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New Finds of Sudden Oak Death Disease on S. Oregon Coast: Humbug State Park Quarantines

Published 06/30/23 at 5:31 p.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

New Finds of Sudden Oak Death Disease on S. Oregon Coast: Humbug State Park Quarantines

(Curry Count, Oregon) – The south Oregon coast's Humbug State Park is seeing a few restrictions these days, after forestry rangers have discovered more trees infected with Sudden Oak Death (SOD). The disease causes large areas of cankers on the trees and eventually death, which Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and other state agencies take very seriously. Now, some areas around Humbug State Park and just outside of Port Orford are now under quarantine. (Above: Humbug trails, courtesy OPRD)

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Earlier this month, a new section of the massive state park was put under quarantine after more tanoak trees were discovered to be infected. These trees are near one of the main quarantine sections just outside of Port Orford, about 1.5 miles from town, ODF said.

“Most of the infected samples were tested by state and federal agriculture scientists and found to be from the NA2 lineage; results from the rest are still pending,” said Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD).

SOD is technically known as Phytophthora ramorum, a plant pathogen that causes the disease.

The newly infected trees are not part of the campgrounds on the south Oregon coast hotspot, nor any day-use areas. The vast majority of Humbug's hiking trails are not affected. However, OPRD is asking hikers to stick to trails and not wander off them as SOD is also spread by human interaction. Spores from the fungus can stick to humans, pets and vehicles and carried from already-infected areas.

“This marks the third confirmation of sudden oak death to the north of the 515-square mile quarantined portion of Curry County since March 2021,” OPRD said.

The disease was first discovered in Oregon in 2021. Before that, it had only been seen in plant nurseries.

Following federal protocol, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) tested and confirmed the samples from this new location at the south Oregon coast's Curry County. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection Quarantine (USDA-APHIS-PPQ) Lab in Maryland conducted a second round of confirmatory testing. Both laboratories confirmed the samples as positive for Phytophthora ramorum, the plant pathogen that causes the disease sudden oak death.

USDA-APHIS-PPQ must confirm new infestation sites before regulatory action may take place. Regulations in Oregon require that any property that is officially confirmed as infested must undergo treatments, whether it is private or state property. Funds for treating this new infection on the south Oregon coast will be coming from both state and federal sources, which includes any future infestations that are discovered.

Oregon regulations require state and private property officially confirmed as infested with SOD to undergo treatments. Federal and state funds are available to cover the cost of treating this new infestation and address any additional infestations, should they be detected.

SOD crews from the Oregon Department of Forestry and the USDA Forest Service have monitored areas for infested trees and plants and responded to new detections. Monitoring includes aerial detection surveys, ground-based surveys, and expert stream monitoring.

ODA maintains the Phytophthora ramorum quarantine. The quarantine allows any property in the state, where a SOD infestation has been confirmed (including a buffer zone of 3 miles surrounding), to be placed under quarantine (OAR 603-052-1230 (2)(d)). Thus, an emergency quarantine or an amendment to the existing quarantine does not need to be issued. Oregon’s SOD program will consult with stakeholders regarding any potential expansion of the quarantine boundaries.

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Photo above courtesy Trail Keepers of Oregon. Below: courtesy Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts for more

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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