Phragmites Projects

Project: PhragNet

What type of project is this?

  • Education/outreach
  • Planning
  • Research

Why are you focusing on the issue of Phragmites management?

Several uncertainties complicate Phragmites management including:

1) How can we restore Phragmites-impacted areas back to diverse wetland communities?
2) What works well, what doesn’t?
3) How do genetics and environmental conditions influence management outcomes?

We seek to reduce this uncertainty through adaptive management, a decision analysis approach that reduces uncertainty over time through iterative application of competing models.

What exactly is PhragNet?

PhragNet is a cooperative learning network for adaptive management of Phragmites-invaded habitats.  We have used crowd sourcing to build a professionally-diverse network of project participants, currently consisting of ca. 50 managers (and growing!).  From volunteer stewards to professional biologists, participants share a common objective: to collectively learn about monitoring and managing Phragmites.  Participants contribute data including community composition and hydrology of invaded sites, submit soil samples for nutrient analysis, and submit Phragmites tissue for genetic analysis.  Thus far, participants have contributed data, soil and Phragmites samples from 21 sites comprising approximately 27 ha.  The data inform models of invasion, from which we generate situation-specific management recommendations.  PhragNet is integrated with decision support tools for invasive species management developed in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Chicago Botanic Garden.  By joining PhragNet, participants connect with a larger network of National Wildlife Refuge managers.  PhragNet represents a framework for collaborative, management-driven research .

Who are your partners in this effort?

We partner with individuals and organizations that are managing Phragmites. Our network currently contains approximately 50 individuals from:

  1. Local, state, and federal agencies
  2. NGOs
  3. Consultants
  4. Stewards
  5. Academics

How does PhragNet help participants?

We provide participants with genetic identification of their Phragmites samples.  We inform participants about whether they have the native or exotic subspecies, and about how soil conditions might be influencing Phragmites abundance. Collectively and over the longer term, we will use the tools of adaptive management to identify which actions are most effective for controlling Phragmites and reestablishing desired plant communities.

What are the funding sources?

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

What are the goals and objectives for the project?

Our goal is to harness the collective, on-going efforts of managers to accelerate learning about how to most effectively control Phragmites and restore impacted habitats.

What type of land does your project target? 

We focus on the Phragmites-invaded habitats in the upper Midwest but we are open to everyone.

 Do you monitor the areas that you manage? If so, what does that entail?

 We use a standardized monitoring protocol available on our site.

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

Our program is ongoing. We have developed a professionally diverse learning network of approximately 50 individuals. Thus far, participants have contributed data, soil and Phragmites samples from 19 sites.

Going forward: We will continue to develop our network. We are always looking for participants.  Our next challenge will be using data obtained from participants to inform models of invasion, from which we will generate situation-specific management recommendations and develop a decision support tool.

What should people do if they are interested in participating?

Email [email protected] or visit our website at https://sites.google.com/site/phragmitesnet/home for detailed instructions on how to participate.

This project is looking for participants!

For more information contact:

Vicky Hunt
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Rd
Glencoe, IL 60022
[email protected]
https://sites.google.com/site/phragmitesnet/home

Lake George Wetlands Restoration Project

What type of project is this?

  • Direct management

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area?

It is choking out native wetland plants and does not provide adequate habitat for resident and migratory birds and other wildlife.

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

 

This project involves 2 herbicide applications, once each year, between August 1st and September 30th in 2013 and 2014. In these areas, burning is not an option due to close proximity to petroleum pipelines, BP Whitiing refinery, the Indiana Toll Road and US 41, so mowing each winter after herbicide application will take place. Seeding and planting of native plant plugs will take place in the late winter and spring of 2015.

Who are your partners in this effort?

Indiana Department of Natural Resources, USFWS, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, Indiana Natural Resource Trustees, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Hammond Port Authority, BP Whiting Refinery, Exxon Mobil, Valero (Homer Tree Service / Homer Environmental is IDNR’s contractor performing the work).

What are the funding sources?

USFWS Great Lakes Coastal (GLRI), Sustain our Great Lakes, NRDA Restoration Funds.

What are the goals and objectives for the project?

Removal of non-native invasive plants, reseeding and revegetation of native species to ultimately improve habitat within the Grand Calumet River Area of Concern for fish and wildlife and increase biodiversity of these wetland areas.

What type of land does your project target?

Public and private land.

Do you monitor the areas that you manage? If so, what does that entail?

We have a contractor that will be performing botanical surveys for monitoring during this project (FQA).

For more information contact:

Carl Wodrich

Indiana Department of Natural Resources
402 W. Washington Street. W261
Indianapolis, IN 46204
United States

(317)232-1291

[email protected]

http://www.in.gov/dnr/6347.htm

Beaver Island Invasive Species Initiative

What aspects of Phragmites management are you most involved in?

  • Education/Outreach
  • Direct management (e.g. spraying, burning)
  • Planning

Geographic Scope

Beaver Island Archipelago, Lake Michigan, Charlevoix County Michigan.

Program includes: Beaver, Garden, High, Hog, Whiskey and Trout Islands.

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area?

The Island’s natural resources have been damaged as a result of weather, logging and recreation. Based on a 2010 report by the Nature Conservancy of Canada entitled “Islands of Life”, Beaver Island was included in the top ten islands with threatened biodiversity. Phragmites is a primary invasive plant species impacting this biodiversity and both the natural and human communities who reside there.

Phragmites stand on High Island, September 2013

Phragmites stand on High Island, September 2013

 

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

The Beaver Island Association works in partnership with government and tribal agencies, non-profit organizations, and the community to develop projects aimed at eliminating invasive Phragmites from the islands. The Invasive Species Initiative Workgroup collaborates to identify potential projects and funding sources for each field season. In addition to ongoing partnerships with semi-annual meetings, the Association holds an Invasive Species Summit to inform and educate residents, local government staff, and visitors of the dangers of invasive species and actions they can take to lessen these threats.

Who are your partners in this effort?

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The Nature Conservancy

Charlevoix Conservation District

Michigan Natural Features Inventory

The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

What are your funding sources?

The Initiative is volunteer staffed through the Beaver Island Association. Projects are developed and implemented through partnerships and are almost entirely grant funded.

What are your goals and objectives for the program?

The purpose of the initiative is to identify & inventory endangered species and invasive plant species on Beaver Island and devise environmentally appropriate & effective measures to protect the former and control the latter.

  •  Goal 1: Educate. Property owners & visitors will be trained to identify invasive species & learn ways to eradicate them. A web site will be created to provide one-stop shopping information on invasive plant species. Educational events and products will be provided in multiple formats.
  •  Goal 2: Inventory. Develop & maintain lists of endangered & high threat invasive species. Establish a communication process for reporting random sightings with a ready-made form to use.
  •  Goal 3: Recruit. Recruit & train an EDRR (Early Detection Rapid Response) team to help treat infestations. Provide volunteers with opportunities to assist in detection, treatment and monitoring of invasive plants.
  •  Goal 4: Rehabilitate. Eradicate invasive species (dig up, spray, contain); Protect endangered species (signage, fencing, walk ways); Rehabilitate & replant sites where appropriate.

What type of land does your program target?

Coastal island communities, some human occupied and some with little or no permanent development. Major habitats include deciduous forest, beaches, and woody wetlands.

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

A coarse-level survey of Beaver, Hog, High and Garden Islands was completed in 2012. The survey and final report identified management actions for the islands, including Phragmites as one high priority invasive species. A comprehensive shoreline treatment of the four islands occurred during 2012. Follow-up spot treatments were completed in 2013.

