Program: Lake Erie Cooperative Weed Management Area

Jarred Molesky, of the Ottawa Soil and Water Conservation District, shares information about the ongoing work being done by the Lake Erie Cooperative Weed Management Area to manage Phragmites.

Lead Organizations:

Type of Organization 

Cooperative Weed Management Area

What aspects of Phragmites management are you most involved in?

  • Education and outreach
  • Direct management
  • Research

Geographic Scope:

We are located in Northwest Ohio, with our area of concern focused in Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, and Erie Counties.

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area?

This area contains a majority of the remaining Lake Erie coastal marshes, which have been susceptible to infestation by this aggressive invader. Many of these marshes are privately owned and used as recreational areas and for waterfowl hunting. Large infestations of Phragmites caused many of theses marshes to no longer be accessible to the users.

What is your organization’s approach to invasive Phragmites management?

Our program is a voluntary program for any interested landowners within our area of concern, and we currently have over 175 participants. Our primary approach to Phragmites management is to attack it head on. We have implemented a very aggressive herbicide program that completed over 3000 acres of spraying in 2011 and 2012, with an additional 1500 acres sprayed over 2009 and 2010. Follow up spraying is conducted yearly with each program participant, and follow up treatments including smashing, mowing, and prescribed fire are offered in areas that are conducive. We have set up treatment plots in which we are monitoring the response of native and invasive vegetation in our different treatment practices to see what treatments allow for the reestablishment of native vegetation with the least resurgence of Phragmites. We have also completed 100 acres o f native vegetation seeding in burn locations.


Before (above) and after (below) herbicide and smashing of a large stand of Phragmites. 

The water is visible again! 

What are your funding sources?

  • The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
  • Healing Our Waters
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Ohio Division of Wildlife

What are your goals and objectives for the program?

Our primary goal is to reduce the overall density of Phragmites in the Lake Erie coastal marshes. By reducing this density we hope to have Phragmites populations low enough for individual landowners to complete their own management with minimal cost and time constraints.

What type of land does your program target?

Our program targets any location with an infestation. We primarily work within diked marshes, river corridors, ditches and low lying areas. We implement ground, aerial, and amphibious spray tactics.

What is the status of the program and are you seeing results?

Our program currently has funding through 2014, and we have treated over 3,000 acres of Phragmites with herbicide since 2009. We have began implementing prescribed fire and smashing to help remove thatch after spraying, and have complete ~100 acres of reseeding with native wetland vegetation.

For more information, check out the program website, check out this webinar and presentation or contact:

Jarred Molesky

240 West Lake Street
Oak Harbor, Ohio 43449
United States