Commissioners talk noxious weeds and trails at weekly meeting

VIRGINIA CITY – At their regular meeting on Tuesday in Virginia City the Madison County Commissioners met with Melissa Griffiths of the Madison Valley Ranchlands Group Weed Committee to approve a grant application for the Madison Conservation District to assist landowners in rehabilitating lands affected by this summer’s wildfires.

The purpose of the House Bill 223 grant from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation would give the Madison Conservation District $10,000 to spray for noxious weeds in areas that burned earlier this summer. A summary of the grant application explained that noxious weeds respond to fire disturbance work to expand their population, jeopardizing years of hard work by private and public landowners to fight noxious weeds.

“After a fire is an ideal time to really dump herbicide hard,” said Commissioner Dave Schulz. “When that plant is just starting back up, it’s pretty fragile.”

The primary project area would be the land affected by the Beartrap II fire in Bear Trap Canyon on the Madison River, but assistance could be given to areas affected by the Pony Fire if the need arises. The grant helps to cover the costs of spraying herbicide an biological control insects.

“This winter we can coordinate with people so a soon as that stuff starts to flower we’re ready and we’ve got an applicator hired,” Griffiths said.

Also at the meeting the Commissioners opened bidding for the Lions Club Park Trail in Ennis, which would add a section of sidewalk connecting the park and the Nearly New store.  The project also has an additive alternate to replace 11 square feet of concrete sidewalk in front of the Nearly New store. The county received a base bid for construction from AV Construction in Bozeman for $49,310, with the additive alternate bid at $1,110, and from Knife River in Belgrade for $70,070, with the additive alternate bid at $1,628.00.

The commissioners also held a conference call to rescind the resignation of public health administrator Theresa Stack. Stack said she tendered her resignation at the Sept. 11 regular commissioners meeting due to conflicts with the county, but ultimately changed her mind after re-evaluating her position and the important role it plays in Madison County.

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