Hartland Township officials are exploring ways to combat an invasive plant species that’s taking over wetland areas.

A non-native version of phragmites has been migrating into and across Michigan in several regions, including Hartland Township. The Board of Trustees discussed options with Department of Public Works Director Bob West on what to do about the weed at Tuesday night’s meeting. The phragmites reed can grow roughly 7 feet per year, and densely enough to choke out native wildlife species in wetlands and across shores.

Hartland Township Supervisor Bill Fountain said based on their geographic location, they feel a need to do something about it. Hartland Township is at the headwaters of both the Shiawassee River and Huron River.

Director West presented 3 options for the board to explore on a pilot section of township property infested with the weed north of Spranger Field. Option 1 was to not perform treatment, in which the only benefit was the cost savings. A 2nd option is to cut the weeds down. That option is cost effective and will improve the aesthetics, but will never eliminate the weed, and could cause it to grow back denser. Another option is to cut the weed and then apply a chemical targeted at it. Like just cutting, it requires a multi-year commitment, but is the most expensive option and will require a budget increase. Many members of the board were interested in an additional option, West provided, which was a prescribed burn. West said he was hesitant to recommend this because native species could be lost in the area. While a burnt area is not aesthetically pleasing to look at, the area could be flooded with native seeds meant to grow and deny the phragmites needed light.(Photo- Google)(MK)