Nearly $1 million has been spread around to 25 Minnesota communities by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to fight the emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle that kills ash trees and has been confirmed in 23 counties.
The money will go toward tree inventories, management plans, ash removal and tree planting.
In the Brown County city of New Ulm in southern Minnesota, the presence of the emerald ash borer was confirmed last year.
More than 20% of the city’s trees are ash, according to the DNR, and some 2,600 ash trees line the city’s boulevards.
The city will receive $88,352 for tree removal and replacement.
The money will reduce the financial burden for residents of the 25 cities as well as allow the communities to replant a diverse number of tree species, which reduces the potential for future problems arising from insects and diseases.
“These funds will help front-line communities prepare,” Emma Schultz, a community forest project specialist with the department, said in a news release. “And in areas where the beetle is established, this funding is important to manage ash and diversify urban tree canopies.”
One group of grants, totaling $679,000 appropriated from the state general fund, will help communities inventory their trees and remove and replace ash trees.
In addition to New Ulm, the cities receiving these grants are Bayport ($53,100), Bemidji ($14,235), Brooklyn Park ($100,000), Columbia Heights ($100,000), Duluth ($92,400), Kellogg ($30,000), Lake Crystal ($4,500), Lakeville ($25,000), Mahnomen ($6,413), Moorhead ($50,000) and Owatonna ($50,000).
A second group of grants, totaling $300,000 from the state’s lottery-funded Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, will help communities plant trees on public land.
Cities receiving these grants include Blaine ($28,364), Hutchinson ($30,000), Maplewood ($30,000), Mendota Heights ($12,715), Morris ($16,996), Rochester ($30,000), Roseville ($30,000), St. Louis Park ($30,000), St. Paul ($30,000), Sauk Centre ($29,500), West St. Paul ($25,000) and Winona ($7,425).
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture maintains an interactive map to show where in the state the emerald ash borer has been confirmed.
For more information, visit the DNR website at dnr.state.mn.us/invasives, or contact the DNR Community Forestry Grants Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.