Mar 8, 2023
USDA completes environmental assessment for Spotted Lanternfly Control Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) completed a supplemental environmental assessment (EA), as required under the National Environmental Policy Act, for its Spotted Lanternfly Control Program. The previous EA for the spotted lanternfly program was finalized in October 2021 and added ground-based mist blower treatments at intermodal facilities and along railroad rights-of-ways in Pennsylvania, and in select counties in Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The previous EA also included control and monitoring activities in the mid-Atlantic Region, North Carolina, Ohio, and Kentucky. This supplemental EA expands the control program to include Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Rhode Island. It covers the same activities addressed in the October 2021 EA and modifies the use pattern for ground-based mist blowers and high-pressure hydraulic spray treatments to road rights-of-ways, in addition to the railways, train yards, and intermodal rail terminals that were covered in the 2021 EA. The supplemental EA also adds the use of high-pressure water to remove egg masses.

The spotted lanternfly may occur on a variety of plant species including tree-of-heaven, grapevine, stone fruits (apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach, and plum), and other tree species (apple, oak, pine, poplar, and walnut). If allowed to spread, this pest may be harmful to grape, apple, peach, stone fruit, and logging industries.

On Feb. 17, APHIS posted a notice of availability of the draft supplemental EA for comment in newspapers in states where the spotted lanternfly control program may occur. APHIS published the draft supplemental EA, and has extended the comment period until April 3; comments will be accepted here. The draft supplemental EA is also available for viewing on the APHIS website.

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