Letter to Elected Officials

Discussion in 'Shannondale Gypsy Moth Comittee' started by campbell, Aug 27, 2014.

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  1. campbell

    campbell SGMC Moderator

    Aug 31, 2004
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    Federal cost share money has helped enormously in our efforts toward gypsy moth suppression. Without it we likely would not have had enough money to treat when needed despite contributions from landowners which of course our very important too. There is currently no cost share money for looper treatment and no state program. We want to change that. We had hoped to meet with the WVDA commissioner on this but were not granted a meeting. So our next step is for as many people as possible to write their local state and federal representatives and request that they work with WVDA to establish a cost share program for loopers. We have written a sample letter and list of elected officials to send it to which is posted below. The more people that write, the better chance we have in successfully battling this destructive pest.

    I live in Shannondale in the eastern panhandle of WV. There was a very serious outbreak of cankerworm caterpillars this spring, also known as loopers/inchworms. This population has been building in our community for the past two years and this year completely exploded. They did extensive damage to our forests over a massive area and browning on the Blue Ridge Mountain could be seen for miles. The mountain looked liked the dead of winter. This extreme destruction of our trees presents a major fire risk threat to the thousands of people who live here and there is only one road out in the event of a wildfire. In addition to the safety issues we face major loss of property value, significant expenses of tree removal, erosion and mud slide issues and of course the loss of the beauty and tranquility of our community.

    The cankerworm is a common native pest of deciduous forests and can cause serious defoliation over a large range of land. The caterpillars appear on trees in early spring and destroy young leaves and buds of a wide range of trees. By the time the larvae finish feeding only the major veins of the leaves remain. Trees may be completely defoliated as is the case in our community. If this happens two to three years in succession trees likely will die. Caterpillars feed for 4 or 5 weeks and then enter the soil where they pupate and emerge as egg laying moths in Fall or Spring. The moths emerge from the soil in November and December to lay their eggs that hatch in April and early May as tree buds open.

    Predators and natural disease can kill these caterpillars but this has not happened in our community after three years. Predators take a long time to build to sufficient numbers to control this pest and many of our trees are at great risk of dying if they receive another year’s assault.

    WV Department of Agriculture (WVDA) continues to regularly monitor our situation but does not see signs of collapse of these cankerworms. Control then will require expensive aerial spraying of BT next spring ($35 per acre on thousands of acres). Landowners of course contribute toward treatment cost but this will not be sufficient since treatment of such a large area is so expensive. We are in great need of financial help in order to preserve our trees, keep us safe and maintain the natural beauty of our mountain community. This problem threatens the Appalachian Trail, residents of the Blue Ridge, all people in Jefferson county, Harpers Ferry National Historic Park and area tourism.

    We ask that you work with WVDA to establish a cost sharing program like the one for Gypsy Moth suppression.
    We have successfully worked in tandem before and a small investment now (federal, state and private money) can pay big dividends.


    Manchin, Joe, III - (D - WV)
    306 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
    (202) 224-3954
    Contact: www.manchin.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form

    Rockefeller, John D., IV - (D - WV)
    531 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
    (202) 224-6472
    Contact: www.rockefeller.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-jay

    Shelley Moore Capito
    Washington, D.C. Office
    2366 Rayburn H.O.B.
    Washington, D.C., 20515
    Phone: 202.225.2711
    Fax: 202.225.7856

    Charleston Office
    4815 MacCorkle Ave., SE
    Charleston, WV 25304
    Phone: 304.925.5964
    Fax: 304.926.8912

    Martinsburg Office
    300 Foxcroft Ave. Suite 102
    Martinsburg, WV 25401
    Phone: 304.264.8810
    Fax: 304.264.8815

    CONTACT: Paul Espinosa

    Capitol Office:
    Room 231E, Building 1
    State Capitol Complex
    Charleston, WV 25305
    Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3130

    107 Hancock Court
    Charles Town, WV, 25414
    Home Phone: (304) 728-8139
    Business Phone: (304) 728-8139

    CONTACT: Stephen Skinner

    Capitol Office:
    Room 217E, Building 1
    State Capitol Complex
    Charleston, WV 25305
    Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3248

    P.O. Box 366
    Shepherdstown, WV, 25443
    Home Phone: (304) 506-2113
    Business Phone: NA

    County Commission
    Walt Pellish, President - walterpellish@mac.com
    Jane Tabb, Vice President - vinemont@frontiernet.net
    Dale Manuel, Commissioner - dmanuel@frontiernet.net
    Patsy Noland, Commissioner - patsynol@gmail.com
    Lyn Widmyer, Commissioner - lynwidmyer@gmail.com
    Information: 304-728-3284
    Fax: 304-725-7916
    Mailing Address: P.O Box 250, 124 E. Washington Street, Charles Town, WV 25414
    Hours: 9:00am - 5:00pm - Monday -Friday
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