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State accepting comment on gypsy moth eradication

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is accepting public comments on proposed plans to eradicate an infestation of European gypsy moth at a 180-acre site near Interurban Ave. S. and S. 149th St. in Tukwila. A small portion of Renton is included in the area.

Before a proposed treatment, state and federal law requires WSDA to assess the impact of the treatments on the environment, then make the documents available for public review and comment. The deadline for submitting written comments to WSDA on the proposed treatments is April 16.

Both a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) checklist approved by WSDA, and a draft environmental assessment prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) are now available. These documents, particularly the 11-page environmental checklist and maps, summarize the scope of the project and are posted on the agency’s gypsy moth webpage (www.agr.wa.gov/PlantsInsects/InsectPests/GypsyMoth).

Copies may also be reviewed at the King County Library Foster Branch, 4060 S. 144th St., Tukwila and at the Renton Branch, 100 Mill Ave. S., Renton. In addition, copies are at the Washington State Library, Point Plaza East, 6880 Capitol Blvd., Tumwater.

Reproducing populations of the gypsy moth, a destructive forest pest, were detected in Tukwila last summer when WSDA trappers caught 25 moths and found several trees with viable gypsy moth eggs in Tukwila. If approved, treatments would include a biological insecticide applied to trees and shrubs over 10 acres and a single 180-acre aerial application of tiny pheromone-impregnated flakes that disrupt mating between adult gypsy moths. Efforts to eradicate the gypsy moths would begin in April or early May, and the aerial flight would be planned for July.

For more information on WSDA’s gypsy moth program, call the agency’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-443-6684 or send an email to PestProgram@agr.wa.gov.

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