The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is expanding the state’s apple maggot quarantine into parts of Okanogan County, in an effort to slow the spread of this invasive pest and protect commercial apple production.
The changes take effect Nov. 9, 2018, 31 days following the filing of CR-103 documents detailing the quarantine expansion. Currently, an apple maggot quarantine is in effect in all or parts of 24 counties, mostly in Western Washington. The expanded area now includes the Methow Valley north of Gold Creek in Okanogan County as part of the apple maggot quarantine area.
The quarantine prohibits anyone from moving homegrown or foraged fruit from a quarantined area into or through a pest-free area. The quarantine affects both household waste and municipal green waste, including yard debris like grass clippings, fruit, soil and leaves, as well as woody debris, such as branches and twigs.
Under the conditions of the expanded quarantine, residents cannot put these prohibited green waste materials into their trash. Instead, the green waste must be separated from other solid waste so it can be properly treated before it is moved into or through a pest-free area. The expanded quarantine will affect operations at the Twisp Transfer Station, located within the quarantine area, and the Okanogan County Central Landfill, which is in a pest-free area. Both are managed by Okanogan County Public Works.
To comply with the quarantine, all waste coming into the Twisp Transfer Station will need to be separated, whether it is brought in by commercial haulers or self-hauled by residents. Okanogan County officials are evaluating options for treating and transporting green waste generated in the area. The plan will require WSDA approval and may require a special permit.
Apple maggot is a pest that threatens the apple industry and fruit crops like cherries, pears, plums, as well as crabapples and hawthorn. The pest has never been detected in commercially packed Washington fruit.
More information on the proposal, including a map of the quarantine area, is on the Apple Maggot Quarantine Boundary webpage. You can also visit WSDA’s apple maggot webpage for more information on this invasive pest.