MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For the first time, emerald ash borer has been discovered in southern Minnesota’s Steele County.
On Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirmed the discovery of the invasive species in the county.
The MDA says a tree care professional contacted them in late August after they noticed several dying ash trees in an area inside the city of Medford. MDA staff were able to find live ash borer and collected a sample for federal identification. It was later confirmed by the USDA.
“We rely on partners in our tree care, logging, and landscaping industries to help us monitor for emerald ash borer and other invasive pests,” Mark Abrahamson, Director of MDA’s Plant Protection Division, said. “However, we also need every Minnesotan to be vigilant. Know and look for signs of invasive pests; don’t move firewood and other materials around that may transport these insects; and, report anything unusual to us at the MDA.”
The MDA will now be enacting an emergency quarantine to limit firewood and ash material from moving out of the county.
There are now 20 counties in Minnesota under full or partial quarantine due to the invasive species.
“Minnesota is highly susceptible to the destruction caused by EAB. The state has approximately one billion ash trees, the most of any state in the nation,” the MDA said.
There will be an open house discussing the discovery on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at the Steele County Administration Building in Owatonna. Residents are invited to attend.