DODGE COUNTY – An emergency quarantine was recently confirmed for Dodge County after emerald ash borer was established in the City of Kasson in early September. An emerald ash borer beetle was discovered on a USDA trap and a visit by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture found a nearby infested ash tree.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY – A sighting of emerald ash borer in Duluth has caused public officials to issue an emergency quarantine in southeastern St. Louis County. The sighting was confirmed near the Hartley Nature Center in September.
Why is emerald ash borer (EAB) a major issue for Minnesota trees? EAB poses a threat to the North American Fraxinus genus. It has killed a high number of ash trees and it has the potential to kill all of the 8.7 billion ash trees throughout North America. The ecosystem is greatly influenced when a tree dies. Invasive plants thrive and increase, nutrients in the soil change, and species that depend on the trees are left without shelter or food.
Damage control is impacting local businesses, property owners, and local and state governments. Quarantines prevent EAB from spreading to other areas. However, quarantines negatively impact local businesses and the transportation of tree and wood products. Decreased land value as well as treatment and removal costs greatly impact urban and residential areas. Additionally, homeowners and local municipalities have to manage costs for tree removal and maintenance. Removing large numbers of trees at once is very expensive for local governments. That is why slowing the rate of death and treating infected trees is a good method for preventing further damage.
Removing and replacing all of the ash trees in one area at the same time could cost as much as $25 billion. Preventing further infection and treating current infections over a period of 10 years would cost roughly $10 billion. Officials must decide how to implement a plan sooner rather than later to avoid further financial costs.