HWA, Adelges tsugae, is a small aphid-like pest that feeds on hemlock twigs at the base of the needles, gradually killing the trees. HWA has decimated hemlock populations along the east coast and Appalachian Mountains; tree death is expected 6-10 years after infestation in the Finger Lakes. HWA was found along the southwestern shorelines of Skaneateles Lake in 2014, though it’s unclear how long it has been present. Hemlock trees are found in deep coves and steep slopes where they help to hold highly erodible soils, provide insulation for wildlife in summer and winter months, and help to keep creeks and brooks cool which is critical to water quality and native fish habitat.
The forum will offer updates to the public on the status of HWA in New York State and the Skaneateles Lake Watershed, and will cover management strategies including the introduction of biological controls in the Watershed. Residents will have the opportunity to give feedback on locations of hemlock stands, and ask questions about HWA and the biological control project from Mark Whitmore of Cornell University, Jason Denham of the NYS DEC, and Jessi Lyons of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County. Local arborist Robert Duckett will provide images of known infestations in the Watershed.
Funding for this workshop is provided by the City of Syracuse Department of Water.