News release: $2.4 million awarded to protect community forests across Minnesota

July 14, 2023

Thirty-five Minnesota communities received a collective $2.4 million boost in their ability to protect urban forests thanks to funding provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. The grant program began in 2022 and runs through June of 2025.

Communities will use the funding from the Protect Community Forests by Managing Ash for EAB Grants Program for tree inventories, management plans, ash tree removal, treatment with non-neonicotinoid insecticides, tree planting, and materials to support newly planted trees, such as staking, water bags, and mulch.

“Minnesota’s cities and towns contain a significant number of ash trees, which are now at risk of attack by the emerald ash borer, a non-native insect,” said Emma Schultz, Minnesota DNR Community Forestry grant specialist. “This destructive beetle can kill ash trees in just a few years, and all ash trees in the state are at risk of infestation.”

Identifying infected or at-risk trees and addressing EAB-related challenges is an obstacle for many communities. The grants will help recipient communities take preemptive measures that are more cost effective than waiting for ash trees to become infested.

For example, the city of Aitkin will use its grant award to better manage the community trees that improve the quality of life of residents and contribute to the natural setting that draws visitors to the area, both of which are important for the local economy.

“The city of Aitkin is now starting to understand its community forest and the resources necessary to properly manage them,” said Troy Holcomb, Minnesota DNR forester. “Tax bases are smaller in greater Minnesota and city staff and budgets need to focus on meeting basic community needs like sewer service and usable streets. This grant money allows the city to perform a tree inventory and create a management plan. The city can now work smarter and target limited resources to where they are most needed. Being proactive is easier and more affordable than being reactive.”

In Rochester, where EAB was first discovered in 2015, ash comprised 15% of the estimated 100,000 public trees.

“EAB has drastically changed the way our urban forest looks,” said Alison Litchy, Urban Forestry program coordinator in Rochester. “Fortunately, we are able to treat and maintain treatments for approximately 4,000 public ash trees through the help of this grant. Preserving these trees through treatment allows us to retain the canopy of 8% of our public tree population. The retained trees provide a variety of benefits to our community such as reducing temperatures, capturing air pollutants, and slowing down stormwater during this great time of loss. We use non-neonicotinoid insecticides and knowledgeable certified arborists to treat trees to protect pollinators and other non-target organisms.”

To date, EAB has been confirmed in 41 of Minnesota’s 87 counties. For a list of these counties, visit the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s interactive map.

The next round of grant funding is anticipated to open by August 2023, with more than $16 million available. Interested applicants should visit the Minnesota DNR’s Community Forestry webpage or contact the Minnesota DNR Community Forestry Grants Team at [email protected].

Protect Community Forests by Managing Ash for EAB Grants

  • Aitkin: $57,860
  • Apple Valley: $136,400
  • Bemidji: $11,824
  • Brooklyn Center: $60,450
  • Buffalo: $64,160
  • Columbia Heights: $63,450
  • Duluth: $99,081
  • Eden Prairie: $116,987
  • Hayfield: $40,000
  • Heron Lake: $36,981
  • Hopkins: $123,200
  • International Falls: $62,000
  • Lakeville: $54,830
  • Lamberton: $40,000
  • Mankato: $56,324
  • Moorhead: $110,000
  • Mound: $70,775
  • New Prague: $60,800
  • Newport: $67,117
  • Oronoco: $9,456
  • Otsego: $25,000
  • Ranier: $25,000
  • Robbinsdale: $32,500
  • Rochester: $149,546
  • Saint Anthony Village: $20,000
  • Saint Louis Park: $25,321
  • Saint Peter: $128,480
  • South St. Paul: $123,000
  • Warren: $19,000
  • Waseca: $78,079
  • West Concord: $60,023
  • White Bear Township: $57,981
  • Winona: $124,775
  • Woodbury: $149,600
  • Wyoming: $40,000

Contact the local community forestry program or the Minnesota DNR Community Forestry Grants Team at [email protected] for more details on individual grant recipients.

Back to top