Township, Outdoor Discovery Center team up to fight invasive species

Treatment planned for parks for the year.
Ben Heerspink, land stewardship manager for the Outdoor Discovery Center, sprays to control poison hemlock and other invasives at the Laketown Township Hall, 4338 Beeline Road, on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.

Laketown Township has again contracted with the Outdoor Discovery Center Network for management of invasive species throughout the year.

“Part of the work of the parks commission is to keep the parks free of invasive species for the benefit of all township residents,” said Brad Laninga, chairperson of the Laketown Township Parks and Recreation Commission.

“We are fortunate to have the services and expertise of the Outdoor Discovery Center. They have been doing a great job. We’ve made advancements in eradicating a variety of invasive species but there’s still much to be done,” he said.

The parks commission will discuss the invasive species work at its meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21, at the township hall, 4338 Beeline Road.

A priority

A parks commission survey of residents last year ranked control of invasive species as a top priority.

“A control plan for invasives is important in parks and township in general,” commented one respondent to the surveys sent out last summer.

“I see this as a big problem as our township matures. These species are everywhere, not just the parks,” another wrote.

The Outdoor Discovery Center and the township have partnered for many years to eradicate invasives.

The plan

Here’s what’s included in the 2024 invasive species management plan:

Laketown Township Office, 4338 Beeline Road: Poison hemlock, phragmites, Asian bittersweet, common teasel and purple loosestrife and autumn olive control.

Wolter’s Woods Park, 6281 147th Ave.: Asian bittersweet, honeysuckle, autumn olive and glossy buckthorn control.

Huyser Farm Park, 4188 64th St.: Japanese knotweed, Asian bittersweet and autumn olive control.

Laketown Beach, 6710 142nd Ave.: Asian bittersweet control.

Shore Acres/Felt Estate, 6597 138th Ave.: Japanese knotweed control.

Sanctuary Woods Park, 4750 66th St.: Asian bittersweet control.

Farview Park, 6257 138th Ave.: Asian bittersweet control.