During the 2013 follow-up treatment, visual observations indicate that the eradication efforts are being successful. This is evident by lower stands of Phragmites overall in areas previously treated, fewer stands containing seed heads and limited expansion of stand areas. New growth stems were treated for a second consecutive year and we are hopeful to see even more reduced production in 2014.

Volunteers disembarking on High Island, September 2013

Volunteers disembarking on High Island, September 2013

Can you share important lessons learned both about what worked and what did not work?

Many of the populations have been treated previously, but multiple treatments are typically necessary to eradicate populations. Aggressive monitoring for Phragmites should be a part of future invasive species surveys, keeping in mind the difference between native and non-native invasive varieties. Consistency with survey and treatments and maintaining our partnerships is key to improving eradication success.

 

For more information, please contact:

Pam Grassmick

P.O. Box 390

Beaver Island, MI 49782

(231) 448-2314

[email protected]

http://www.beaverislandassociation.org/invasives/

Belleville Ecology Club

What aspects of Phragmites management are you most involved in?

  • Education/Outreach
  • Direct management (e.g. spraying, burning)

Geographic Scope

Local Area

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area?

It has been destroying the decorative plants around our school pond

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

We individually cut the seed flowers off of each plant and dispose of them in the trash and or burn our collection. We have settled to this method because our school wasn’t exactly excited about the burning method and didn’t seek funding for chemicals.

Who are your partners in this effort?

Two of Belleville High School’s teachers Mr. Mackie and Jennifer Garland.

What are your funding sources?

Everyone involved in the club

What are your goals and objectives for the program?

Our goal is to stop the growth of the species in our school pond, as they return each year.

What type of land does your program target?

Shoreline around a pond

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

We are in the process of extracting all Phragmites of their seeds.

Can you share important lessons learned both about what worked and what did not work?

We are not at a point in which we can say that our efforts have worked or not worked.

Please provide any other information here.

Our efforts started in my school’s ecology club and I am the president of it.

For more information, please contact:

Eric Robinson
Belleville High School
501 W Columbia Ave
Belleville, MI 48111

(734) 697-9133

[email protected]

Detroit River-Western Lake Erie Cooperative Weed Management Area and Phragmites Control

Geographic scope of project: Monroe, Wayne, and eastern half of Lenawee County

Goals and Objectives:

The Nature Conservancy, along with a spectrum of public and private partners, including Huron-Clinton Metroparks, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Ducks Unlimited, and Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, will collaborate to eradicate invasive Phragmites australis on approximately 1,200 acres of coastal wetlands within the western Lake Erie basin, from the Detroit River to northern Maumee Bay. Initial treatments will involve herbicide application. This invasive species project is unique in that the partners have established a mechanism for long-term eradication after initial control during the grant period through the use of a Marsh Master amphibious vehicle. The Marsh Master vehicle will allow follow-up treatments with mowing, herbicide, and controlled burns. A large-scale, cooperative, and sustained approach to Phragmites treatment in this region will add wetland resources where millions of people live and bring back whole plant and animal communities and functioning wetlands once again.  This project is funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative-U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Long-term funding and management will be the responsibility of the Cooperative Weed Management Area partners.

For more information, contact:

Chris May, Director of Stewarship

The Nature Conservancy in Michigan

101 East Grand River

Lansing, MI 48906

(517) 316-2274

[email protected]

Emmet County Phragmites Treatment

Geographic Scope

Currently the program is limited to the Lake Michigan coastline of Emmet County.

What aspects of Phragmites management are you most involved in?

  • Education/outreach
  • Direct management (e.g. spraying, burning)
  • Planning
  • Policy

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area?

Phragmites poses a risk to the Emmet County coastline, just as it does to every county on the Great Lakes. We are committed to stopping Phragmites before it becomes a real problem, like it has been in other bays of the state.

Emmet County shoreline

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

Each year, Tip of the Mitt partners with the Emmet County Board of Commissioners to secure the permit needed – a Certificate of Coverage – so the individuals do not have to apply for a permit on their own. We started with a comprehensive shoreline survey in 2010, and the following year we walked the shoreline again to check for new growth or anything missed during treatment the previous year.  Additionally every two years, we do a new comprehensive shoreline survey. This allows us to identify new growth of Phragmites, while at the same time making owners aware of the threat to their beach front.

Phragmites Survey

Who are you partners in this effort?

Emmet County every year, and the Emmet County Lakeshore Association in some years.

What are you funding sources?

Individuals on the shoreline pay for their own treatment, in most years.  However, we started this program when we had a grant to do the initial treatment, in 2010.  That was a great benefit to property owners because we treated some very large stands that would have been quite expensive.   As we collected permission slips from property owners to treat during that initial year, we made it broadly known that property owners would be responsible for follow up treatment, in subsequent years.  However, we just wrote a new grant proposal to see if we can get treatment paid for again, next year, as a continued incentive for property owners.

What are your goals and objectives for the program?

To stop the spread and reduce the amount of Phragmites on our coastlines.

What type of land does your program target?

The Lake Michigan shoreline of Emmet County

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

The program began in 2010, is currently active and can be credited with a steady decline in reported Phragmites. 

For more information contact:

Grenetta Thomassey
426 Bay St
Petoskey, MI 49770
[email protected]
www.watershedcouncil.org

The Midwest Invasive Species Information Network

The Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) is a data aggregation effort targeting invasive species early detection and rapid response (EDRR) needs within the Midwest region of the United States.

Who is leading this effort?

This effort is being led by the researchers with Michigan State University’s Applied Spatial Ecology and Technical Services Laboratory in conjunction with a growing consortium of supporting partners.

What are the goals and objectives?

The goal of this regional resource is to assist both experts and citizen scientists in the detection, identification and mapping of invasive species. Additionally, we currently harvest regional observation data contributed through GISIN, EDDMapS, GLEDN, GLIFWK and other databases. The MISIN database currently contains over 20,000 observations and has harvested over 170,000 from a growing network of invasive species databases. This improved regional view of the distribution of invasive species will allow for the development and implementation of more effective control strategies in the region.

Our website offers users the ability to identify and report over 190 unique plant and animal species, browse images and species information fact sheets, view distribution maps of reported species, set up location and species specific e-mail alerts and test your identification knowledge with our 45 species identification training modules. MISIN also provides an iPhone app that allows people in the field to identify and report over 190 unique plant and animal species; include field photos; browse species images and information factsheet; and view real-time species distribution maps.

For more information head on over to the MISIN website or contact:

Amos Ziegler

Research Scientist
Michigan State University
Natural Science Building
288 Farm Lane, Room 235B
East Lansing, Michigan 48824
(517) 355 – 0204

[email protected]

Northeast Michigan Cooperative Weed Management Area

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area? 

Phragmites is moving up the Lake Huron coastline from Saginaw Bay, which is heavily infested. In Northeast Michigan, we have many rare and endangered plants and animals that live in coastal habitats, so keeping the Phragmites out of those habitats is a high priority. In addition, most of our inland lakes and rivers are clear of Phragmites, so it is important that we keep it from spreading from those places that do have populations of the plant and can serve as source populations.

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

Huron Pines organizes the Northeast Michigan Cooperative Weed Management Area. This partnership uses a prioritization system that targets invasive plants threatening special natural communities, with early detection and rapid response as a goal. Phragmites has been one of our top invasive plants and treating it forms the majority of our on-the-ground work each year.

Huron Pines works with many partners in this effort:  

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michigan Natural Features Inventory

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Natural Resources Conservation Service

Paul H. Young Chapter of Trout Unlimited

The Carls Foundation

DTE Energy Foundation

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

U.S. Forest Service

Au Sable River Property Owners Association

What is the overall goal for the Northeast Cooperative Weed Management Area?

