MARIETTA - Marietta City Council's lands, buildings and parks committee took a close look at conditions along the riverbanks Tuesday afternoon.
"We're seeing different treatments along different areas of our river bank property," said Councilman Harley Noland, committee chairman.
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, he said.
Photo by Sam Shawver
Marietta City Council’s lands and buildings committee toured riverbanks Tuesday.
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 the embankment could erode and undermine the trail.
"We need to make people aware that not just anyone can spray herbicide on the city's riverbanks," 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 riverbanks.
Noland said work on the riverbanks by volunteers or private citizens requires permission from the city administration. The condominium association along Ohio Street had apparently been given permission by the administration to apply the herbicide treatment that killed the vegetation along the Ohio River bank, he said.
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 said. "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 National Guard Armory.
He suggested clearing weeds and poison ivy 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 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 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.