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Township to treat stand of phragmites



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July 18, 2012 - Atlas Twp.-By a 5-0 vote on Monday night, the board of trustees OK'd Goodrich-based Aquatic Services to eradicate a growth of phragmites located just to the north of the township offices on Gale Road.

The cost of the removal will be $750 for an application of chemicals to kill the plants. An additional $375 was OK'd to cut the plants off in December.

"We've had a few calls regarding the plants," said Tere Onica, township clerk. "It's been a battle in some areas of the community, even a fire hazard due to the dryness of the plants."

In January, the township board voted to explore a special permit from the state to give landowners the ability to use herbicides to control the growth. The MDEQ permit costs $75 for individuals. A township-wide permit may make it more affordable and easier to obtain for landowners, said Shirley Kautman-Jones, township supervisor.

Phragmites australis is native to Michigan. An invasive, non-native variety is becoming widespread in the state and is threatening the ecological health of wetlands and the Great Lakes coastal shoreline, including low areas of the township.

According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), the invasive variety of phragmites creates tall, dense stands which degrade wetlands and coastal areas by crowding out native plants and animals, blocking shoreline views, reducing access for swimming, fishing, and hunting, and can create fire hazards from dry plant material.

For more information, visit www.mi.gov/deqinlandlakes.

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