The Northeast Michigan Cooperative Weed Management Area provides a framework that will guide our efforts to control invasive weeds in Northeast Michigan, acquire and allocate resources and set goals/objectives to work toward and achieve. The purpose of this cooperative weed management area is to stop the introduction, spread, and distribution of invasive weed species in the ecosystems along the Lake Huron shoreline and adjacent ecosystems to which it connects.  (for more specifics, see the Northeast Michigan CWMA agreement).

What type of land does your program target?

Our SWAT Team works mostly with private landowners (250 in 2012) but also treats public lands. We have completed projects in State Parks and multiple U.S. Forest Service properties in Northeast Michigan.

CWMA area 2012

Image courtesy of the Northeast Michigan CWMA.

Keep reading about Huron Pines’ on-the-ground Phragmites management project….

 

For more information explore the Huron Pines website or contact

Melissa Buzzard

Stewardship Specialist

Huron Pines

4241 Old US 27 South, Suite 2

Gaylord, MI 49735

(989) 448-2293 ext. 17

[email protected]

Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network

The 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: http://habitatmatters.org)

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
[email protected]
http://www.gtbay.org/

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

 

Northeast Michigan Cooperative Weed Management Area

Geographic Scope: 11 counties of Northeast Michigan – Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Montmorency, Presque Isle, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Roscommon.

Location: The majority of Projects are located along the Lake Huron coast in our service area.

What are the goals and management approach for this project?

Our goal is to help landowners protect their land from invasive species and make the best decisions about restoring what they have. We visit each site, help landowners make management decisions, and then return later in the year to treat the invasive plants. Most of our projects only require backpack spraying or hand-swiping, but we also have used contractors for large groups of landowners and heavily infested public lands sites.

handswiping image

Applying herbicide to Phragmites by hand. Image courtesy of the Northwest CWMA.

Do you monitor areas that you manage? If so, what does that entail? 

We ask that landowners sign a 10-year maintenance agreement for their invasive species removal project, and our team returns to each site every year until the invasive plant is gone or the landowners are confident they can monitor and treat any recurrences on their own.

What is the current project status, have you seen results?

So far, we have treated over 2/3 of the Phragmites in existence on the Lake Huron coast in Northeast Michigan. While the number of landowners and amount of acres covered increases each year, the remaining acres of Phragmites are decreasing. We experience an 80-90% success rate for individual patches and are beginning to see landowners drop off our list because they have been Phragmites-free for a few seasons. We work with a variety of landowners and are moving toward large group projects. We have also had great success with outreach—through presentations and print/online materials we have seen an increase in awareness about invasive species and where to go for help.

Can you tell us about some of the challenges you faced and share any important lessons learned?

We have been working for the past few years to try to get local governments involved in coordinating large-scale treatments. However, there are so many economic concerns in the region (several counties in Northeast Michigan are among the poorest in the state) and the Phragmites problem is so low on the priority list that it has been very difficult to get commitments from them beyond verbal support. In addition, many landowners just want clear beaches, and with the new beach grooming laws they are not willing to spend the time or money on spot treatment of one plant when they can just mow or bulldoze the entire beach (including beneficial native plants) and get what they want.

For more information explore the Huron Pines website or contact

Melissa Buzzard

Stewardship Specialist

Huron Pines

4241 Old US 27 South, Suite 2

Gaylord, MI 49735

(989) 448-2293 ext. 17

[email protected]

Phragmites Management in Grand Traverse County

The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay’s Maureen McManus answers a few of our questions about the on-the-ground Phragmites management project her organization is implementing.

Title: Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network Phragmites Management in Grand Traverse County

Geographic Scope: Grand Traverse County

Goals: To survey, document and treat Phragmites australis along the Grand Traverse Bay shoreline as well as on public and private lands within Grand Traverse County.

Do you monitor areas that you manage? If so, what does that entail? 

We do monitor the areas that we manage from year to year. The first few years of treatment entailed surveying (walking/kayaking/driving) the Grand Traverse Bay shoreline as well as inland lakes and roadsides every year to map infestations and to provide maps to contractors for treatment. Now we have entered into a maintenance phase with the Grand Traverse Bay shoreline and we use treatment maps from the previous year to monitor progress and indicate where treatment needs to happen the following year.

What is the current project status, have you seen results?

We have reduced the amoung of Phragmites australis along Grand Traverse Bay in Grand Traverse County 78% since the program started in 2009. We have also started surveying and coordinating treatment on inland lakes within Grand Traverse County, and in working with the ISN are also treating roadside Phragmites stands within the County. The program will continue for the forseeable future.

Can you tell us about some of the challenges you faced and share any important lessons learned?

When it comes to treatment on the Great Lakes Shoreline it is the most effective to work at the Township level to obtain permits from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. It is most efficient if the townships adopt an ordinance allowing treatment of Phragmites australis along the Great Lakes shoreline (example ordinance from Peninsula Township, Grand Traverse County, MI: http://www.peninsulatownship.com/uploads/1/0/4/3/10438394/phragmites_ordinance_37.pdf), otherwise it requires individual landowner permission forms to be obtained for every year of treatment which can involve lots of resources from the Townships and partner organizations (see example Phragmites 2010 Permission Slip_shoreline). Funding for treatment below the ordinary high water mark on Great Lakes Shorelines can come from federal or state grants such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. This is due to the fact that the state has a public interest below the ordinary high water mark. It also helps if Townships set up funds that property owners can contribute to for the treatment and coordination of Phragmites efforts within their municipality.

When it comes to Inland Lakes, it is most efficient if the lake has an association where members can vote on whether treatment will occur and can help facilitate treatment. If there is no lake association permission must be obtained from each individual landowner for every treatment season (see example Phragmites 2011 Permission Slip_inland_lakes) . This is easier said than done because with the permission each homeowner is also agreeing to be responsible for paying for treatment. Ownership of the bottomlands on inland lakes is different from the Great Lakes; property owners physically own the bottomlands to the center of the lake in a pie shape. Public grant dollars cannot be spent on private property in most cases, leaving the individual property owners footing the bill, unless a lake association uses fees and dues to pay for treatment of all rproperties around the lake. Challenges arrise when some property owners do not want to participate in the program, and their neighbors want Phragmites gone from their inland lake. Neighbors talking to neighbors is the best way to remedy this situation, however there are some folks that just won’t budge.

Lastly, for roadside Phragmites australis it is best to partner with your local road commissions and to work with them on identification of Phragmites australis and educating them on when not to mow, and how to treat or gaining permission from them to do your own treatment on stands found along the roadsides. It is much easier when you are on good terms with the road commission and work together to reduce the spread of invasive species.

Education is key! The more buzz you get about Phragmites australis and how bad it is for our ecosystems and property values, the more acceptance you will have for your program. Go out and give presentations to lake associations, invite property owners to special meetings, get boards on board; educate, educate, EDUCATE and spread the word!

For more information contact:
Maureen Pfaller
13272 S. West Bay Shore Drive
Traverse City, MI 49684
231.935.1514 ext. 0
[email protected]
http://www.gtbay.org/

Ottawa County Invasive Phragmites Control Group

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area? 

Invasive Phragmites has taken hold on the islands and river banks on the lower Grand River. It is of concern because it doesn’t support wildlife, dries up wetland areas, precludes wetland diversity, lowers property values, impedes dredging efforts and presents a fire hazard. Invasive Phragmites stands impede normal wetland functions such as pollution filtration and flood mitigation.

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

Initial work was done on Harbor Island with a grant to Wetland Watch from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation Greatest Needs Fund (2010-2013). Forty acres were treated. In 2011 the Ottawa County Invasive Phragmites Control Group (OCIPCG) was formed. Educational programs encouraged local leaders to treat Phragmites around the lake of Spring Lake. Lloyds Bayou was treated with residential contributions. Other small areas were treated with private contributions and Spring Lake Village funds. Four river bayous were treated as part of a grant of The Nature Conservancy. Members of the OCIPCG are in the second stage of the proposal process to treat islands in the lower Grand River, and some river bank areas.

