Protect Community Forests by Managing Ash for EAB Grants program

two males planting a tree in front of a house

Grant overview

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources welcomes applications from local units of government within Minnesota to assist communities in managing ash for emerald ash borer (EAB) on public and Tribal lands, and improve community forests by planting a diversity of trees and involving community members. The DNR has $2.4 million available to fund projects managing EAB through community forestry activities on public lands  and tribal lands. Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). No minimum dollar amount exists. The maximum amount that will be funded is $150,000.

Informational Webinar

Jonathan Osthus' webinar presentation Why Manage for Emerald Ash Borer?

Emma Schultz's webinar presentation Protect Community Forests by Managing Ash for EAB Grants Program

Eligible applicants

All local units of government within Minnesota are eligible. This includes cities, counties, regional authorities, joint powers boards, towns, tribal governments, and parks and recreation boards in cities of the first class.

Priority will be given to:

  • Communities who have staff, who plan to certify their staff during the grant period, or who will contract with companies with staff who have professional tree care credentials (such as Minnesota Tree Inspector, International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist, etc.). List these credentials on the application.
  • Projects removing and replacing ash trees that pose significant public safety concerns.
  • Projects that benefit underserved populations and areas of concern for environmental justice (communities with higher populations of low-income residents, or people of color, including tribal communities, or both). Please reference the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's interactive environmental justice map for more information. Applicants should describe how the proposed project activities benefit these communities.

Eligible project expenses

Eligible project expenses are those incurred through project activities that are directly related and necessary to produce the outcomes described in the project application. Grant funds can be used for, but will not be limited to:

  • Professional contracts for technical assistance, resident education and engagement, project implementation by individuals or organizations not a part of the local government unit (including public tree inventories, EAB management plans, tree removal and replanting, chemical treatment of ash trees with injectable non-neonicotinoid insecticide, and tree planting)
  • Site preparation and planting, including mulch, watering bags, staking materials, and tree wrap or guards
  • Purchase of chemicals for injectable non-neonicotinoid insecticide treatment (such as emamectin benzoate) for ash trees
    • Treatment of ash trees with non-neonicotinoid insecticide (such as emamectin benzoate) is an eligible expense for this grant. However, your community must be within a 10-mile buffer of generally infested areas. Refer to map showing the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Generally Infested areas buffered by 10 miles.
  • Equipment purchases less than $5,000 that are used to complete the project
  • Equipment rental
  • Gravel bed construction
  • Purchase of trees for diversity

Match requirement

No matching funds are required.

How to apply

Review process

DNR's Urban & Community Forestry Team will review and evaluate grant applications, and prioritize proposals. A UCF Grants Steering Committee, made up of Department of Natural Resources Forestry staff, Department of Agriculture staff, and select stakeholders, will recommend projects and award amounts. The steering committee will evaluate all eligible and complete applications received by the deadline. DNR will review all committee recommendations and is responsible for final award decisions. Grantees will be notified by Monday, February 14, 2022. If selected, grantees may only incur eligible expenditures after the grant contract is fully executed.

Project timeline

  • Application Available: Monday, November 29, 2021
  • Application Deadline: Monday, January 24, 2022


The completion date shows June 30, 2025. Does that mean we can set a budget from 2022 until Fall of 2024? Example: Order trees in 2022, 2023 and 2024? Can the same be said for all other supplies, training, etc.? If the answer to both questions is “yes”, am I able to submit a reimbursement request for each year or does it need to be only in 2025?

Yes, budgets can be set from 2022 until your end date of June 30, 2025. Note that we are anticipating contracts to be in place by May of 2022, and grant work cannot begin before contracts are signed. Use May 2022 as your estimated start date, unless you wish to begin work later. All eligible grant activities can take place through this period, including the purchase of trees and supplies; how you structure your project timeline is up to you and your community. Depending on what you are referring to as ‘training,’ it may or may not be eligible for funding; feel free to ask more questions on that particular item if you have them.

Referring to the Request for Applications, the dates that you are able to request for reimbursement are as follows:


All funds will be awarded on a reimbursement basis. Following reimbursement request submissions (provided that work has been completed without issue), grants funds will be reimbursed up to 90%, with the final 10% retained until the project is completed. The Reimbursement Request Form and required reports must be received by:

  1. December 15, 2022
  2. June 15, 2023
  3. December 15, 2023
  4. June 15, 2024
  5. December 15, 2024
  6. June 30, 2025
My understanding is that only governmental entities (townships, cities, and counties) are qualified for the grant, but wanted to confirm.

