Federal Aid for Minnesota’s Battle against the Emerald Ash Borer

Thursday, June 4th, 2009 at 6:37 am

Washington, D.C. – Continuing her efforts to protect Minnesota trees against the Emerald Ash Borer, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced today that the state is slated to receive federal resources to help slow the spread of the beetle, which has already devastated ash tree populations in other states.  Klobuchar, who serves on the Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry, said that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide funding to help Minnesota in the fight to save trees across the state.  Upon the news that the Emerald Ash Borer bug was discovered in Minnesota in May, Klobuchar sent a letter to Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting immediate assistance.

“With the recent discovery of Emerald Ash Borer, it is vital that we do everything possible to stop the spread of this potentially devastating infestation,” said Klobuchar.  “The quick approval of federal help is critical to our efforts to stop this fast-spreading bug.”

With the urging of Senator Klobuchar, the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine Program is working with the State of Minnesota to finalize its plan to fight the Emerald Ash Borer.  The anticipated amount of federal funding is $771,250.  Of that sum, $750,000 will go towards critical survey and reconnaissance work and $21,250 will be available for the cutting down of infected trees.

In May, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture issued a risk assessment indicating that 40 percent of Minnesota is at risk from Emerald Ash Borer.  Minnesota is home to over 900 million ash trees, the second highest concentration in the nation behind Maine. Over the past seven years, Emerald Ash Borer insects have killed tens of millions of trees in the Midwest and Canada.

After the discovery of Emerald Ash Borer in Minnesota in May, the state instituted a quarantine for Ramsey and Hennepin Counties, the location of the Emerald Ash Borer infestation.

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