Who are your partners in this effort?

For our current effort, partners are the Lloyds Bayou Lake Board, individual property owners, and Spring Lake Township. Members of the OCIPCG, Ottawa County Parks and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources have applied for a federal grant. Carndo JFNew has helped with technical issues and treatment contacts. The Ottawa Conservation district is seeking the capacity to treat small areas. The Muskegon Conservation District has that capacity and has treated small areas.

What are your funding sources?

As stated above, we have received community foundation support and corporate entities that helped match the community fund grant. The Spring Lake Lake Board took the lead in raising money to treat areas around the Lake. We will know in June if the federal proposal is successful. We have received transportation cost waivers from aerial spraying.

What are your goals and objectives for the program?

Our goal is to control invasive Phragmites in Ottawa County. Our focus has been on the lower Grand River, and the Pigeon Creek watershed. Other group, i.e. the Macatawa Greenway Outdoor Discovery Center has done work in southern Ottawa County. We intend to continue to educate the public about why they should be concerned, and why they should support control programs. We hope to treat major stands of Phragmites so that in the future, and with monitoring we can treat new growth as it appears, and achieve the restoration of diverse wetland flora and fauna.

What type of land does your program target?

Both public and private lands have been treated and will be treated.

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

The Harbor Island treatment is very successful. The treatment process was reported on in the Grand Haven Tribune. Visitors notice the change. In other areas, owners of waterfront property are alerted to the issue and are pleased to have views and property values restored.

Can you share important lessons learned both about what worked and what did not work?

Persistence, leadership and partnership. Wetland Watch, a small volunteer non-profit, wrote the initial grant. The City of Grand Haven brought other groups to the table including the Department of Natural Resources, the Nature Conservancy, the West Michigan Land Conservancy, Ottawa County Parks, other municipal leaders in what has become the Ottawa County Invasive Phragmites Control Group. Wetland Watch continues to be involved in the OCIPCG, We have learned not to depend too heavily on grants, but do the legwork needed to get the community involved and the work done.

For more information explore the Wetland Watch Website or contact

Leslie Newman

Wetland Watch
111 W. Ann St.
Spring Lake, MI
49456-2003
[email protected]
616-844-3066

Applying a Microbial Approach to Phragmites Control

What is the geographic scope of the project?

We have research plots in Ottawa County, OH and Salinac County, MI.

What are the goals and objectives of your research?

Symbiosis exp set up

USGS field crew sets up research plots in Oak Harbor, OH to test the response of Phragmites to fungal inhibitors.

 

We are conducting research to develop more sustainable strategies for Phragmites management in the Great Lakes. One line of research is focused on microbes and the role they may play during plant invasions. We know that all plants have relationships with microbes, and those relationships or associations can greatly influence colonizing success. Thus, if the associations between invasive Phragmites and its microbes can be disrupted, the competitive advantage of Phragmites may be reduced and native plant assemblages maintained. Our work seeks to define the role of symbiosis between Phragmites and its endophytic fungi and explore opportunities to disrupt or enhance those symbiotic relationships.

The specific goal is to:

  • Provide proof of concept to the idea that Phragmites plants grow better when associated with fungal communities. This work may lead to new, more effective options for Phragmites management during restoration projects.

Who is involved in this project?

Core Team

Dr. Kurt Kowalski, USGS – Great Lakes Science Center
Wes Bickford, Contractor for USGS – Great Lakes Science Center
Dr. Doug Wilcox, The College at Brockport, SUNY
Dr. Rusty Rodriguez, Symbiogenics

Partners

Dr. Regina Redman, Symbiogenics
Ottawa County (OH) Soil and Water Conservation District
Michigan Department of Natural Resources (http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/)

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

The project was set up and the first treatments applied in April 2013. We will begin sampling at the end of the growing season (late August 2013) to assess response to the treatments. Follow-up sampling will occur in 2014.

For more information, check out the project webpage or contact

Dr. Kurt Kowalski

USGS Great Lakes Science Center
1451 Green Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
United States
[email protected]
(734)994-3331

Applying a Microbial Approach to Phragmites Control

What is the geographic scope of the project?

We have research plots in Ottawa County, OH and Salinac County, MI.

What are the goals and objectives of your research?

Symbiosis exp set up

USGS field crew sets up research plots in Oak Harbor, OH to test the response of Phragmites to fungal inhibitors.

 

We are conducting research to develop more sustainable strategies for Phragmites management in the Great Lakes. One line of research is focused on microbes and the role they may play during plant invasions. We know that all plants have relationships with microbes, and those relationships or associations can greatly influence colonizing success. Thus, if the associations between invasive Phragmites and its microbes can be disrupted, the competitive advantage of Phragmites may be reduced and native plant assemblages maintained. Our work seeks to define the role of symbiosis between Phragmites and its endophytic fungi and explore opportunities to disrupt or enhance those symbiotic relationships.

The specific goal is to:

  • Provide proof of concept to the idea that Phragmites plants grow better when associated with fungal communities. This work may lead to new, more effective options for Phragmites management during restoration projects.

Who is involved in this project?

Core Team

Dr. Kurt Kowalski, USGS – Great Lakes Science Center
Wes Bickford, Contractor for USGS – Great Lakes Science Center
Dr. Doug Wilcox, The College at Brockport, SUNY
Dr. Rusty Rodriguez, Symbiogenics

Partners

Dr. Regina Redman, Symbiogenics
Ottawa County (OH) Soil and Water Conservation District
Michigan Department of Natural Resources (http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/)

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

The project was set up and the first treatments applied in April 2013. We will begin sampling at the end of the growing season (late August 2013) to assess response to the treatments. Follow-up sampling will occur in 2014.

For more information, check out the project webpage or contact

Dr. Kurt Kowalski

USGS Great Lakes Science Center
1451 Green Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
United States
[email protected]
(734)994-3331

Anchor Bay & St. Clair Flats Phragmites Control and Education Project

What is the geographic scope of the project?

Over 1,200 acres along Lake St. Clair in St. Clair County, Michigan; including St. Clair Flats Wildlife Area, Dickinson Island and surrounding Anchor Bay

What type of land does your project target?

Coastal wetlands

What type of project is this?

  • Education and outreach
  • Direct management

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area?

The spread of highly invasive Phragmites (Phragmites australis) is a recent and major factor in the degradation of Lake St. Clair’s coastal wetlands. The recent decrease in Great Lakes water levels has lead to the expansion of emergent vegetation in the littoral zone of Lake St. Clair; however, lower water levels have also facilitated the rapid expansion of Phragmites. In many areas of Lake St. Clair, Phragmites is expanding at a much faster rate than native emergent plants. With its strong capacity to spread by rhizomes, near-monotypic stands of invasive Phragmites have replaced high quality, complex communities of native plants, leading to loss of fish and wildlife habitat, biodiversity, and a native plant community resiliency. In addition to impacts on the area’s natural resources, the residents of Lake St. Clair have also observed ecological, economic and social impacts as a result of the Phragmites invasion.

Site_6b_08192009_PreTreatment

Near monotypic stand of Phragmites prior to treatment.

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

Ducks Unlimited (DU) along with project partners approached this project through 3 primary components: 1) an integrated management effort to control Phragmites on both public and private coastal wetlands through aerial and ground herbicide treatments, followed by mowing, burning and spot herbicide treatments, 2) monitoring the response of native vegetation and avifauna to these enhancement efforts, and 3) implementation of a public education and outreach program to inform citizens about the impacts and effective management of Phragmites.

