Grant money given to 35 communities to manage Emerald Ash Borer

(Photo credit: Wisconsin DNR)
Published: Jul. 14, 2023 at 7:42 PM CDT
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (GRAY) – This week, the Minnesota DNR awarded $2.4M in grant money to 35 communities in Minnesota to help manage the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB. First detected in the state almost 15 years ago, the EAB has slowly spread into dozens of communities around the state.

Minnesota’s thriving ash tree population has proven an efficient vector for the insect, with no natural resistance to the non-native species.

“They make up 40 to 60 percent of the trees in some of our communities,” said Emma Schultz with the Minnesota DNR, “[that] represents a huge budgetary constraint if and when their trees become infested with Emerald Ash Borer.”

Schultz said managing and controlling the EAB can cost a lot of money, especially in smaller communities. The grant money from the DNR will in theory help out with key management programs.

“Funding like this is really critical to meet those communities where they’re at, and to help them along their path of community forest management,” she said.

The funding will be used to do things like diversifying the local foliage, removing impacted wood and trees, and creating inventory plans for trees in each awarded community.

“Our main focus is preparing our state forests and our wildlife lands for the eventual impact of the Emerald Ash Borer,” said Brian Schwingle, also with the Minnesota DNR.

Schwingle said there’s no way to get rid of the EAB, but the grant program and other funding can encourage communities to dampen it’s impact.

“If we’re able to diversify our forests, with a wide variety of native tree species that buffers the eventual impact that a changing climate can have, or an invasive species like emerald ash borer,” he said.

Click on the following links for information on where the Emerald Ash Borer can be found and information on how to report a new EAB sighting.