A giant reed grass, phragmites can grow as high as 15 feet and have underground stems as long as 60 feet. The plant overtakes and outcompetes other vegetation.
Newman said the helicopter will be flying low to the ground and getting phragmites stands that wouldn’t otherwise be easily accessible or able to eradicate right away.
“The helicopter will accomplish that in just a few hours,” Newman said, adding it would take a much longer period of time to tackle large stands on the ground.
A ground crew is scheduled to manually treat phragmites in smaller, less dense stands.
According to Newman, funding for the removal is coming from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation’s Greatest Needs Fund, which doled out $30,000. Wetland Watch has raised $7,000 to match the first year of treatment, helped by a donation from the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power.
The original treatment cost was reduced because of the donation of fees for aerial treatment by Kurt Homkes of Hamilton Helicopters, Newman said.
According to Newman, treated stands of phragmites can stay for up to three years after initial treatment.
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