Fire for restoration Ottawa County Parks has four prescribed fires, also known as controlled burns, planned for 2021. In general, the goal of these fires is to use a natural and once common occurrence to turn back the clock on a mature forest. This creates once abundant early forest habitat that has become uncommon. Using fire can also help to combat invasive plants while stimulating the seedbank.
Riverside Park BioBlitz – Grand River Greenway On June 12, Ottawa County Parks will be hosting its first-ever BioBlitz at Riverside Park (from pre-dawn to dusk). This event will bring local scientists and conservation organizations together to work with community members to build an awareness of the biodiversity along the Grand River while collecting monitoring data.
Project Update – January 14, 2021 Shoreline improvement In November 2020, we began the ambitious task of planting 2,000 southern-species trees along the Grand River shoreline at Eastmanville Farm to improve stabilization and prevent erosion. Volunteers from Herman Miller and Grand Valley State University planted 900 trees, and our Park Stewards planted the remaining 1,100 trees.
Over the summer, a Holland Youth Connections crew worked at Paw Paw Park performing much needed trail maintenance, as well as invasive plant and litter removal. Later in the summer, staff discovered a patch of buckthorn that returned after treatment and had gone to fruit. The crew was able to remove the woody invasives before they propagated. We were thrilled to be able to support this program for a sixth year.
Paw Paw Park is transforming from a highly manicured golf course to a more natural area. We continue to manage the ups and downs of changing from turf grass to diverse ecosystems. In areas where invasive species currently dominate native plants, we will be ”starting over” with the goal of establishing native grasses that can be managed long-term.