Community Tree Advocates Work Towards Funding to Combat Emerald Ash Borer

July 17, 2017

By Mark Rehder, Board Certified Master Arborist MN-0256B, S&S Tree Specialists

As new outbreaks of the Emerald Ash Borer continue to increase across the state, more communities will be faced with difficult decisions ahead. As it stands, 14 Minnesota counties are now under federal quarantine. For many communities, the biggest issue will be with regards to public safety. Dead and dying ash trees are notoriously brittle and can easily lose branches or large sections of bark after they have become infested. It may be worthwhile for communities to look at the risks associated with having a large population of dead ash trees in public settings such as parks, along trails, and near roads.

The Minnesota Shade Tree Advisory Committee (MNSTAC), and many other groups and individuals, worked tirelessly to promote for urban trees at the legislative level. During the last legislative session some funds were earmarked for appropriation to communities to help offset the costs associated with EAB. While nothing has been finalized yet, it is hoped that funds will become available in 2018.

One of the first steps any community should take is to get a tally on how many ash trees they have. Communities without a boulevard tree inventory already in place can look to fill that gap by conducting their own inventory, either through the services of an outside consultant, internally, or with volunteers. Some resources such as the Minnesota Pollution Control Agencies Green Step Program may also be an avenue towards completing the tree inventory. Without an inventory in place, it will be challenging for a community to devise a plan as they will not have a good handle on how many ash trees they have or where they are located.

If your community has not done so, devising an EAB Management Plan based on the results of the inventory should be priority number one. There are a tremendous amount of resources available to communities through MNSTAC, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources that will help municipalities choose the best course of action.

Below are some links that will provide some good information to get started.

http://www.emeraldashborer.info/
http://www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/pestmanagement/invasivesunit.aspx
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/terrestrialanimals/eab/index.html
http://www.mnstac.org/

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