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Sudden Oak Death focus of meeting in Brookings

Curry County residents are invited to discuss options for treating sudden oak death  at 7 p.m. today (March 2) at the Chetco Community  Public Library, 405 Alder St., Brookings.

Recommendations from a special task force will be presented, and officials will be present to answer questions and receive input from the public.

Efforts to eradicate the disease from the Southern Oregon Coast began when it was first noticed in 2001. These have included enforcing a 162-square-mile quarantine area, and implementing a program of early detection and removal of affected or susceptible trees through cutting and burning.

The affected area, near Brookings, remains the only place in Oregon where Phytophthora ramorum – the fungus that causes sudden oak death – has been found in the natural environment. Proposed options now focus on containment and slowing the spread of the disease rather than eradication.

The task force includes representatives from the Oregon Department of Forestry, US Forest Service, Oregon Department of Agriculture, and Oregon State University.

The task force recommendation includes treating only outlying sites of P. ramorum on private land in the future, and treating all sites on federal lands.

Sites in the generally-infested core area would no longer be cut or burned by the state. Landowners within that area would be encouraged to cut and burn infected and nearby tanoak, or other plant material susceptible to the disease, with the possible assistance of a cost-share program.

The highest-priority outlying sites would be treated first and quarantine requirements would be changed.

The public meeting will provide residents an opportunity to comment on the task force recommendations and future options.

For information, contact Stacy Savona, Oregon Department of Forestry, 541-469-5040.


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