Program: Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network

ISNlogo_greenThe Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay’s Maureen McManus tells us about the multipartner work being done across the northwest portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula to manage Phragmites.

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area? 

Grand Traverse Bay (and northwest Michigan at large!) is noted for its pristine water quality and beautiful habitat surrounding it. There are many natural areas along the bay where residents and tourists alike can go and enjoy wildlife. Our tourism industry in northwest Michigan is our bread and butter, and to have that threatened by an invasive species is not something we can just stand by and let happen. Phragmites australis, in particular, threatens our Up North water quality and quality of life, harming native habitat by crowding out native plants, limiting water access, damaging property values and blocking viewsheds. This plant has not become as widespread as in other areas of Michigan, so it has become a priority to reduce its spread, and its presence in the bay, in its’ watershed, and in much of northwest Michigan.

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

The Watershed Center is part of a collaboration of organizations called the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network (ISN). The Invasive Species Network is a collaborative effort among more than 30 organizations across the northwest Michigan region to prioritize and remove invasive species, prevent the spread of new invasive species, and educate the community about stewardship of its natural resources. Within this framework, The Watershed Center is the lead organization for Phragmites in Grand Traverse County. (Link to ISN website:

The active partners for Phragmites in the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed are

Grand Traverse Conservation District

The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay

Benzie Conservation District

Leelanau Conservancy

Inland Seas Education Association

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy

Leelanau conservation District

Huron-Manistee National Forest

Manistee Conservation District

Michigan Natural Features Inventory

Supporting Partners

Antrim Conservation District

Beaver Island Invasive Species Initiative

Charlevoix Conservation District

City of Traverse City

Congregational Summer Assembly

Conservation Resource Alliance

Crystal Lake Watershed Association

City of Frankfort/Frankfort Tree Board

Frankfort Area Land Conservancy

Friends of Betsie Bay

Garfield Township

Glen Lake Association

Grand Traverse Audubon Club

Grand Traverse County

Leelanau County Jr. Master Gardeners

Little River Band of Ottawa Indians

Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, Environmental Services

Mama Bear Restorations, Inc

Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center

Master Gardener Association of Northwest Michigan

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

National Parks Service – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

The Nature Conservancy

Plant It Wild

Portage Lake Watershed Forever

Rotary Camps and Services

TART Trails

Traverse City Hiking Club

Go Beyond Beauty Partners

The organizations below have agreed to support the Go Beyond Beauty program and its nursery participants.

The Botanic Garden Society of Northwest Michigan

Friends of Betsy Bay

ISLAND (Institute for Sustainable Living, Art, and Natural Design)

The Master Gardener Association of Northwest Michigan

Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council

Plant It Wild

SEEDS: Ecology + Education + Design

(expand to see other partners in the ISN)


The goals and objectives for the ISN are:

ISN works to protect, enhance, and promote northwest Michigan’s natural communities through terrestrial invasive plant management and outreach. In terms of Phragmites control efforts, our goal is to reduce the spread and amount of Phragmites along the shoreline of Grand Traverse Bay in its 1,000 square mile watershed, and throughout northwest Michigan.

Keep reading for information about on-the-ground Phragmites management 

For more information contact:

Maureen Pfaller
13272 S. West Bay Shore Drive
Traverse City, MI 49684
231.935.1514 ext. 0