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This report was prepared by the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) with assistance from staff of the Minnesota Departments of Agriculture (MDA), Commerce, Health (MDH), and Natural Resources (DNR), the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and the Metropolitan Council.

Download the report below.


Ten years have passed since emerald ash borer (EAB) was discovered in St. Paul in 2009. Nearly a quarter of Minnesota’s counties have infestations, and all will eventually be infested. The state has more than 1 billion ash trees, mostly in forests, while 1 in 5 trees in Minnesota’s communities is ash. Losing these trees poses a serious threat to community and rural forests across the state. Unfortunately, federal efforts to limit the spread of EAB will disappear and communities and land managers lack sufficient funding and capacity to adapt to the destructive effects of this pest.

State and federal quarantines have assisted in slowing the spread In the early 1980's, the State funded the equivalent of $290 million dollars to combat Dutch elm disease, affecting 140 million elm trees. Today, Minnesota faces EAB impact to more than 1 billion ash trees. of EAB into and throughout the state. However, the federal government is considering lifting their interstate quarantine, requiring states to take on enforcement. Without effective quarantines and enforcement, transportation of infested wood will speed the spread of EAB.

In 2019, the Minnesota Legislature approved $1,000,000 in funding for communities to respond to EAB. These funds will help communities complete tree inventories, develop management plans, and remove and replace ash trees. While these funds will be put to good use, they will address only a fraction of the need.

By adequately supporting communities, we could keep EAB out of Minnesota’s ash-dominated forests for as long as possible. Infestation in these forests carries a significant climate risk and will likely have long-term environmental effects. Not only could Minnesota lose one billion ash trees in our forests, but over one million acres of forests could convert to non-forest ecosystems and sequester far less carbon over the long term. How we manage standing ash trees matters, too. If we have a proactive and organized response, we can put ash wood to its highest and best use and avoid overwhelming our waste stream.

The purpose of this report is to provide recommendations for action on EAB to Minnesota’s leaders. Although community forests and forested lands have different challenges, this report attempts to address both. We cannot avoid the impacts of EAB entirely. However, if we take action now, we can avoid many unnecessary costs and impacts while laying the groundwork for healthy, resilient forests in our communities, working lands, and protected lands.


Emerald Ash Borer management

An interagency team presented the Emerald Ash Borer in Minnesota report to the Environmental Quality Board at the November 20, 2019 meeting. The Board passed a resolution approving the report and requested that EQB staff: Convene a working group that reports back to the Board by Spring 2020 with specific recommendations that carry out the strategies identified in the 2019 Emerald Ash Borer in Minnesota report.

The interagency team convened and collected stakeholder input to aid in the development of recommended actions that can move the State of Minnesota forward on the emerald ash borer (EAB) issue.