“We are in the planning stages for what we are going to be doing this year,” said Leslie Newman, president of Wetland Watch, a local environmental advocacy group. “For Harbor Island, we have one more year with our grant.”
Wetland Watch has been doing battle with the invasive plant for the past several years, most notably on Harbor Island. A state grant has allowed for treatment and removal of large stands on the island.
Although there has been a lot of attention given to the island, there is still more to be done, Newman noted.
“There is also some phragmites on the (island's) east side that is on a commercial side,” she said.
Helping Wetland Watch with the phragmites problem is a regional consortium that wants to eradicate the weed.
“The collaboration of the Ottawa County Invasive Phragmites Control Group is proving to be very effective,” Newman said. “All of that started when we got the grant for Harbor Island.”
The county group is taking aim at areas along the Grand River as well. They work with the Ottawa County Parks Department, county conservation district and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Melanie Manion, Ottawa County's natural resources management supervisor, said the county is working with these groups to obtain grant funding to treat public lands along the river as well as assist private property owners.
“Our target would be the islands on the lower Grand River, Lloyd’s Bayou and (state) lands,” Newman said. “We will have money to do aerial spraying.”
By treating these areas, control of the plant could become easier. Newman said once the large stands are destroyed, any new ones that emerge are smaller and easier to take down.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.