly plan insect and disease treatments and restoration projects within the designated areas,” Dye said. “I look forward to working with the U.S. Forest Service to help keep the Monongahela National Forest a wild and wonderful place for future generations to enjoy.”
For more information about insect and disease designations, including specific areas, forests by state and the governor’s designation request letter, visit www.fs.fed.us/farmbill/.