Who are your partners in this effort?

  •  Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  •  Michigan Sea Grant
  •  Michigan State University Extension
  •  Wildlife and Wetland Solutions
  •  Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments
  •  Clay Township
  •  Ira Township
  •  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

What are the funding sources?

The U.S. EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

What are the goals and objectives for the project?

Goal: The goal of this project is to implement on-the-ground Phragmites control activities to restore native wetland plant communities in 1,200 acres of Great Lakes coastal wetlands associated with Lake St. Clair, including the coastal shoreline of Anchor Bay, the St. Clair Flats and Dickinson Island.

Objectives:

  • Herbicide will be applied to approximately 1,000 acres of Phragmites infested coastal wetlands on state-owned bottomlands in the St. Clair Flats Wildlife Area and on Dickinson Island. Another 200 acres of degraded coastal wetlands will be treated in nearby coastal communities and inlets of Anchor Bay. Control efforts will be administered by DU. Initial treatments will consist of helicopter and ground-based application of herbicide by licensed applicators. Follow-up treatments will consist of spot herbicide treatment, prescribed burns, or mowing.
  • Monitoring treatment success and the re-establishment of native wetland vegetation. A monitoring protocol will be established by DU scientists. Monitoring of plant species diversity and abundance will be used to determine the success of particular treatment methodology as well as provide insight as to where further treatments may be needed.
  • DU will partner with the Michigan Sea Grant College Program to implement an education and outreach plan that will deliver information about Phragmites control and activities for involving the public. These activities are to include:
    • Launching of an outreach campaign focused on activities that riparian property owners and other residents of the Lake St. Clair watershed can do to control the spread of Phragmites;
    • Implementation of a teacher professional development workshop in partnership with Macomb and St. Clair County Intermediate School Districts;
    • Dissemination of project information to local, state and federal stakeholders via The Macomb/St. Clair Inter-County Watershed Management Advisory Group and St. Clair River Binational Public Advisory Council (BPAC);
    • Phragmites control” information placed on Michigan Sea Grant social networking sites; and
    • Signs placed along treatment areas informing the public of the activities being performed

Do you monitor the areas that you manage? If so, what does that entail?

The monitoring aspect of the project consists of visiting the same thirty pre-determined sample sites twice per field season. In the spring, point counts are conducted to survey avifauna. In the fall, vegetation is sampled and avifauna observations are noted.

Sampling plot locations were established in Arc Map using Hawth’s Tools to randomly generate 150 points within pre-determined treatment area polygons, totaling 1200 acres. Of those 150 points only 30 were chosen to be sampling sites. These 30 sample sites were selected based on accessibility, private land access, and timing efficiency. Five sites are inland on Harsen’s Island and twenty-five are along coastal shorelines.

Spring point count survey protocol was adapted from that which is used by Michigan Natural Features Inventory. In the fall, a simple five minute observational bird survey is conducted prior to the vegetation sampling. Four vegetation samples are then taken; one sample in each cardinal direction, 5 meters from the site’s center point, using a 1×1 meter square quadrat. Within each quadrat the following data is collected: percent cover of living Phragmites, percent cover of non-Phragmites vegetation, and percent cover of dead Phragmites. All percentages are expressed as a cover class (classes are shown in the table below). In addition to the quadrat data, 1 photo is also taken in each cardinal direction while standing at the site’s center point.

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

Management:

  • In 2011 six focus areas within the St. Clair Flats Wildlife Area were identified and delineated and two additional focus areas were added on private lands in 2012. Of the 90 landowners contacted within the focus areas, a total of 50 landowners have signed ten year contracts with DU to have Phragmites treated on their property.
  • Our first two herbicide treatments were completed in September of 2011 and September 2012. A total of 1000 acres of public lands and 215 acres of private lands have been chemically treated within the eight focus areas. Patches of Phragmites on private lands ranged from as small as .01 acres to 24 acres.
  • Mowing was conducted during the winter/ spring of 2013. A total of 338 acres of herbicide treated (dead) stands of Phragmites were mowed on private lands.

Monitoring:

  •  Our first two seasons of monitoring will be completed in early June 2013.

Outreach and education:

  • Over 290 copies of “A Guide to the Control and Management of Invasive Phragmites” have been distributed at venues including the Lake St. Clair Binational Biennial Conference, Lake St. Clair Metropark, and to to private landowners/project cooperators.
  • Presented education and outreach materials developed through the project at the Lake St. Clair Binational Biennial Conference.
  • Ongoing social media outreach has been implemented via Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension.
  • Development of signage to post in the treatment areas is in progress
Site_6b_08152011_PostSpotTreatment

After initial treatment, spot treatment has been ongoing to further reduce Phragmites in the area

Going forward:

  • Monitoring will continue with a spring bird survey in early June 2013 and vegetation sampling and bird surveying in Fall 2013. Education and outreach will continue. Additionally, a request was recently submitted for a one year extension on the project – to include post monitoring and continued outreach.
  • Our third and final year of management work will entail spot treatments and potentially spraying buffer areas around existing treatments to prevent future encroachment of herbicide in the fall of 2013. Prescribed burning on DNR owned lands is tentatively scheduled for the winter of 2014.

Can you share information about challenges and lessons learned?

One of the challenges encountered with this project was obtaining agreements and participation from enough private landowners. To successfully eliminate Phragmites from an area, a great deal of coordination and must take place between all landowners. Even if Phragmites is treated on 100 acres owned by a single landowner, the 10 landowners adjoining the treated area will remain a source population if left untreated even if their properties collectively contain less than an acre of Phragmites. Of course gaining 100% buy-in from all landowners is idealistic, but efforts to recruit landowners whose property adjoins treated areas should be a priority. A well-designed outreach strategy implemented prior to any on-the-ground work will aid in recruiting these landowners.

In the St. Clair Flats region, we were fortunate enough to be working in an area with a pre-existing, quasi-grassroots led approach to Phragmites control. The Clay Township Phragmites Advisory Board has been active in the area for some time, educating landowners, providing technical assistance, and making the treatment of “backyard” areas feasible for private landowners. This history paid considerable dividends once our grant was awarded and funds became available to treat Phragmites at no cost to private landowners. Without this, our success in working with private landowners would have been far less.

Although we were successful in treating over 200 acres of Phragmites on properties owned by more than 40 private landowners, other landowners who chose not to participate were hesitant to enter into a formal agreement with DU. In our agreements, we offered to cover 100% of the treatment costs during the first 3 years of the agreement when Phragmites would be reduced to a maintainable level. We asked in return that they maintain the property Phragmites-free for the final 7 years of the 10-year agreement to provide long-term benefits to the ecosystem. Our standard agreements were seemingly straightforward, but admittedly contained agreement jargon and were probably not appropriate for atypical partners such as private landowners (i.e., as opposed to DU’s typical types of partners from state or federal agencies). Other groups implementing invasive treatment projects with similar approaches have had success with shorter term and simplified agreements. Our project would have most likely benefited from simpler, shorter agreements, too, increasing private landowner buy-in and reducing the reestablishment of Phragmites from properties surrounding our core areas of treatments. In either case, an agreement of some sort will be necessary to flow down grant requirements from conservation groups who receive federal funding to do this type of work.

Another challenge encountered was the winter weather conditions and its effect on the mowing schedule. Mowing sites must be completely frozen or completely thawed to allow for proper winter mowing operation. If an incomplete freeze occurs, mowing will be delayed. This challenge would be an important factor to consider when developing mowing contracts in the future

For more information contact, 

Jason Hill

Ducks Unlimited – Great Lakes/ Atlantic Regional Office
1220 Eisenhower Pl.
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
United States
[email protected]
(734)623-2000

Pigeon River Cut-off Channel Phragmites Control Plan Implementation

What is the geographic scope of your project?

