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Prepping for the emerald ash borer war

The Wadena City Council gave Planning and Zoning Director Byron Larson permission to apply for a grant to prepare for an invasion of the emerald ash borer.

Larson anticipates the application to be for about $10,000.

Cities can apply for up to $100,000 from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Forest Protection Reserve -- Planning & Preparedness grant.

The grant requires a 15 percent match from the city, which can be in-kind, Larson said. The grant would be used for educating the public and contractors who work with trees, equipment and a tree inventory. It should take approximately 300 hours to inventory the trees in Wadena, he said. Larson estimates there are 4,000 to 5,000 ash trees in the city.

Cities closest to areas already impacted with emerald ash borer get more points toward the grant, he said. However, Wadena is located on U.S. Highways 71 and 10 and is vulnerable to being infested by travelers.

It is a one-time grant, Larson emphasized.

Councilman Toby Pierce said preparing for the emerald ash borer is crucial and moved to approve the application.