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An update from the Environmental Protection committee

— The Onondaga County Legislature’s Environmental Protection committee has been hard at work as we begin the summer construction season. Last year, the legislature authorized $3 million in spending to implement green infrastructure projects on municipally-owned properties. In June, we authorized the spending on specific projects, several which are in our district. At our June committee meeting we received an update on the Emerald Ash Borer, an insect that is making its way toward our region. The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been steadily destroying ash trees, starting in the Midwest, for over a decade. Lastly, we received our monthly update on the projects taking place along Onondaga Lake.

The green infrastructure projects that have been approved in the fourth legislative district are at Geddes Town Hall, the Village of Solvay Youth Center, and at Salina Town Hall. Porous pavement will be installed in the town of Geddes parking lot, thereby reducing the amount of runoff that discharges into the West Side Trunk Sewer. More than 1.3 million gallons of rainwater will be captured annually. The village of Solvay is installing a bioretention system along the base of the hill behind the Solvay Youth Center. This system will prevent almost one million gallons of stormwater from infiltrating the system. Finally, Salina Town Hall will install two stormwater collection systems; collecting stormwater from the rooftop and improving groundwater infiltration. This project will result in over two million gallons of stormwater captured annually. I cannot stress enough: the more we capture, the less we treat, the more we save.

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an insect indigenous to Europe and Asia. Until 2002, EAB had never been found in North America. EAB appears to only affect ash trees; however, in Onondaga County, ash trees account for an estimated 13 percent of our tree population. Not unlike Dutch Elm Disease; the bug will establish itself, and in two to three years, the ash trees that are not treated or taken down will die from the infestation. An effort is being made by the county to harvest our ash trees before they become infested, as well as treating the trees that may be salvageable with a pesticide. Infested trees become a safety hazard, especially those near parking lots, trails, and utility lines.

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