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EAB was discovered in the city in the fall of 2019 during a routine tree trimming project. An analysis of the infestation showed that EAB was likely present for multiple years prior to its detection, which is consistent with the insect’s path of destruction. Symptoms are slow to appear, and once EAB is actually found, it has likely been present for 3 to 5 years. It is estimated that more than 30% of trees located on city property, rights-of-way, and boulevard areas are ash trees (not including the forested area of Barker’s Alps Park). Once EAB is found in an area, the mortality rate of ash trees increases exponentially. After discovery, the mortality rate of ash trees in 4 to 6 years is 30% and increases to 90% in 8 to 10 years.
With the help of the Department of Agriculture, the city has been working to survey ash trees on public property and identify the level of infestation. A total of 363 trees were surveyed, primarily within boulevards, parks, and the cemetery. Of these trees, 10 were confirmed to be infested and 5 potentially infested with EAB. The city has adopted a preliminary EAB Management Plan in response to the infestation on public property (see below). Funding for EAB management and replanting with a more diverse mixture of species will be made possible by a generous grant in the amount of $53,100 from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Given the prevalence of ash trees on public property, the Department of Agriculture staff estimates that there are likely 3-4 times more ash trees on private property. The EAB management plan will discuss detection and management strategies for property owners related to EAB. However, these trees will likely need to be removed at the expense of the property owner.