Phytophthora ramorum Areas Officially Deregulated
Effective May 20, 2019, some “regulated areas” for Phytophthora ramorum will no longer be regulated under the federal program, though “quarantine areas”, where the pathogen is established, will be. Operationally, nothing really changes as this approach has been already in effect through federal orders previously established in 2014 and 2015.
USDA-APHIS announced the codification following a public comment period last year. Ten comments were received, including an AmericanHort letter in support of the changes.
New risk mitigation measures are being put in place for nurseries that pose a risk of disseminating P. ramorum through interstate movement of regulated plant material. Inspection and sampling requirements for certain nurseries in quarantine areas (for P. ramorum) are being revised to take into consideration other sources of P. ramorum. Also, nurseries located outside the quarantine areas will be regulated if P. ramorum inoculum are found at those nurseries.
Going forward, APHIS will regulate nurseries outside of the quarantined areas based on positive finds. Quarantined areas will remain unchanged. The regulated host list can be found at the APHIS website.
Sudden oak death, caused by Phytophthora ramorum, was first reported in the U.S. in 1995. Regulations were established in 2002 after discoveries of P. ramorum were made in some nurseries that shipped plant material interstate. The initial regulations defined 15 counties in California and a portion of one county in Oregon as quarantined areas, since P. ramorum exists in the natural environment. Regulated areas were also defined, but clarified as areas where P. ramorum was found on nursery stock but not present in the natural environment. Regulated areas included the remainder of California and Oregon, as well as all of Washington.