ESCANABA - Plans are moving along for getting rid of invasive weeds at the Escanaba Harbor, the Escanaba City Council was informed at its regular meeting Thursday. Council approved the purchase of a herbicide to combat nuisance plants there this spring.
During the past few years, invasive weeds - including the Eurasian water milfoil and the curly pondweed - have caused problems for boaters in the local harbor. For example, the weeds get caught in boat propellers.
In the past, harbor employees have cut and removed the plants with a harvester during the summer. This has not been the best solution to the weed problem because the most common invasive weed - the milfoil - repopulates by being cut. The herbicide is expected to help eradicate the weeds now and into the future.
According to Harbor Master Larry Gravatt, a permit to apply the herbicide is being approved by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Chemical treatment of the harbor is expected to take place early next month, he said.
Application of the herbicide and followup monitoring of the harbor will cost approximately $35,000 - the funding amount approved by council Thursday.
H2O in Motion, of Escanaba, conducted studies on the harbor last summer and will monitor the waters after treatment. The chemicals to be used will go after the weeds but won't affect the water, fish or other aquatic life, according to the studies.
The surveys collected data on the aquatic species in the harbor area and showed how the water flows to determine if there was any danger of chemicals leaving the harbor. The studies proved invasive weed species had taken over the 42-acre harbor including 26 acres considered as infested.
In other business Thursday, council:
- Approved a project to reroute and replace water main pipes at the water plant for $214,200. In the past eight years, two pipes located under the facility have burst because of the building's weight, explained new Water/Wastewater Superintendent Jeff Lampi.
- Was informed by City Manager Jim O'Toole that negotiations with Escanaba Green Energy to buy the power plant are "positive and moving forward."
- Approved the purchase of 150 new water meters that will be installed as needed. New lead regulations require the city use plastic meters when replacing or installing new equipment in the future. The meters and two handheld meter readers will cost $38,325.
- Awarded Stenberg Brothers of Bark River the bid to provide sanitation services for the city parks, recreation areas, and special events.
- Awarded Gram's Pasties of Escanaba the bid to provide concessions at Ludington Park and the beach.
- Agreed to pay $10,000 to Wolverine Fireworks of Kawkawlin, Mich., for Independence Day fireworks plus any additional fireworks to be paid for through donations.
- Approved $9,000 to purchase a wireless microphone system to improve the sound system in council chambers.
- Approved the donation of extrication equipment - no longer being used by the city - to the Ford River Township Volunteer Fire Department.
- Approved several community events to use Ludington Park, the band shell, and the North Shore Boat Launch during upcoming months.
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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, firstname.lastname@example.org