Grants helping Minnesota communities manage emerald ash borer
MOORHEAD, Minn. (Valley News Live) - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources awarded a combined $2.6 million in grants to 43 communities across Minnesota to combat damage caused by emerald ash borer. The grants provide funding for tree inventories, management plans, ash removal, and tree planting.
“From taking the first steps in understanding the health and location of ash trees, to developing plans for managing ash trees or continuing to diversify and increase climate resiliency of urban forests, these grants are designed to meet community needs,” said Valerie McClannahan, urban and community forestry program coordinator.
In Moorhead, where ash trees comprise 26% of public trees, the city will manage for EAB before it arrives. The city of Moorhead received a $60,000 grant. Experts say removing and replacing vulnerable ash trees will help protect both public safety and the environment. Ash trees infested with EAB become brittle, making them more dangerous and difficult to remove, and more likely to drop large branches.
“We are able to prioritize removal of ash trees with significant structural defects that pose an increased risk to public safety. Removing these trees results in a safer urban forest,” City Forester Trent Wise said.
In western Minnesota, where ash can comprise up to 50% of the trees in a community, the city of Marshall will use grant funds to plant a mixture of birch, oak, honey-locust, hackberry, ironwood, and disease-resistant elm trees. A diverse urban tree canopy is more resilient to pests, disease, and the effects of climate change.
“In addition to planting new species, we always mix up our varieties and cultivars so we don’t have all the same trees,” City Parks Superintendent Preston Stensrud said.
To date, EAB has been confirmed in 35 Minnesota counties. For a list of these counties, visit the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s interactive map.
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