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Grant will pay for Monroe County to plant thousands of trees in its parks

A sign reading "County of Monroe, Genesee Valley Park, A Frederick Law Olmsted Park" against a background of trees and fallen leaves
Jeremy Moule
Genesee Valley Park was one of the first parks where the emerald ash borer was detected.

The emerald ash borer was first found in Monroe County just over a decade ago, and by 2014, the invasive beetle turned up in several county parks, including Oatka Creek, Black Creek, and Genesee Valley.

At the time, a fifth of the trees in county parks were ashes. Since then, plenty have been lost to the insect.

But during a recent speech, County Executive Adam Bello said the county is working to counter that loss by launching an effort to plant roughly 8,600 trees in its parks over the next three years.

"Ash trees make up the majority of trees in some of the county parks," Bello said. "As stewards of the park, we need to ensure we replace damaged trees with a more robust variety of healthy trees."

In a typical year, the county Parks Department plants around 300 trees.

The county will pay for the effort using funds from a $200,000 grant that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service awarded to the Monroe County Soil & Water District.

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One round of planting already occurred this year and another will take place in the fall, Bello said.

Jeremy Moule is a deputy editor with WXXI News. He also covers Monroe County.