It was probably not a case of "if" but when. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has confirmed the first sighting of the emerald ash borer in Steele County. Last week the MDA received notification from a tree care professional who had spotted several dying ash trees in the city of Medford. The MDA was able to find live Emerald Ash Borers and a sample was confirmed today by the USDA that it was EAB..

As a result, the Department of Agriculture will be enacting an emergency quarantine to limit the movement of firewood and ash material out of the county. Steel now joins a list of 20 Minnesota counties under a quarantine.

Steele County residents are invited to attend an open house to learn more about the EAB and its destructive effect on ash trees. The Open House is Tuesday, October 1 from 6-8pm in the Steele County Administration Building, Board Room in Owatonna.