3.25 acres along the Pigeon River Cut-off Channel at Saginaw Bay located in the City of Caseville, Huron County Michigan.

What type of project is this?

  • direct management (i.e. spraying, burning)
September Herbicide Treatment

September Herbicide Treatment

 

November Burn

November Burn

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area?

A dense stand of Phragmites had obstructed the Pigeon River Cut-off Channel, which provides flood relief to Beadle Island and the City of Caseville. The tall stand of Phragmites also obstructed the view for private property owners.

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

The Pigeon River Intercounty Drain Drainage Board (consisting of a representative from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Huron County Deputy Drain Commissioner, the Tuscola County Drain Commissioner and the Sanilac County Drain Commissioner) has adopted a Phragmites Management Plan for the Pigeon River Cut-off Channel following guidelines published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in “A Guide to the Control and Management of Invasive Phragmites.”

What are the goals and objectives for the project?

To remove Phragmites from the Pigeon River Cut-off Channel and its outlet in Saginaw Bay.

What type of land does your project target?

Great Lakes Shoreline and Bottomland

Do you monitor the areas that you manage?

Yes. Annual monitoring in early to mid-summer includes a visual inspection and photo documentation of any reemerging plant density and location.

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

Aerial spray application was completed in September 2012 with mechanical clearing and burning of plant remains in December 2012. Cut-off Channel was clear as of July 2013. Minor reemergence of Phragmites stalks was noted.

Can you share information about challenges and lessons learned (both about what worked and what did not work)?

Aerial spray application was efficient and effective. Challenges in keeping adjacent Phragmites out of treated area will be forthcoming.

Herbicides used include: Glyphosate at 3 pints per acre, and Imazapyr at 3 pints per acre.

For more information please contact:

Michael Gregg
Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
525 West Allegan Street
Lansing, MI 48909
United States
(517)373-9802
[email protected]

A Baseline and Standardized Method for Monitoring the Treatment and Control of Invasive Phragmites

What type of project is this?

  • Education/outreach
  • Planning
  • Research

What is the geographic scope of the project?

The study is focused on two bays of similar geomorphic type; one in Wisconsin on Lake Michigan and the other in Michigan on Lake Huron. The study encompasses the coastline of Wisconsin’s Green Bay ranging from the city of Green Bay, north to Pensaukee. The second second study area extends across Michigan’s Saginaw Bay, with focus on the coastal region between Au Gres in the northwest part of the bay to Bay Port in the southeast.

MTRI-TreatmentMapWhy is Phragmites an issue in your area?

Invasive Phragmites australis has become an acute detriment to coastal Great Lakes wetlands. Due to its fast-growing nature, Phragmites has the ability to outcompete native wetland plants and dominate the ecosystem. Once established, invasive Phragmites is capable of forming dense, tall (up to 5 meter / 16 feet) monocultures that are difficult to control without continuous and long-term management. In the Great Lakes region, Phragmites invasion has had many negative impacts on the ecosystem including reduction of habitat quality and biological diversity (flora and fauna), modifications in hydrological regimes, drying of wetland soils, increased air temperature within a wetland and reduction of shoreline views, which may negatively affect property values. Resource managers report spending over $80 million on herbicide treatment of the invasive plant over the past several years. Most treatment is applied without assessment of the effects on habitat, typically only the presence/absence of the invader is monitored for 1 year post-treatment.

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

The project team is using high and moderate resolution remote sensing and field based studies to detect and map the location of Phragmites over large expanses of land and the effects of treatment on vegetation recovery. Utilizing synthetic aperture radar (SAR 20 m resolution data) data, MTRI developed a US Great Lakes basin-wide map of monocultures of the invasive Phragmites austrailis from PALSAR satellite imagery circa 2008-2010 (dataset available on the USGS CIDA website http://cida.usgs.gov/glri/phragmites/). Follow-on remote sensing and field studies are suitable to expand on this mapping effort, and develop a baseline method for assessing the effectiveness of treatment. The current project is designed to fill a gap in knowledge of assessment of chemically treated invasives and the recovery of the native ecosystem.

Who are your partners in this effort?

We are partnering with Applied Ecological Services (AES), an ecological consulting firm located in Brodhead, Wisconsin. AES is collecting field survey data in Green Bay, as well as providing high resolution oblique and nadir looking aerial imagery of both study areas.

We are also partnering with Don Uzarski of Central Michigan University (CMU). His role is in implementing avian, amphibian and vegetation field collection protocol as developed for an ongoing Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring project and guiding the statistical analysis. CMU collected pre-treatment bird, amphibian and vegetation data as part of their wetland research from past years, allowing us to evaluate the longitudinal changes to habitat and biodiversity pre- and post-treatment.

What are the funding sources?

Funding for the study is provided by a grant from the University of Michigan Water Center – Graham Sustainability Institute. The Water Center has awarded over $4.6 million in large grants to bolster freshwater research and restoration and protection efforts throughout the Great Lakes region and beyond. The grants program is an important part of the Water Center’s efforts to enhance restoration and protection activities by engaging exceptional multi-sector teams in advancing evaluation and assessment of restoration projects.

This funding builds off previous research funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Environmental Protection Agency under cooperative agreements with the United States Geological Survey Great Lakes Research Center and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, where Phragmites extent maps were created by MTRI using a fusion of optical and SAR data along with an extensive field campaign.

What are the goals and objectives for the project?

The project goal is to develop standardized methods and recommendations for evaluating the effectiveness of herbicide treatments on Phragmites and the post-treatment restoration response of natural vegetation and faunal biodiversity. The research is being conducted in two study areas: Green Bay and Saginaw Bay. Treatment effectiveness is being assessed in a nested scaling design, from field surveys to high resolution aerial imagery to moderate resolution satellite imagery. A comparison will be made of pre-treatment Phragmites distribution maps of the U.S. coastal Great Lakes (circa 2008-2010) with post-treatment imagery and field surveys collected by the project team. Aerial imagery will be interpreted and classified for Phragmites identification, effectiveness of herbicide treatment, and restored wetland function. Standardized biodiversity sampling protocols currently used by the Great Lakes Instrumentation Collaboratory are being used for continuity.

This information will be invaluable for assessment of the current typical management approaches (herbicide, burning or cutting) and the development of future management approaches. It will also provide novel analysis of post-treatment recovery of wetland ecosystems in the coastal Great Lakes by placing wetland response into the context of the greater regional landscape.

What type of land does your project target?

Our project targets the coastal wetland areas in both Green and Saginaw Bay, but the conclusions found there can be used throughout the Great Lakes Basin in regard to Phragmites herbicide treatment, evaluation and monitoring.

Do you monitor the areas that you manage? If so, what does that entail?

Field surveys of birds, amphibians and vegetation are being conducted each year of the project. Field sites have been established for the amphibian and avian counts, as well as the vegetation transects, in both treated and non-treated Phragmites. We are currently compiling the field data from our initial year and hope to have preliminary results in the fall of 2014. These data will be compared to pre-treatment sample data from the CMU team. The same protocol is used by this project as was used by CMU to maintain continuity. A before after control impact (BACI) statistical analysis will be conducted and allow us to assess the effectiveness of treatment in the two Bays.

