Annual monitoring is currently only completed on test plots. The test plots were originally selected because their diversity and location were representative of a majority of areas in Northwestern Ohio. Monitoring began by comparing different treatment plots to one another to determine efficacy of treatment type (herbicide application; herbicide application and crushing; herbicide application and burning; and herbicide application and burning and seeding).
Vegetation data is collected in two 1 m2 quadrats per plot, and consists of visual estimation of percent cover prior to follow-up treatments. These follow-up treatments typically occur in September through November. Percent cover of all species present and total species richness is recorded during each sample period. The goal is to collect data during the same weeks each year, keeping in mind that sampling may be shifted slightly due to weather-related events or management schedules (e.g., hunting on premises). Treatment locales are mapped with GIS and stored in a spatial database and the treatment area is delineated on an aerial photograph with resolution (1 m2) sufficient to obtain an accuracy of ± 0.02 acre. Monitoring data has shown that herbicide treatment alone, while effective, is not the best way to control Phragmites. Herbicide treatment followed by prescribed burning or crushing and burning have shown to be more effective long term than just spraying alone. Data is also collected in subsequent years, noting whether follow-up treatments were conducted.
Monitoring (demonstrating success and adaptive management) has been key to securing additional funding and continued program funding. It is somewhat challenging having staff adequate to complete the monitoring each season (three weeks of fieldwork) and having a staff person or committee member able to analyze the data.
Monitoring data has been used to eliminate management techniques that have not proven to be successful (imazypyr herbicide, mowing and smashing, reseeding treatment sites).