MD hosts hemlock woolly adelgid management meeting

Photo: Group of people in hemlock forest.
Biff Thompson (center, white shirt), Maryland Department of Agriculture, describes the characteristics that have made this site at Rocky Gap State Park a successful field insectary in which to propagate hemlock woolly adelgid predators for collection and release at other sites in Maryland and neighboring states. Photo courtesy Julia Musselwhite, Maryland Department of Natural Resources.


—Approximately 80 people from 39 separate organizations gathered in western Maryland July 31 through Aug. 2 to discuss current year accomplishments through the Forest Service’s Hemlock Woolly Adelgid National Initiative and formulate plans and recommendations for fiscal year 2019. The objective of the meeting was to facilitate networking and information exchange between the growing numbers of people participating in the Forest Service’s HWA National Initiative. The meeting, hosted by the Maryland Department of Agriculture and Department of Natural Resources and facilitated by the Northeastern Area, was the largest to date. 

The HWA National Initiative is jointly led by the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry and the Southern Region, with research assistance provided by scientists with the Northern and Southern research stations and cooperating universities. The initiative was implemented in 2003 in response to resolutions by the National Association of State Foresters and the National Plant Board to develop “…a comprehensive plan addressing research, biological control and management of HWA.”

This was the fourth annual meeting held by HWA program managers, and like the previous meetings it focused on operational issues and needs associated with implementing HWA management programs on public and private lands.

Participants included 18 state agencies in 14 states, seven universities, two federal and one provincial agency in Canada, three nongovernmental organizations, one tribal enterprise, the National Park Service, and industry representatives. USDA Forest Service participants included Forest Health Protection specialists from the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry and the Southern Region, as well as scientists from the Northern and Southern research stations.

HWA is a non-native insect from Japan first found near Richmond, Virginia, in the early 1950s. Today, the insect is a resident of all or parts of 20 eastern states and one Canadian province. The insect has caused extensive dieback and mortality of both eastern and Carolina hemlocks across its range.

The 2019 HWA program managers meeting will be held in Michigan.