GUILFORD -- The invasive Japanese knotweed plant is, as one Guilford official noted this week, "becoming a problem everywhere."
And that includes the town's historic Green River Covered Bridge, where the plant's potential to speed erosion has caused some concern. So the Selectboard voted Monday to pursue a grant that could help combat the problem.
"I think it would make sense to apply," said Selectboard member Anne Rider.
Brian Colleran, Vermont's Japanese knotweed program coordinator, visited Guilford with a volunteer crew in late July to remove some knotweed patches. He also has worked with the town's conservation commission to educate residents on an aggressive, invasive species that was spread even farther by Tropical Storm Irene's floods.
Officials said knotweed also is growing around the base of the 139-year-old covered bridge.
"It is definitely on both sides," Colleran said. "And it is in both support structures."
Searching for new ways to fund knotweed work, Colleran pitched the idea of applying for a grant through the Better Back Roads program administered by Berlin-based Northern Vermont Resource Conservation and Development Council.
"The goal of the program is to reduce the erosion of dirt roads and erosion into streams," Colleran said, reasoning that eradication of knotweed -- which contributes to erosion -- might be eligible.
He offered to apply for the grant on Guilford's behalf,
"It's worth having the conversation," he said.
In other business at this week's meeting, officials noted that a new waterline linking Brattleboro and Algiers Village is complete.
"All the pipe is in the ground," said Katie Buckley, town administrator. "They've pressure-tested the line, and it came back good."
The water line also included -- after town voters approved up to $195,000 in borrowing -- two extensions to Guilford Volunteer Fire Department and Guilford Community Church.
Brattleboro will maintain the line and Guilford will handle billing. No one will be required to hook into the system, though administrators have said they expect about 35 connections initially, including new rental housing that's under construction on Guilford Center Road.
The time to tap in has not yet arrived, however. Buckley said Brattleboro-based Stevens & Associates is conducting a study of possible connection locations.
"They're looking at it now to see who feasibly can connect," she said.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.