ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) says it will continue using quarantines to prevent the spread of the emerald ash borer (EAB) after the federal government announced it was ending the practice.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says with the tree-killing pest now present in 35 states, including Minnesota, it is ending the federal quarantine regulations because they have proven ineffective. MDA says it will continue monitoring for EAG in un-infested areas, quarantining newly infested counties, and regulating the movement of wood products around the state.
“We met extensively with the forest products industry, nursery industry, and local and tribal governments regarding their concerns about possible federal deregulation of EAB,” says Minnesota Agriculture Assistant Commissioner Whitney Place. “There was strong interest in maintaining regulations here in Minnesota and we intend to do that for the sake of our urban and natural forests.”
Minnesota has approximately one billion ash trees, the most of any state, so the EAB poses a major threat to the state.
“Currently, 25 of Minnesota’s 87 counties are infested with emerald ash borer,” says Mark Abrahamson, director of the MDA’s Plant Protection Division. “That rate of spread across the state in 11 years is 60% slower than most states infested with EAB. Our efforts here have proven effective and it’s important we continue this work.”