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Esky wins weed battle

September 21, 2012
By Jenny Lancour - Staff Writer , Daily Press

ESCANABA - A plan to use chemical herbicides to rid invasive weeds at the Escanaba Municipal Marina has been a success so far, according to the harbor masters' report to the Escanaba City Council Thursday.

Beginning this spring, herbicides were applied at the marina to stop the growth of invasive weeds which have been a problem for boaters for years. Follow-up spot applications were conducted later as part of the Lake Management Plan.

On Thursday, council approved funding $7,500 for plant surveys this fall and next spring, a summary of the herbicide results, and an $800 state permit to treat the harbor in 2013.

Harbor Master Larry Gravatt told council the project to date has been a success especially in getting rid of the most common invasive weed identified as the Eurasian water milfoil.

The milfoil and the curly pondweed have been invading the harbor, causing problems for boaters such as clogging up boat propellers. In the past, a weed harvester was used to remove the weeds from the harbor. The harvester was used this summer to remove the treated weeds.

Plants native to the harbor appeared to have been unharmed by this year's herbicide applications, said Gravatt, adding this was a concern. The chemicals were used to go after the weeds. They were not expected to affect the water or fish or other aquatic life, according to a preliminary study conducted prior to the harbor being treated.

Gravatt said the herbicide program was a great project for the marina and was done in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). He expects the state regulatory agency will be impressed with the results and may use the local project as an example of what can be accomplished with herbicides.

H2O in Motion, Inc., of Escanaba, conducted studies on the harbor during the 2011 summer and reported invasive weed species had taken over the 42-acre harbor including 26 acres which were considered as infested.

H2O will conduct plant surveys this fall and in the spring and then compile a summary of the 2012 herbicide applications. The cost for herbicide treatment in 2013 will be determined after the 2012 report is completed for the DEQ, explained Gravatt.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,



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