ST. PAUL – In response to a recent news report that Wisconsin officials have discovered emerald ash borers in the southwestern corner of that state, State Representative Greg Davids (R-Preston) is authoring legislation that would help prevent the pests from spreading into Minnesota.
“It’s a matter of time before these beetles make their way into Houston County and the rest of the state,” Davids said. “Minnesota needs to act now before they inflict significant damage to our state’s tree population.”
The adult insects nibble on ash foliage and cause little damage, but their larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients. Since the 2002 discovery of the emerald ash borer in Michigan, tens of millions of trees have been killed across the United States.
Davids’ bill would appropriate $1.5 million allowing the Department of Natural Resources to work with the University of Minnesota and the Department of Agriculture to fight invasive tree pests that threaten the health of Minnesota communities and natural forests.
Rep. Davids is the Republican Lead of the Cultural Heritage Finance Division which oversees the programs receiving funding from our new 3/8 cent sales tax increase. He believes fighting the spread of the emerald ash borer more than qualifies for the funding.
“The key to stopping these pests will be early detection and eradication,” Davids said. “Minnesotans voted to increase the state sales tax last November in order to properly protect our forests for future generations, and this bill would accomplish that goal.”