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      Help Protect Minnesota’s Environment! An Inside Look at Terrestrial Invasive Species

      Posted on July 25, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      EAB trap.jpg

      Officials from the US Department of Agriculture set a trap for Emerald Ash Borer

      With camping season in full swing, Minnesotans have an important role to play in keeping our campsites pest-free by learning the facts about terrestrial invasive species. Help the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by stopping invasive species from following in your tracks.

      Invasive species are plants, animals and micro-organisms that are not native to a particular area. These species can cause large amounts of damage in areas outside their natural habitat. Not only can invasive species harm Minnesota’s environment, but they can also have negative effects on our economy and even on human health once they take root.

      Different species can spread in different ways; some can simply be blown by the wind while others are transported by humans, animals, soil, or water. In their natural habitat, these species do not usually cause problems because they live in balance with the other plants and animals. However, when aggressive species spread long-distances – a process usually assisted by humans– these species are rarely good neighbors to the existing group of plants and animals. Usually there are not natural enemies or other defenses to protect the existing group from the new, invasive species.

      EAB firewood.jpgMinnesota’s environment has experienced firsthand the difficulty of coping with invasive species in recent years. For example, the invasive forest pest known as the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was found in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul in 2009. Just one year later, it was found in the Prospect Park East River Road neighborhood of Minneapolis and at the Upper Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Area of Houston County. Last year, EAB was found in the cities of Shoreview and La Crescent, and in multiple Winona County locations. A firewood quarantine has been implemented on several counties in Minnesota. (see a map of counties with a quarantine here)

      You can also read the Governor’s blog post on the importance of fighting EAB here.

      To diminish the destructive role that EAB and other terrestrial invasive species can have on Minnesota’s environment, DNR suggests taking a few simple steps before, during, and after visiting recreational campsites.

      DNR advises that before you leave home, make sure:

      1.    Your belongings are free of mud and plant debris;

      2.    To pack cleaning tools and supplies for your trip;

      3.    To double check for sources of local or certified firewood and certified weed-free hay;

      4.    To identify cleaning stations near your destination.

      Then, once you arrive at your destination, be sure to acquire and use local or certified firewood and weed-free hay.

      Finally, before you leave the trail or site you should inspect your pets, belongings, boots, and equipment; remove any mud or plant debris; dispose of plant debris and weed seeds in the trash; and leave unused firewood onsite.

      Stay tuned for part two of this blog to learn about the dangers of aquatic invasive species. For more helpful tips on how you can help stop the spread of invasive species, please visit: http://www.playcleango.org/

      Finally, check out this video for more information on how to prevent the spread of terrestrial invasive species like EAB: