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Destructive beetle in county parks 

The emerald ash borer has been detected in Oatka Creek, Black Creek, and Genesee Valley parks. It's a serious situation, officials say, because 20 percent of the trees in Monroe County's parks are ash trees.

The invasive beetle is deadly to New York's native ashes.

The county wants to get ahead of the bugs and will develop a treatment plan for the ash trees in its 21 parks, says Mark Quinn, horticulturalist for the county Parks Department.

The effort will begin with an inventory of the trees in the parks' mowed and maintained areas, he says. Funding for the work will likely come from a $6,000 invasive species management grant.

During the inventory, county staff will record the GPS coordinates, size, and condition of the trees, Quinn says. Ultimately, the county wants to protect healthy, larger trees in key locations and remove trees that could become hazards, he says. The inventory data will help with those decisions.

There are injectable products that protect ashes from the borers, but the treatments come at a cost. Local governments have used the treatments, but they've generally reserved the investments for higher-value trees. For example, the City of Rochester used the treatments on some ashes along well-traveled neighborhood streets.

The county won't treat trees in fields and forested areas, where they would likely pose little danger if they died, Quinn says. Doing so would not be economical, he says. If those trees die, other species — red maple, for instance — will grow in their place and fill a similar ecological niche, he says.

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