Correct. Applications must come from local units of government. If neighborhood associations have public trees located within their boulevards, or city parks located within their properties, they are encouraged to contact their local unit of government to see if there is any interest in submitting an application.

We are seeking funding for equipment & insecticide for 3 years of public ash treatments from 2023-2025. We are wondering if the purchase of insecticide and arbor-plugs for the year 2025 can be a part of the request, even though we would likely not finish treatments until sometime in August? For 2025, 160 trees would be on the treatment list, but all supplies would be purchased well prior to this date. In addition, we are planning to include an in-kind match (basically in-house labor treating trees) so a small percentage of the grant’s total in-kind matching would actually occur after June 30th, 2025. Would this be an issue or just a technicality that can be addressed through an amendment to any grant award?

As stated in the Request for Applications, all project work must be completed and the final request for reimbursement (along with final reports) must be submitted by June 30, 2025. All project work includes both grand-funded dollars and match funding, and everything must be completed, invoiced, and paid for by that June 30 deadline. We strive to provide the maximum amount of time for grantees to do the work, but we also must work within the timeframe of our funding. Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, and our June 30, 2025 deadline is when our funding expires through that program. We encourage you to structure your application with June 30, 2025, as a hard end-date.

Would any work done by a contractor be considered technical assistance? The RFA states that cities “will not have to budget (pay) for technical assistance” if we want to receive operational assistance through Tree Trust in partnership with the conservation corps or education assistance from the University of Minnesota to train community members to become tree stewards. From my understanding, there are typically costs associated with receiving assistance through either of these organizations. Do recipients of the grant automatically get these costs waived due to a partnership with the DNR or would communities be reimbursed through the grant for any costs associated with assistance provided by either of these organizations?

While you could consider work done by a contractor to be assistance, per se, the separate ‘technical assistance’ component of this grant program is limited to Tree Trust and/or the University of Minnesota’s Tree Steward program. These organizations were included in our original application for funding for this overall program, and so we have budgeted separate amounts above and beyond what we will grant out to local units of government. These separate amounts of funding will allow Tree Trust and the Tree Steward program to do work with grantees who request their assistance, with funds going straight to Tree Trust and/or the University of Minnesota. As mentioned in the Request for Applications, if you are applying for assistance with tree planting, you will still need to budget for the purchase of trees. Costs for the assistance itself, however, will not need to be budgeted for by grantees.

Would receiving operational assistance through Tree Trust as described in the grant be different than hiring tree trust to provide services as contractor?

Yes, receiving assistance through Tree Trust is different than hiring Tree Trust to provide services as a contractor. The Landscape Services side of Tree Trust is their earned income division, which provides tree and lawn care services.

For this grant, are we required to include removals and replacements, or is it possible to use funds solely for new tree plantings for diversity?

It is possible to use funds solely for tree planting. If you refer to the first page of the application, you can select “Tree Planting for Diversity” as your sole proposed project component.

To my knowledge, there is a minimum number of residents that must be committed to receiving Tree Steward training before the University of Minnesota will agree to provide training to community members. I am assuming that this requirement is still true if we request to receive educational assistance through this program as part of the Protecting Community Forests Grant?

If you are selected to receive educational assistance, there will be no minimum number of residents required to participate. Ultimately, we want the U of M to use their funds wisely and if you only have one or two people signed up they would likely work with you to do some more recruitment, or combine regional trainings. If in the end you only get one or two individuals to participate, they will still provide the program to you.

Another component of the University of Minnesota’ Tree Steward Training program is that volunteers are required to complete at least 10 hours of volunteerism or attend three pruning events each year to keep their tree steward certification current. Do volunteer Tree Stewards also need to submit this information to the DNR as part of the grant?

You will not need to provide this information both to the U of M and to us. It will be reported to the U of M as is standard practice, and they will then be able to forward that information on to us.

Are Applicants able to request both operational volunteering planting assistance through Tree Trust and educational assistance through the University of Minnesota’s Tree Steward program?

Yes! Both operational and educational assistance can be requested.


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