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Emerald Ash Borer is in Onondaga County

— Attention home owners! If you have ash trees in your yard this is an important announcement. For the past several years, the Environmental Protection Committee has been monitoring the migration of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The Emerald Ash Borer is a small invasive green beetle that feeds on and destroys ash trees. They have decimated almost the entire species of ash trees in the Midwest. EAB are native to Asia, but they have been in the United States since the mid-1990s. The earliest discovery in New York was in 2009, in Cattaraugus County. Local, state and federal efforts to detect the Emerald Ash Borer early on in its arrival to Onondaga County have been successful with the discovery of a beetle in the town of DeWitt.

Ash trees comprise approximately 13 percent of all trees in Onondaga County. The experiences from the Midwest have taught us that we must treat the infected ash trees with insecticide; otherwise they will die. Dead ash trees will need to be removed to eliminate the risk of the trees falling and causing property damage or personal injury. The county legislature authorized $96,000 to establish a database to track where the ash trees are located on county property. Onondaga County’s Soil and Water Conservation District is performing this task. To date, they have inspected about half of the affected areas and have cataloged more than 25,000 ash trees on county land. Over 4,400 are located in Onondaga Lake Park alone. Efforts will be made to inoculate the trees that have large canopies, but unfortunately, many of these trees will have to be removed for safety reasons. Onondaga Lake Park will serve as a model for how we remedy this issue county-wide.

Cornell Cooperative Extension, the State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been working with the county to tag the ash trees and set up more than 140 traps. However, with the discovery of Emerald Ash Borer in Onondaga County, our efforts have to shift from planning to implementation.

If you have ash trees on your property, I recommend you contact Jessi Lyons of Cornell Cooperative Extension at 422-9485 ext. 233 for more information.

Kathy Rapp represents the fifth district which includes portions of the towns of Cicero, DeWitt and Salina. Kathy welcomes constituent feedback; she can be reached by email at rappkathleen5@gmail.com or by phone at 451-5294.

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