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You’ll be glad you did! * MILL POND REALTY * SHORELINE REALTORS * COLDWELL BANKER WOODLAND SCHMIDT * GREENRIDGE REALTY * SHORE SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY * FIVE STAR REALTY-LAKESHORE Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid Saugatuck MI Permit No. 30 CURRENT RESIDENT THE LOCAL OBSERVER WE BRING YOU THE NEWS SERVING July 29, 2016 Vol. 14 FREE SAUGATUCK * DOUGLAS * SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP * LAKETOWN TOWNSHIP * FENNVILLE * GLENN * GANGES TOWNSHIP * HAMILTON * HOLLAND * SOUTH HAVEN No. 30 Conservationists Find Nine Different Invasive Species At Mt. Baldhead Efrain Sandoval Correspondent Nine different invasive species have been identified at Saugatuck’s famous Mt. Baldhead Park, the natural attraction which fea-tures a 282-step staircase and hiking trails, conservation organizations informed Saugatuck City Council during Monday’s meeting. However, the good news is the community could rally together to very easily eradicate—without the use of any chemicals—at least one of those plants: garlic mustard, Ottawa Conservation District Administrator Carla Kocher announced. Saugatuck is in its second year of a federal grant program tack-ling invasive plants at its shoreline parks. The focus of Sustain Our Great Lakes project (a subset of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative) is sur-veying and prevention. This year the program, which various area organizations coordinate to implement, will focus on two species: garlic mustard in a 51-acre area at Mt. Baldhead and Japanese Knotweed in what amounts to less than a tennis-court area along Perryman Street, the road leading to Saugatuck’s Oval Beach. While the program entails no cost to the city, it does require local government approval for treat-ment, including the application of chemicals to eradicate plants deemed detrimental towards native plants. The formal permit is expected to go before council at its next meeting in two weeks. The city is moving with caution, as the application of the her-bicide Habitat in the years 2010 and 2011 to eradicate Oriental Bittersweet went terribly wrong. The unintended consequence was damage to about 150 trees, killing them or they were unable to recover. The Land Conservancy of West Michigan over-saw that project and the herbicide Habitat had been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Garlic Mustard is not a plant we were looking for,” Kocher told council of the surprise finding from a recent survey. “It has the ability to change the chem-istry of the soil where it lives and it suppresses the growth of native plants.” She went on to note that community volunteers could effectively help in its elimina-tion. “It can be pulled off the ground and properly bagged.” “Saugatuck has very active community. It’s a great way to bring the community togeth-er,” she added. On the other hand, Japanese Knotweed, with origins in volcanic ecosystems, is a robust plant and entails strong herbicides to get rid of. “It has the capacity to break through lava (the solid form of it); unfortunately it has the same capacity to break through asphalt,” explained Drew Rayner, coordinator of the West Michigan Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area. “We know of other places—including private property and public right-of-way—in Saugatuck where Japanese Knotweed is,” said Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier. Rayner said there was other grants available to address the prob-lems in other areas of the city. The Sustain Our Great Lakes program provides funds to address Early Detection Response species (EDR), those plants that can be controlled and eliminated before they become a larger problem for a community, completely taking over a native ecosystem. The program covers many shoreline parks and communities and extends from the south border of the state all the way to Mackinac Bridge, said Rayner. Vote “NO” On Township/County Recycling Boondoggle Anyone in Saugatuck Township wanting to waste $36 a year for five years on a county-cre-ated boondoggle to get you to pay for an unneeded, duplicative recy-cling program -that in reality is only a money-maker for the county, feel free to vote for it during next Tuesday’s election. We’re hoping Saugatuck Township residents are smarter than that! Here’s the reasons to vote it down: * Most, if not all town-ship residents with trash service already have access to recycling through their own waste service. * The township also has -for an extra $25 per year payment -a curbside recycling program of its own for those that need it. * Of the $36 per year for the next five years the township/county recycling pro-gram is asking you to vote for on Tuesday (Aug. 2), the county would get its cut for “administrative serv-ices” and, get this, the township was told by County Recycling Coordinator Ben Williams the township could keep and use any extra funds generated over the amount needed to pay the county and the township’s actual recycling program costs, for anything it wanted to. That’s your dollars being given to the township for nothing! City of Saugatuck offi-cials recognized an unjustifiable boondoggle to sucker their citizens when it was presented to them and refused to put it on their ballot. Good for them. That’s responsible government. Vote NO for the town-ship/county recycling plan on Tuesday. Don’t be fooled!