Managing Emerald Ash Borer and Oak Wilt in Anoka County

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive insect that has killed millions of Ash trees throughout North America. Since 2009, EAB has been detected in 46 counties in Minnesota, including Anoka County. MN is home to over 1 billion Ash trees, all of which are vulnerable to EAB infection.

Trees affected by EAB dry out and rot quickly, creating public safety hazards. If allowed to decay, these conditions can cause trees to become dangerous to manage. Removing ash trees in high-traffic areas including along public trails and neighborhood streets is a top safety priority. Learn more about Emerald Ash Borer on the ACD Website.

Oak Wilt is a fungal disease that affects all species of oak trees. It is spread by sap beetles and through the tree's root systems. The disease affects Oak species differently; it can kill Red Oak trees in 2-3 months whereas White Oaks can live up to 20 years after becoming infested. It's important to know the signs of Oak Wilt to prevent further forest damage. Learn more about Oak Wilt on the ACD Website. 

 Help Stop the Spread!

Avoid cutting and pruning Ash trees from May 1 - September 31 as EAB insects are most active during this time. Do not transport firewood offsite from where it was collected. The Twin Cities metro and much of Eastern, MN is within an EAB quarantine zone and transporting firewood out of these areas risks spreading EAB.

Avoid cutting and pruning Oak trees from April 1 through July 31 as sap beetles are most active during this time. Treat spring and summer tree wounds with a water based paint or pruning wound sealer to avoid attracting sap beetles. Do not transport firewood off the site where it was collected. The Twin Cities metro and much of east central Minnesota is infested with Oak Wilt. Transporting firewood out of this area risks spreading this forest disease.

The unseasonably warm winter extends the 'don't prune' window and it probably starts in March for 2024. 

 ACD was a recipient of the MN Department of Natural Resources ReLeaf Community Forestry Grant to help efforts to manage Oak Wilt and EAB in Anoka County. A variety of tree species will replace those affected by Oak Wilt in the Anoka Nature Preserve (ANP), including treating Common buckthorn in 2024-25 to free up space for new trees to be planted in 2026. Ash trees at Kings Island in the City of Anoka will be removed in early 2024 and new trees will be planted in 2025. Planting at both of these sites will be completed with the help of volunteers. If you have interest in helping out as a volunteer, sign up here!

For more information contact Logan Olson, Restoration Technician, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Wildlife Management Areas: What, Where, Why

Wildlife management areas (WMAs) are part of Minnesota's outdoor recreation system and are established to protect those lands and waters that have a high potential for wildlife habitat and other compatible recreational uses. WMAs are key to:

  • protecting wildlife habitat for future generations,
  • providing citizens with opportunities for hunting, fishing and wildlife watching, and
  • promoting important wildlife-based tourism in the state.

How did WMAs get started?
Minnesota's WMA system started in 1951, when the State established its "Save the Wetlands" program to buy wetlands and other habitats from willing sellers to address the alarming loss of wildlife habitat in the state. Initiated by a handful of visionary wildlife managers, the WMA program evolved into the present-day system of WMAs.

How many WMAs are there and where are they located?
There are over 1.3 million acres of high quality habitat in about 1,500 WMAs located throughout the state, making it one of the best and largest WMA systems in the country.

How are WMAs managed?
WMAs are the backbone of DNR's wildlife management efforts in Minnesota. Much of the wildlife managers' work is directed toward protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat on WMA lands. For instance, prairie and grasslands are planted, wetlands are restored and enhanced. Prescribed burning is done to maintain grasslands, prairies, and brush lands. Forest openings and regeneration projects benefit create wildlife habitat. Different management practices are utilized for different ecotypes.

What can I do to help?
There are opportunities to volunteer at WMAs by picking up trash to assisting with seed collection and much more! For more information and locations of WMAs go to this link https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/wmas/index.html.

For more information contact Becky Wozny, Wetland Specialist, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

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April Showers Bring Vernal Pools

Vernal pools are shallow wooded wetlands that fill with water in the spring and fall, then dry out in the summer. They may simply look like a large muddy puddle, but in reality these small depressions are filled with life and benefit local water quality.

  • Water Resource Benefits

By capturing water from snowmelt and heavy rains, vernal pools reduce the amount of runoff – and the contaminants it carries – reaching nearby surface waters and developed lands. This lowers flooding risks, improves water quality, and contributes to groundwater recharge as the trapped water slowly infiltrates through the soil.

  • Aquatic Invertebrates and Amphibians

Vernal pools rarely contain fish because their water levels fluctuate dramatically. This provides a safe haven for many invertebrate and amphibian species that would otherwise be heavily predated upon. Many depend on vernal pools during their egg and larval stages, leaving for nearby aquatic and terrestrial habitats once fully developed. Others spend their entire life within or near the wetland's depression.

  • Birds, Reptiles, and Mammals

Due to their abundance of amphibians and invertebrates, vernal pools supplement the food and water needs of wildlife such as waterfowl, songbirds, turtles, snakes, bats, and even bears. These benefits stem beyond the vernal pool itself when many of the invertebrates transition from aquatic larvae to terrestrial adults, serving as forage for insectivore species.

Explore and Protect

Vernal pools are highly sensitive to changes in vegetation cover, climate, and local topography. Because they are nearly invisible for much of the summer, they can be easily missed and destroyed if the land is modified; even an unintentional pass through these depressions during an ATV ride can strongly impact their function. 

Seasonal wetlands like vernal pools are regulated under the Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act (WCA). You can prevent impacts to vernal pools on your property by marking their boundaries when visible in the spring and avoiding disturbance throughout the year. This is also a great time to explore the abundance of wildlife in and around these wetlands – an especially popular adventure for children.

Additional Resources

"Spring-to-Life Ponds": an Illustrated Learning Guide, produced by the MNDNR

MN Frog ID and Calls and Common Vernal Pool Invertebrates, produced by the MPCA and University of Wisconsin

Locating and Protecting Vernal Pools, produced by the MN Land Trust 

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HydroClim Minnesota

"HydroClim Minnesota" is a new electronic newsletter put out monthly by MNDNR Climatologist Pete Boulay. ACD has partnered with Pete for years to manage a network of precipitation volunteers throughout Anoka County.

"HydroClim Minnesota" summarizes weather conditions and other weather events occurring throughout the state and the resulting impact on water resources. By subscribing to the newsletter you can learn exciting facts such as, a storm event occurring on December 15, 2021 was not only the warmest day ever recorded in the month of December but it also involved Minnesota's first documented tornado for the month of December!

To learn more fun facts about weather in your state visit https://mndnr.gov/hydroclim. 

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