Iron County to try new milfoil technique


Staff Writer

CRYSTAL FALLS – Iron County will be utilizing a new method of managing the Eurasian milfoil problem at Chicagon Lake this summer.

During their monthly meeting on Thursday, members of the Iron County Board of Commissioners voted to hire Many Waters, LLC of Iron River and its diver-assisted suction harvesting vessel to remove about 4.2 acres of milfoil around the Pentoga Park beach and boat launch.

Bill Artwich of Many Waters explained that diver-assisted suction harvesting involves sending a diver down to bottom of the lake, where he or she removes each milfoil plant by hand and places it into a suction device.

The device then sends the entire plant to the vessel above.

Artwich said that since the entire plant is suctioned, the process helps cut down on the risk of the plants fragmenting and starting new growth. There is also minimal disturbance to the lake bed, he added.

Before Artwich can start the treatment, he must obtain a permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Iron County Administrator Sue Clisch said that Artwich may be able to begin removing milfoil by early July.

Total cost for the project is estimated to be between $5,500 and $6,000.

Clisch pointed out that the county still has about $11,000 in its boat wash fund that can be put toward milfoil treatment.

Since the county will be using diver-assisted suction harvesting, it will not be doing any herbicide treatments of milfoil this year.

However, the Chicagon Lake Association and Stambaugh Township may use chemical treatments on other areas of the lake. Chicagon Lake currently contains a total of about 18 acres of milfoil.

In other business, the board:

– Set a public hearing for June 26 at 1 p.m. to discuss the possible consolidation of the offices of county clerk and county register of deeds. Civil counsel Steve Tinti noted that the board may hold as many public hearings as it wishes. However, the board must wait ten days after the last public hearing before making a decision.

Tinti also pointed out that the consolidation, if approved, could not take effect until after the current clerk’s and register of deeds’ terms expire on Dec. 31, 2016. Since there will be another county board election in 2014, a new board could potentially reverse the current board’s decision, he added.

– Agreed to hold a silent auction of old office equipment at the courthouse. Three desks, several chairs, an old TV cart, and tables will be available to view in the hallway outside the county administrator’s office. The auction is open to courthouse employees and the public. For more information, see the county’s website at or contact the administrator’s office at (906) 875-3301.

– Authorized the chair to sign an application for a USDA Rural Development grant of $12,000 that will be put toward a new patrol vehicle for the sheriff’s department.

– Approved corrections to the pre-funded retirement plan and 401(a) retirement plan with MERS, Valic, and the IRS. Clisch said that the pre-funded retirement plan was not consistent with the collective bargaining agreement, and that the 401(a) contribution rate was incorrect.

– Approved the lease between the Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency (DICSA) and the Iron River Senior Center. DICSA pays $500 per month for office space at the center.

– Approved the allocated millage of 6.43.

– Appointed Dorothy Dixon to the Iron County Housing Commission.

– Presented certificates of appreciation to several members of the Iron County Sheriff’s Department for their work in assisting Illinois officials with the recent arrest of Crystal Falls resident Jacquelyn Greco, who is now facing a cold case murder charge for the 1979 killing of her husband in Inverness, Ill.

Commissioner Ray Coates, the board’s liaison to the sheriff’s office, recognized Sheriff Mark Valesano, Undersheriff Tom Courchaine, deputies Ryan Boehmke and Adam Schiavo, and administrative assistant Lynda Cross.

– Unveiled a plaque of the Iron County Board of Commissioners’ code of conduct that is dedicated to former commissioner Bev Camp, who recently passed away. The plaque will hang in the commissioners’ meeting room of the courthouse.

Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is