This past spring, plans were made to improve the windbreak at the Harbor Island park with additional landscaping. The project began when the utility's Board of Directors approved the investment of approximately $35,000.
“As a good neighbor, it is our goal to be proactive within the community," BLP General Manager Annette Allen said. "We feel this project is a natural way of fortifying the windbreak while also providing beautiful landscaping enhancements to the community park.”
Approximately 135 trees have been added to the property, with a species mixture of deciduous and evergreens with a 60-foot height or more expected at maturity. The new trees will help filter out coal dust that blows from the power plant’s property on the north and west.
“Our plan is to achieve a 35-40 percent mix of evergreen and deciduous shade trees that promote a healthy plant environment with appropriate density,” said Jeff Chandler, director of production at the J.B. Sims Power Generating Station.
The tree mixture includes silver maple, sugar maple, red maple, northern red oak, white oak and Japanese zelkova.
While these trees will take a few years to reach full maturity and maximum effectiveness in improving the windbreak, BLP officials note that this is the most natural way to develop a windbreak while also providing long-term benefits for the community.
The utility will be adding an irrigation system to the area to water the new plants. This will allow them to get large enough to sustain the weather on their own without artificial irrigation.
To design the landscaping project, the BLP worked closely with designer Matt Ertzinger of Landscape Design Services. He helped the utility select the appropriate tree diversity for the park.
“We have selected this variety of tree mixture to help prevent the windbreak from being damaged or destroyed by an infestation or by our local deer population,” Chandler said.
The City of Grand Haven is also looking to diversify its tree population in order to minimize possible impacts from disease or infestation.