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Brush controversy burns out

City happy with village burning precautions

Feb. 20, 2013

City of Delafield - City officials say they are happy with how the Village of Hartland conducted brush burning in the Hartland marsh during the past two weeks.

City Administrator Tom Hafner said he witnessed some of the burning. He said village officials took steps to prevent phosphorus and other pollutants from reaching the Bark River and eventually reaching Lake Nagawicka.

Council members Tim Aicher and Lynn Morrison expressed concerns about pollution resulting from the burnings at a Common Council meeting two weeks ago.

The Common Council unanimously approved sending aletter to Hartland village officialsexpressing city officials' concerns about the project.

The village has been burning hundreds of brush piles scattered through the marsh in an effort to help the Ice Age Alliance transfer land it owns into the marsh to a local or state government agency with resources to adequately protect the area from invasive species.

The 200 acres of marsh is owned by three parties. The trail alliance owns about 132 acres, the Village of Hartland owns 81 acres and the Waukesha County Land Conservancy owns about 28 acres.

The brush cuttings had accumulated over the years after volunteers spent weekends cutting down buckthorn, pulling garlic mustard and trying to maintain the natural condition of the marsh and river.

Hafner said the individual brush piles that were burned were far enough apart and sufficiently surrounded by marshundergrowth that any release of nitrogen or phosphorus was under control and not large enough to be harmful to the river and lake.

However, Morrison said she would have preferred that the village notify the city in advance of the burning.

"I hope that whenever we do anything that has the potential to affect our neighbors downstream, we shown them the courtesy of telling them in advance and explaining to them what we plan do," Morrison said.

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