The invasive phragmites, a grass that grows in wetlands upstream along the Grand River, are being killed off. As the plants die, they often end up in the river and eventually wash up on the beach.
Although this phenomenon has occurred the past few summers, this year has been much worse, especially in the past few weeks, according to Grand Haven State Park’s lead ranger, Erik Bailey.
Bailey said state park employees spend at least three hours each morning cleaning up the invasive weeds until the park fills with beachgoers. He said a construction crew will be coming out soon to remove the large piles of phragmites stacked on the sand.
State park officials have done research to figure out why this year has been so bad compared to others, but they have yet to reach a definite conclusion.
“The species is being killed off, (so) it has to go somewhere,” Bailey said. “(We) can’t stop it, and have to wait for it to wash up.”
He advised park visitors to stay off the mounds of weeds since they could have trash entangled in the grass.