Aerial imagery is being collected in June and September 2014 (post-herbicide treatment). This dataset will allow for expansion of the field-based transect studies across the bays and also provide training data for moderate scale monitoring of the project areas via low-cost remote sensing systems, such as Landsat 8. Landsat 8 is an electro-optical satellite that is operated by the USGS that posts the imagery free of charge making this sensor very appealing for continued monitoring. Landsat 8 has a repeat orbit of 16 days; this enables land managers to monitor treated areas roughly twice a month at little to no cost. One issue with Landsat is that as an Electro-Optical sensor data collection is constrained by cloud cover and weather – if it is cloudy over the treated area then Landsat will not collect any information on ground conditions. The project team is also using new satellite radar data (PALSAR-2) which provides information on stand structure and biomass and it is collected irrespective of cloud cover or daylight because it has its own energy source and a wavelength of about 24 cm which penetrates clouds. The use of these low-cost sensors will enable future monitoring of both treatment efficacy and species re-establishment post-treatment.

MTRI-FieldWorkersWhat is the status of the program and are you seeing results?

The program is still in the data collection stages. All of the field data collections (birds, amphibians, vegetation) for year 1 (2014) for Green and Saginaw Bays will be complete by end of August 2014. The data are being entered and quality controlled; then indicators of biological integrity (IBI) will be calculated. Once this is done we will be able to evaluate the control versus treatment areas and use the before treatment data from CMU to evaluate changes pre- and post-treatment.

Aerial imagery surveys (obliques and nadir-looking) of both Bays were collected in June 2014 by AES and a subsequent fall collection will be conducted in September 2014. These two date datasets of 6 inch resolution imagery will be used to map vegetation and the field surveys will be expanded across the landscape to observe the geospatial effects of treatment on the vegetation.

Can you share information about challenges and lessons learned (both about what worked and what did not work)?

One of the biggest challenges of this project was finding the information about treated areas of Phragmites along Saginaw Bay. Green Bay underwent a large blanket aerial spraying operation in 2011, conducted by the Wisconsin DNR. The DNR documented the treated areas well with flight lines of the plane used for spraying, so the treated areas were known at the start of our project. For Saginaw Bay treated sites were largely unknown. There were many different organizations conducting treatment and we contacted each one to obtain GPS information on treatment areas, type of treatment, timing, etc. Most of our information originated with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) database of permits for herbicide treatment applications. The process of calling each of the land managers, gathering maps and other information and compiling a GIS database was challenging, but it also acquainted us with a group of end users who would likely be interested in the outputs of the project. See figures showing study areas and areas of treatment by year versus extent of Phragmites stands.

Another challenge was in pairing up treatment and control sites in each bay. For Saginaw the difficulty was in finding large enough herbicide treatment areas to pair up with control sites. As of spring 2014, most of Saginaw Bay is untreated. For Green Bay with the organized blanket herbicide by the WDNR, the difficulty was in finding control sites of Phragmites untreated stands that were large enough to pair with treated sites. Sites of similar hydrogeomorphic type are being paired (see figure showing an example of a treated and control site pairing on Green Bay).

MTRI-field_figurePlease provide any other information here.

This project will fill in critical gaps in knowledge by providing peer reviewed scientific manuscripts on effectiveness of herbicide treatments on spread of invasive Phragmites, and recovery of wetland ecosystems in the context of biodiversity. It also provides an analysis in context of landscape scale rather than just point source field information, but also allowing us to determine the effects of surrounding land use.

At the end of the project resource managers and other end users will have either confirmation of current treatment methods, or recommendations for further, more effective adaptive management strategies.

 

For more information, please contact:

Laura Bourgeau-Chavez, Ph.D.

Michigan Tech Research Institute
3600 Green Ct., Ste 100
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
United States

[email protected]

(734)913-6873

Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge Phragmites Identification

Geographic ScopePhragmites stands within Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, Becker County, MN.

Type of Project: Research

What was the motivation for this project? We needed to determine if existing stands were native or non-native. Curious about the difference between native and non-native? See our Native vs. invasive? page for more info.

What did this project entail? We took samples from five Phragmites stands within the Refuge, which we sent to Bernd Blossey at Cornell University for identification. For more information see the Diagnostic Service website.

What were the results of this work? We learned that all of the stands sampled were native Phragmites! 

For more information contact: 

Wayne Brininger
Biologist, Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge
35704 County Highway 26
Rochert, MN 56578
[email protected]

Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP)

What aspects of Phragmites management are you most involved in?

  • Education and outreach
  • Direct management (e.g. spraying, burning)
  • Planning

What geographic scope does this project cover?

The six million acre Adirondack Park in upstate New York, as well as the northern portions of Franklin and Clinton Counties to the U.S. border. This area makes up the Adirondack Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM).

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area?

Approximately 10% to 12% of the land cover in the 6 million acre Adirondack Park is comprised of wetlands. Many represent some of the largest, most intact examples in the Northeast. Phragmites is just making inroads into the interior Adirondacks, which poses a significant threat to these ecosystems while also providing an opportunity for true early detection and rapid response at a landscape scale. Mapping efforts have shown that the average patch size of a Phragmites infestation within the interior Adirondacks is under one tenth of an acre in size prior to treatment. Since 2010, out of 131 Phragmites patches managed, 37% already have no Phragmites observed as of 2012, exceeding our expectations of effective control within such a short timeframe. The first successful complete elimination (3 consecutive years of no plants observed) of a Phragmites infestation is expected to be documented in 2013.

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

For the most part, all Phragmites management is conducted via herbicide treatment. Treatments are conducted during or around the tasseling period when herbicide can be effectively translocated to the roots. The method of treatment used is usually a combination of a foliar spray using a backpack sprayer and cut stem injection using a stem injection gun. Stem injection is used around native vegetation to reduce off-target impacts, for patches with low stem density, and on spray lanes that are cut through patches that are large and dense. The herbicide product most commonly used is Aquamaster. The year after treatment, dead Phragmites stems are mowed down to stimulate native plant recovery in the once invaded site. Prior to implementation, this project was run through The Nature Conservancy’s Invasive Plant Management Decision Analysis Tool (IPMDAT) in order to help ensure that the project was feasible and would result in clear conservation benefits that outweighed the associated cost.

Who are your partners in this effort?

Primary partners include The Nature Conservancy, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Department of Transportation, and New York State Adirondack Park Agency. We also have 30+ other cooperating organizations and hundreds of volunteers.

What are your funding sources?

Primary funding for the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) comes through New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Funding for priority projects like the rapid response team which has been utilized in the park since 2011 has come from private grants and donations.

What are you goals and objectives for the program?

Our goal is to eliminate (3 consecutive years of no plants observed) at least 90% of all of the Phragmites infestations within the interior Adirondacks by 2020. At the same time we hope to increase awareness through education and outreach among the general public and our partners about Phragmites and other harmful invasive species, how they are spread, best management practices, and opportunities to mitigate impacts.

What type of land does your program target?

Wetlands, roadsides, forest preserve (forest preserve is public land protected as forever wild), stream corridors, and sometimes private property.

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

We are well on our way. Out of 131 Phragmites sites treated since 2010 utilizing our rapid response team, 37% of them are already at their first year of having no invasive plants observed. Steep declines in both gross acreage and percent cover have been documented using the program’s weed information management system (WIMS) database. Photo monitoring of all sites has also been conducted to document success. It is expected that the first successful elimination (3 consecutive years of no plants observed) of a Phragmites patch in the interior Adirondacks will be documented in 2013.

Can you share important lessons learned both about what worked and what has not worked?

– Except for extremely small sites, herbicide treatment is necessary to achieve successful elimination.
– Cut stem injection is extremely effective and reduces off target impacts significantly.
– Early detection and response is critical to completely eliminate sites. Threshold for elimination seems to be around less than 1 acre based on preliminary results.
– Treatments conducted late in the field season can be extremely successful, even up to just a couple weeks before the first hard killing frost.
– Mowing dead stems after the 1st year of treatment helps immensely in stimulating native plant recovery.
– For small isolated sites that are adjacent to native seed source populations, native plants seem to recover on their own given time and no follow up restoration or planting is necessary.
– Cooperation with local and state highway departments is critical as they are mainly responsible for the spread of Phragmites along road corridors through mowing regimes and the movement of contaminated fill.
– Cutting larger Phragmites sites multiple times a year is not effective in achieving control and can actually make the problem worse.
– You should expect to commit at least 5 years to any Phragmites management project as pesky resprouts often need to be retreated and follow-up monitoring is necessary.
– Extensive survey efforts  can expect to find Phragmites plants in larger sites even after native plants have begun to recover.

