Weed harvesting can be conducted in the Huron River at any time during the year except during the months of May and June. These two months are when the State of Michigan does not permit weed harvesting in an attempt to promote and foster fish spawning in the water bodies of the state. Two major types of vegetation grown in the Huron River in the area where flooding has historically been most prominent (west of the Hamburg Road bridge for a distance of approximately 2,000 to 3,000 feet).
In the months of March to June, curly leaf pondweed, considered as an invasive plant species in Michigan, grows rapidly from small plants on the river bed floor to a height of 4 to 5 feet by mid- to late-May, in a thick mat of vegetation that at times has covered 75% to 80% of the width of the river channel. Subsequent to the May-June, 2004 last historic flooding event, in May, 2005, the Township hired a contractor to harvest the weeds in this area in an attempt to help clear the channel and prevent a repeat of the 2004 May-June flooding event.
By the period of mid-to-end June, the curly leaf pondweed vegetation is beginning to die down and is then primarily replaced by another type of vegetation, the Vallisneria Americana plant, or eel grass.
In mid-to-late June, the year's new growth of the Vallisneria Americana vegetation is beginning to replace the curly leaf pondweed vegetation. This vegetation grows into a mat as well, and will again fill in a high percentage of the river channel from bank to bank in the area to the west of the Hamburg Road Bridge approximately 2,000 to 3,000 feet and to the east of Hamburg Road Bridge 1,000 to 2, 000 feet.
The months of July, August and September have not been months when flooding events have occurred in the area. However, in the event of back to back rains over several days, which can occur in Hamburg Township, Michigan Hamburg Flood Response Action Plan – Revision Date: 12/26/2013 | Adopted 01/07/2014 Page 27 early-to-mid September as the hurricane season in the south of America begins, the presence of weeds in the channel has the potential for creating flooding in these areas of the Huron River, Little Ore Lake and Ore Lake. During the months of July, August, September, October and November, if necessary, the MDNR would allow the Township to have a contractor harvest weeds in the river channel, as it is not fish spawning season.
Permits from MDNR
MDNR Permit for Weed Harvesting:
In the past, the Township has received permits from MDNR for weed harvesting during any month of the year except for the months of May and June. The contractor retained by Hamburg Township for the past several harvesting seasons has been Professional Lake Management Corporation located in Caledonia, Michigan. The retainer arrangement allows for just a few days' notice to the contractor to come to Hamburg Township to conduct weed harvesting activities. The harvested materials are delivered to a composting area at one of the Township properties for composting and later use on Township grounds and parks.
Floodplains comprise a large portion of the immediate banks of the Huron River, with some floodway areas near the north bend of the River near the Buck Lake Subdivision. Additional floodway areas are located just south of the Whitewood Lake area. South Ore Creek, Hall Creek, Oneida Lake, Bass Lake, Zukey Lake and Hay Creek are some of the water bodies connected to and affected by the River's flows.