To track the progress of each individual management site over time, APIPP conducts annual monitoring. Each site has an annual photo log which is compared against previous years to assess trends in plant recovery. In addition, spatial data is collected annually using GPS and the Weed Information Management System (WIMS) to document any changes in the size and/or percent cover of non-native Phragmites infestations. Although it is challenging to collect photos and data quickly and efficiently, it is important to monitor each site.
More thorough monitoring is also conducted at several sites to document the change in species composition following treatment activities. Native species richness and density is compared between plots located inside and outside of a treated infestation, with the desire that the interior native plant assemblage will eventually match the exterior native plant assemblage. Because this monitoring is more extensive, it is not conducted at every site, and therefore provides a more narrow understanding of the native plant recovery that does not necessarily scale across the larger landscape.
The monitoring reports are used to adapt management strategies in order to increase treatment efficacy and facilitate native plant recovery. For example, APIPP has modified its management actions over time to increase efficacy and reduce off-target impacts by incorporating more stem injection and mowing dead standing plant material the spring after treatment. The monitoring reports also help demonstrate successful management to APIPP partners.
Based on APIPP’s Phragmites management and monitoring results,164 of the 339 infestations, originally identified within the Core Area, have been documented as having no non-native Phragmites observed for at least one year. Fifty-eight of these sites have had no non-native Phragmites observed for two consecutive years and 56 have been documented as having no non-native Phragmites observed for at least three consecutive years. APIPP classifies an infestation as eliminated after three consecutive years of a documented absence of non-native Phragmites at the site.