Marietta City Council's lands, buildings and parks committee took a close look at conditions along some of the city's river banks Tuesday afternoon.
"We're seeing different treatments along different areas of our river bank property," said Councilman Harley Noland, D-at large, committee chair.
He noted vegetation along some sections of river bank has been cut or mowed, while other areas have been sprayed with herbicide that has completely killed off the vegetation.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Members of Marietta City Council’s lands, buildings and parks committee toured some of the city’s river banks Tuesday. Someone used a herbicide earlier this year that killed off all vegetation from the section of Ohio River bank shown above. Any clearing of vegetation or trees from city-owned river banks requires permission from the city administration.
Looking over a swath of dead vegetation on the Ohio River bank along the River Trail between the Williamstown Bridge and Fourth Street, committee members were concerned that the embankment could erode away and eventually undermine the trail.
"We need to make people aware that not just anyone can spray herbicide on the city's river banks," said Kathy Davis with the Washington Soil Conservation District who also serves on the city's River Bank Task Force.
She said city policy prohibits anyone except qualified city employees from using herbicides, insecticides or other chemicals on the river banks.
If you go
- Marietta City Council's streets and transportation committee will meet at 4 p.m. today in the second floor conference room at 304 Putnam St., and again at 7 p.m. at Gilman United Methodist Church, 312 Gilman Ave., to discuss possible closure of Lord Street at the Harmar Street railroad crossing.
- All council committee meetings, except executive sessions, are open to the public.
Noland said any work on the city's river banks by volunteers or private citizens requires permission from the city administration.
He said the condominium association along Ohio Street had apparently inadvertently been given permission by the city administration to apply the herbicide treatment that killed the vegetation along the Ohio River bank.
Noland said trees also once grew along the now barren area of river bank, but they, too, have been cut over the years.
The plant life, including trees, will eventually grow back in that area.
"The condominium association said their ultimate goal is to plant something green there, and they weren't intending to keep it sprayed with herbicide forever," Noland said.
"But they need to contact the city first," Davis added. "We don't want multiflora roses or other types of weeds growing there."
Noland also showed the committee members an area of river bank along the Muskingum River near the former location of the Becky Thatcher showboat behind Marietta's armory.
He suggested clearing weeds and poison ivy off of the property and installing picnic tables where people could have lunch while enjoying a view of the river just north of the Harmar Railroad Bridge.
"We would clear away the brush, but save some of the trees to provide an area of shade," Noland said, adding that he would like to see the picnic area developed sometime this fall.
Nearby, in East Muskingum Park, there were benches facing the river along the River Trail, but brush on the river bank prevented people from seeing the river.
Councilman Roger Kalter, D-at large, said some of that brush should be removed so visitors to the park would have an unobstructed view of the river.
"The idea there would be to create some 'window' areas to see the river from these benches located along the trail," he said.