WSR 02-10-123



[ Filed May 1, 2002, 8:43 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 01-03-138.

Title of Rule: Chapter 16-489 WAC, Blueberry scorch virus quarantine.

Purpose: To establish a rule relating to the exclusion and regulation of host material for blueberry scorch virus, a serious economic pest of blueberries.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: Chapters 17.24 and 15.13 RCW.

Statute Being Implemented: Chapters 17.24 and 15.13 RCW.

Summary: Currently no rules are in place regarding blueberry scorch virus in Washington state. The discovery of particularly virulent strains of blueberry scorch virus in British Columbia and several states, and the virus' potential for movement into Washington state are cause for rule making. Establishment of this pest would cause economic loss to the blueberry industry.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: USDA APHIS has authority to quarantine and regulate for plant diseases, both interstate and internationally. The federal agency has not exercised its powers for many diseases, including blueberry scorch, known to be present in areas of the United States, leaving these issues to the states. There is well established precedent for advising and coordinating with USDA APHIS on plant health issues.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Tom Wessels, 1111 Washington Street, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, (360) 902-1984; Implementation and Enforcement: Mary Toohey, 1111 Washington Street, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, (360) 902-1907.

Name of Proponent: Washington Blueberry Commission, Washington State Department of Agriculture, public and governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: This proposal will allow Washington State Department of Agriculture to protect the state's blueberry crop from a virulent strain of blueberry scorch virus that presently occurs only in a few eastern states and British Columbia. Because a different, latent strain of the virus is occasionally found in Washington and the two strains cannot be readily differentiated by a practical lab test, the proposal addresses all strains of blueberry scorch virus. The proposal would require all blueberry plants sold, offered for sale, or transported within the state to meet one of a variety of conditions which demonstrate that the plants are blueberry scorch virus-free. It would also require recordkeeping to verify this. The proposal complies with the international standards for phytosanitary measures and could be adopted by the USDA to regulate blueberry plants from British Columbia. The state of Oregon has established a similar rule.

Proposal does not change existing rules.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The proposed rule will have an economic impact on less than 10% of the businesses in the SIC code.

Section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, does not apply to this rule adoption. Washington State Department of Agriculture is not a listed agency in section 201.

Hearing Location: Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington Street, 2nd Floor, Conference Room 259, Olympia, WA 98504, on June 10, 2002, at 11:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Jodi Jones by June 5, 2002, TDD (360) 902-1996, or (360) 902-1806.

Submit Written Comments to: Tom Wessels, Plant Services Program Manager, Washington State Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, e-mail, fax (360) 902-2094, by close of business June 10, 2002.

Date of Intended Adoption: June 19, 2002.

May 1, 2002

Mary A. Martin Toohey

Assistant Director

Chapter 16-489 WAC

Blueberry Scorch Virus Quarantine

WAC 16-489-010   Blueberry scorch virus.   Blueberry scorch virus is an aphid-borne virus that causes necrosis of leaves and flowers in susceptible blueberry varieties, leading to a decline in productivity. A strain of blueberry scorch virus benign to varieties commonly grown in the Pacific Northwest has been historically present in Washington. Now a more virulent strain of blueberry scorch virus has been identified in western North America. If this virulent strain is introduced into the state, it will have a severe economic impact on Washington's blueberry industry. The strains of blueberry scorch virus cannot be readily distinguished by standard laboratory testing methods, making it necessary to eliminate all strains of this virus from Washington. A quarantine is established under authority of chapters 17.24 and 15.13 RCW, in order to prevent introduction and spread of all strains of blueberry scorch virus.


WAC 16-489-020   Blueberry scorch virus -- Definitions.   The following definitions apply to WAC 16-489.

(1) "Blueberry plants" means all plants and plant parts of Vaccinium corymbosum, except fruit that is free of leaf tissue.

(2) "Blueberry scorch virus" means any and all strains of blueberry scorch virus.

(3) "Pest Free Area" means an area where no strain of blueberry scorch virus occurs, as demonstrated by scientific evidence, and in which, where appropriate, this blueberry scorch virus free condition is being officially maintained.

(4) "Director" means the director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture or the director's authorized representative.

(5) "Micropropagated plants" means plants propagated using aseptic laboratory techniques and an artificial culture medium.


WAC 16-489-030   Blueberry scorch virus -- Area under quarantine.   All states and territories of the United States and all counties within the state of Washington.


WAC 16-489-040   Blueberry scorch virus -- Regulated articles.   All blueberry plants and plants of other Vaccinium species shown to be hosts for blueberry scorch virus are regulated articles. Blueberry fruit that is free of leaf tissue is not regulated under this chapter; however, please note that blueberry fruit may be regulated for other pests under provisions of WAC 16-488.


WAC 16-489-050   Blueberry scorch virus -- Restrictions.   (1) All regulated articles planted, sold, offered for sale or transported within the state must be demonstrated free of blueberry scorch virus by meeting at least one of the following conditions:

a) They must originate from a pest free area,

b) They are certified in accordance with the regulations of an official certification program in the state of origin that includes testing and inspection for blueberry viruses and is approved by the director,

c) They are shown to be free of blueberry scorch virus, based on an official laboratory test using a protocol approved by the director, or

d) They are micropropagated and/or grown in an insect-proof greenhouse or screenhouse and originate from mother plants that have been tested and found free of blueberry scorch virus.

2) Persons importing regulated articles into the state must obtain a phytosanitary certificate from the plant protection organization of the place of origin verifying that one of the conditions in subsection 1 above has been met. A copy of the phytosanitary certificate must accompany the shipment.


WAC 16-489-060   Blueberry scorch virus -- Recordkeeping.   1) All persons planting or growing regulated articles in the state are required to retain records as specified in subsection 2 below for a period of not less than one calendar year from acquisition of the plants.

2) These records shall contain the number and variety of plants, the name and address of the propagator, and applicable phytosanitary certificates, certification tags or documentation, and laboratory testing reports

3) The grower must provide a copy of the records to the plant services program of the state department of agriculture upon request of the director.


WAC 16-489-070   Blueberry scorch virus -- Exceptions.   The director may issue special permits to allow blueberry plants otherwise prohibited in this chapter to be planted, sold, offered for sale, or transported. Such special permits must be in writing and must be obtained prior to planting, sale, and/or transportation.


Washington State Code Reviser's Office