The City of St. Paul is addressing the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Epidemic. There were about 27,000 ash trees on public boulevards that are dead/dying due to the EAB infestation when EAB management began in 2009. Today there are about 11,000 remaining. The Emerad Ash Borer Project (the "EAB Project") will not only remove the remaining dying trees, but also replace the ash trees on City boulevards, public right of way, and other City land.
It is important to remove dying and dead ash trees because they become brittle and unpredictable, posing a signficant hazard and liability from falling limbs and branches to both people and property.
Urban forests play an important role in helping communities adapt to and mitigage climate change because they reduce the urban heat island effect, control stormwater, and store carbon. Lower income neighborhoods and communities of color are currently experiencing the lowest level of tree canopy. Expedited reforestation of trees lost to EAB will immediately help address this inequity. The EAB project presents an opportunity for land managers to foster reslient landscapes, and ensure that the benefits that forsts provide are sustained into the future.
Why the concern over emerald ash borer (EAB)?
EAB kills all ash trees, Fraxinus spp., native to North America that are not treated with an insecticide.
Saint Paul’s urban forest is made up of approximately 20% of ash trees, with approximately 17,000 still on street boulevards and thousands more in residents’ private yards.
EAB has now been found in every Saint Paul neighborhood, infesting both public and private trees. It is expected that all these trees, if untreated, will die within the next few years if not already.
Minnesota has the largest population of ash trees of any state in the nation at over 998 million. As of February 2021, EAB has spread to 26 counties within the state.
According to the National Tree Benefit Calculator, a 15” diameter green ash tree provides about $147 in a multitude of benefits every year. Thus, the widespread loss of ash trees will be devastating environmentally, economically and socially to communities, cities and our entire state.
What is the City of Saint Paul doing in response to the emeral ash borer?