Cattails and the Marsh

To the Editor:

I have been a resident of Sheboygan County in the town of Russell all my life. I have watched the draining of the Sheboygan Marsh about every 5 to 6 years. This is done to stop the cattails from coming down to the dam. This principle works for only 3 to 4 years and the cattails “let loose”. Every time this is done we experience even more cattails letting go at great expense to the county.

When we look back in time, history is a great teacher. If something doesn’t work it would be a good idea not to do it again.

When the Marsh is drained in summer, it’s like planting a whole new crop of cattails. Lower water levels encourage new cattail growth. I see the marsh every day and invite you to climb the tower or drive in my driveway on the north side of the marsh. Look at all the open water now, take a picture. If the marsh is drained, take a picture again next year in June or July, and you will barely see any water at all. The cattails will again be (in 4 or 5 years) Marsh at the dam.

An idea would be to leave the water table as high as possible through the summer to discourage cattail growth. Start dropping the water table in late February and March to stop high water tables from the spring thaw and rains. Maybe even dropping it a little in the fall. Then maintain high water levels in the summer months.

I’m sure cattails will still have to be taken out. I suspect over a few years, the cattails will decrease. If you were to average the amount of money over 5 years, I’m sure you will find that cost decreasing over time.

I will be the voice for all the life in the marsh. All things are connected. When you destroy one part you destroy other parts.

We have in our county some of the finest conservation clubs anywhere. Perhaps discussion for a fund raiser to help our county remove cattails would help.

Something to think about.

Thank you for the privilege to voice my opinion.

Gary Henschel

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