A community-based, volunteer tree-planting event was held on May 5th at Onondaga Lake Park in Liverpool, NY. This event was part of Onondaga County’s Ash Tree Management Strategy. Onondaga County and the Office of the Environment have contracted the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District (OCSWCD) to implement the County’s comprehensive Ash Tree Management Strategy which can be viewed here.
The County is planning to remove 95% of the ash trees on County property (there are over 46,000 ash trees in the inventory.) Part of the plan is to replace some of the canopy lost to EAB; the County’s goal is 10% replacement. The tree-planting event on May 5th was part of the effort to reach this goal. The Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District partnered successfully with the Onondaga County Office of the Environment to apply for a NYS DEC Urban Forestry Grant. This planting project was funded by this NYS DEC grant and by Onondaga County.
The Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District partnered with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County and Onondaga Lake Park to organize the event. Over 70 community volunteers, over 30 of which were FFA (Future Farmers of America) students, participated in the event, including 12 crew leaders, some of which were from National Grid. Including staff from OCSWCD, CCE Onondaga, and Onondaga Lake Park, over 100 people participated. 127 bare-root trees were planted in the park at 7 different sites stretching along the northeastern shore of the lake. Twelve different native, non-EAB-host species were planted including maples, oaks, tulip tree, basswood, river birch, London plane, and more. Onondaga Lake Park is the County’s most heavily used park and the trees were planted on the site of extensive ash tree losses where people gather the most. —Eva Sztechmiler, Watershed Agriculture Resource Conservation Specialist, OCSWCD