2017-04-19 / News

Commerce Township to combat invasive species through county partnership program

BY ALI ARMSTRONG
EDITOR

Officials in Commerce Township have had enough of an invasive weed that is choking area wetlands, sucking water away from native plants and robbing species of their natural habitat. The township will participate in a countywide cooperative invasive species management program to primarily combat phragmites, invasive, feather-topped reeds.

During their meeting last week, trustees unanimously approved a proposal to join the Oakland County Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (OC CISMA.) As a member, Commerce Township will control and prevent the spread of invasive species, as well as provide educational and outreach programs regarding invasive species and management methods. Additionally, they will apply for grant funding to support their efforts.

The Oakland County CISMA is a partnership of entities within Oakland County which are collaborating to control invasive species. According to the agreement, “Members agree that it is their mutual benefit and interest to work cooperatively to inventory, monitor, control and prevent the spread of invasive species across jurisdictional boundaries within the OC CISMA.”

The program’s steering committee will work to identify opportunities for grant funding and other funding sources to carry out the program’s purpose.

“Our primary concern is dangerous phragmites,” Commerce Township Supervisor David Scott said. “Last year, Commerce Township spent $11,000 in an attempt to treat the phragmites in Robert H. Long Park at 14 and Haggerty. Most of the communities, unlike Commerce, participated in this Oakland County cooperative and were able to get grants and funding at a much-reduced rate.”

Phragmites are found in marshes and wetlands, robbing the fish, plants and wildlife of nutrients and space, and blocking access to the water for swimming, fishing and other recreation. It can grow to be over 15 feet tall and crowds out other plants. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality recommends controlling invasive phragmites by using an integrated pest management approach, which includes an initial herbicide treatment followed by mechanical removal and annual maintenance.

In other business, the board:

• Approved amendments to the Library Patron Behavior Policy

• Approved a proposal by Utility Financial Solutions to provide an analysis of converting to meter-based charges compared to REUs. Commerce Township currently charges a component of wastewater on a quarterly charge based on REU as well as a commodity charge. The township is interested in considering moving to a meter based quarterly charge based on meter size, as well as keeping the commodity rate as part of the rate structure.

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