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Recent estimates suggest that there are over 600 aquatic and terrestrial non-native species present in the Great Lakes region. With no natural enemies to limit their spread, these species have the potential to invade and displace native species, spread disease and alter ecosystem dynamics. Experts believe that continued introduction of invasive species is one of the greatest threats to the area's biodiversity.
The Emerald Ash Borer is a beetle indigenous to Asia. It was first identified in the southeastern Michigan area in July of 2002 and was also identified in the Windsor, Ontario area that same year. It attacks and kills ash trees that are larger than 1 inch in diameter. It has no known natural enemies and native trees do not appear to have any resistance to the beetle. This beetle is a significant threat to all ash species in the Detroit and Windsor areas. It has also been identified in Ohio, Indiana, Maryland and Virginia.
The Asian long-horned beetle was first reported in the New York area in 1996, where it is thought to have entered via wood packing material from China . The beetle is a serious threat to hardwood trees and has no known natural predator in the United States. If the Asian long-horned beetle becomes established, it has the potential to cause more damage than Dutch elm disease, chestnut blight, and gypsy moths combined, destroying millions of acres of hardwoods. The beetle has the potential to damage such industries as lumber, maple syrup, nursery, commercial fruit, and tourism. The beetle was discovered in wood packing material from China in two warehouses in Michigan - one of which falls within the Lake St. Clair watershed (Warren , Michigan ). Asian long-horned beetles are about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in length, are black and shiny with white spots and have long distinguishable antennae that are banded with black and white. They attack many different hardwood trees, including maple, birch, horse chestnut, poplar, willow, elm, ash and black locust.
For more information, see: Coastal Habitat Plan, Section V(PDF)