By Marcy Stamper

The imposition of a recommended quarantine of the Methow Valley to control the apple maggot has been postponed for a few weeks because pest-control experts with the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) aren’t meeting with their director until next week.

WSDA had set Monday (Aug. 6) as the proposed adoption date for a quarantine, but with the delay, the decision probably won’t be made until later this month, said Jim Marra, pest program manager for WSDA. That would mean the quarantine wouldn’t take effect until the end of September, not Sept. 5, as had been anticipated, he said.

A quarantine of the Methow Valley from Gold Creek to the Canadian border and east to the Loup Loup summit has been recommended by a WSDA working group and has been called “inevitable.” The quarantine was proposed earlier this year after the discovery of dozens of adult flies and larvae in the Methow Valley.

A quarantine would mean that people could not transport home-grown apples to uncontaminated areas, which would include Pateros, Okanogan and Wenatchee. Because virtually all of Western Washington is under a quarantine, apples could be taken over the North Cascades Highway to Seattle.

The quarantine would also affect trash disposal, particularly green waste like home-grown fruit and vegetables, grass clippings and soil. While details haven’t been finalized, green waste will probably be accepted at the Twisp transfer station if it’s been separated from other trash. But the Methow’s green waste couldn’t be brought to the central landfill in Okanogan.

At present, it appears WasteWise would no longer be able to collect green waste because those materials would be mixed in with other trash, according to General Manager Casey Bouchard.

Okanogan County Public Works has also been working with WSDA to figure out a way to keep the Methow Valley’s green waste out of the pest-free area, including hauling it over the North Cascades Highway when the road is open.