The Townshend State Park is under attack, and the perpetrator is an invasive species.
That species is the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid also know as HWA and its killing the Hemlock trees in the state park. Officials say the HWA has also been seen in an area of the Adirondacks in New York.
According to Jim Esden of the Department of Forest Park and Recreation, the HWA has Asian roots and first arrived in the United States back in the 1950’s.
Esden says that the insect was brought to this country “When an heiress from Richmond, VA imported some Hemlock seedlings from Japan in order to be a part of creating an arboretum that the public could use.”
The insect enjoys munching on the starch of the Hemlock and has spread to regions of Southern Vermont and its causing severe damage to the canopy of the trees and can lead to ecological problems later on.
To combat the problem Esden says, three species of beetles have been released, “It will take a while for the very small number of beetles that we released to build up into a population large enough to really have an impact.”