For more information check out the project website, look at this presentation, or contact 

Brendan Quirion
Terrestrial Invasive Species Project Coordinator for the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP)
[email protected]
518-576-2082

Times Beach Aquatic Plant Control

What is the geographic scope of the project?

Time Beach Nature Preserve – 31 acres along Lake Erie

Type of project

  • Direct management (i.e. spraying, burning)
  • Research

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area?

Rapid expansion of this plant has devastated aquatic, wetland, and riparian habitats throughout the nature preserve.

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

This is a five-year effort to adaptively manage Phragmites through a combination of mechanical and chemical control coupled with active restoration of native plant species.

Who are you partners in this effort?

USACE Engineer Research and Development Center, Erie County, Niagara River Remedial Action Plan (RAP), Buffalo-Niagara RIVERKEEPER, NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and Friends of Times Beach.

What are the funding sources?

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Funding through the USACE Engineer Research and Development Center’s Aquatic Plant Control Research Program.

What are the goals and objectives for the project?

This project will identify and demonstrate new and improved management strategies against invasive aquatic plants, with benefits including reducing spread of such plants, improving wetland quality and function, restoring native wetland habitats, increasing plant and animal biodiversity, minimizing impacts to threatened and endangered wetland species, supporting the delisting of the Niagara River AOC, and adding 31 acres managed for populations of invasive species controlled to a target level under the Invasive Species Focus Area Measure 2.

What type of land does your project target? 

Times Beach is a nature preserve built on a former confined disposal facility built by USACE, Buffalo District. The land, currently emergent and forested wetlands, is comprised of sediment dredged from the Federal navigation channel in the Buffalo River and Buffalo Harbor from 1972 to 1976.

Do you monitor the areas that you manage? If so, what does that entail?

Yes. Assessments based on visual inspections in the spring and fall will be conducted to determine the extent of Phragmites remaining, and to determine a treatment plan for the upcoming year to adaptively manage the Phragmites.

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

The first management activities were conducted in the fall of 2012 and included mechanical removal of Phragmitesand associated thatch.

Can you share information about challenges and lessons learned (both about what worked and what did not work)?

To be determined.  Work conducted and results of that work will be made available in the form of Corps Technical Notes/Reports.

Please provide any other information here.

Check out this September 30, 2014 article about the Times Beach restoration effort: Restoring Quality Habitat and Combating Invasive Plants at Times Beach

For additional information about the USACE Engineer Research and Development Center’s Aquatic Plant Control Program, click here or check out our recent posters: Times Beach Project Posters. You can also contact Craig Forgette, Buffalo District Project Manager.

Lake Erie Cooperative Weed Management Area

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.

beforeafter

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
[email protected]
(419)898-1595

Partners in Preservation for Invasive Species Removal

Daniel Rieland of the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust(OWLT) shares details about the Partners in Preservation for Invasive Species Removal program.

What is the geographic scope of the project?

Sheboygan, Washington, Ozaukee, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties in Southeast Wisconsin.

What type of project is this?

  • Education/outreach
  • Direct management

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area?

Phragmites is an invasive species that threatens Wisconsin wetlands and the Great Lakes.

Who are your partners in this effort? 

  • Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc. (SEWISC)
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

What are the funding sources?

EPA

What are the goals and objectives for this project?

The goal of the project is to control pioneer colonies of at least 4 invaders including but not limited to Phragmites, Purple Loosestrife, Lyme Grass, and Japanese Knotweed in six counties located along the shore of Lake Michigan in southeast Wisconsin. The project will strive to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species that are negatively impacting the region’s wetland and native habitats; and to develop an infrastructure of regional stakeholders to implement long term abatement measures to further reduce the spread or the re-occurrence of these species and other species. The project will take place in three phases which include an inventory, treatment and seeding, and an educational component to prevent recurrence. As a result, approximately 1,500 acres of wetland will be will be improved in a six county region and participating land trusts, county governments, and volunteers will receive resources for permanent success. An Important goal of this project is to organize processes, procedures and groups of people that will endure well beyond the project’s scheduled completion and encourage invasive plant control well into the future.

What type of land does your project target?

Wetland and riparian areas within the Great Lakes watershed.

Do you monitor the areas that you manage? If so, what does that entail?

Yes, the public and protected areas we will be focusing on will include areas already monitored by the OWLT or a partner organization.

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

We are currently in phase 1 of our project which entails developing an inventory of all currently identified infested areas. Within the next few weeks we will begin phase 2 which will involve in the field remediation projects.

This project is ongoing! Learn more by reading about each of the three Phases:

Phase One: Inventory and Treatment  

 to occur in the first year. Contractors will start by conducting a detailed mapping for the six counties to set a schedule for work. This inventory is needed to verify the absence of native plants that are subtly different from nuisance species. A system will be developed to prioritize sites for treatment that could include criteria such as potential threatened acres near each site, publicly accessible land or critical habitat areas threatened, and proximity to the COA project areas. Results of the field inventory will be organized in a GIS database, which will also serve to track removal efforts in Phase Two. Initial treatments will begin in locations that have been previously identified. Treatment will begin by summer or early fall 2013 using methods identified in Phase Two.

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Phase Two: Treatment of the priority sites  

to occur in the first two years of the project. Work by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in the project area has found the aquatic-approved herbicide HABITAT to be very effective (over 90%) on first-time Phragmites, Lyme Grass, and Japanese Knotweed applications during late summer. Phragmites is very susceptible to herbicide treatment after the plants have reached four feet tall and while they are actively growing by July or after the seed heads form in August. During the August and September window, plants are storing nutrients in the root system, improving uptake of the herbicide in the plant’s rhizomes. Treatment at full foliage has been found to reduce collateral damage to native species and improve restoration of native species.

Based on the inventories completed in Phase One, high priority sites will be targeted for chemical application in the first year of the project by OWLT staff and contracted licensed aquatic applicators to be selected through a competitive bidding process. Subsequent treatments will be conducted by OWLT staff and contractors for application to second and third priority sites in years two of the project period (and beyond). Subsequent treatments will allow for the opportunity to conduct follow-up applications from year one and two and provide for observation of techniques of application and contractor performance from previous applications. All treatments will be conducted in accordance with recommended procedures from the Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin (IPAW) and the standard protocols of the DNR.

As a component of Phase Two, follow up action will be taken in order to ensure lasting control of the target species. This will consist of site re-vegetation and repeat treatments on surviving invasive plants in the year following initial treatment. It has also found to be effective to use these secondary inventories to identify nearby colonies or plants missed during the initial treatment. Two hired interns and OWLT volunteers using a backpack hand sprayer unit with an on-foot, thorough inspection of each site, will conduct the follow-up treatments.

Because we know that very few disturbed areas will regenerate satisfactorily in a reasonable time without assistance, the field applicators will seed with native species according to standard best management practices for wetlands. A properly managed re-vegetation program can ensure the effective return of the land to a self-sustaining condition. The activities to reduce invasive are intended to complement other practices addressing such things as erosion control, proper drainage, and protecting the initial investment in the infrastructure. These additional activities would be conducted through separately funded projects in concert with land trust and county land manager efforts.

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Phase Three: Education and Prevention

to occur throughout the project duration. The project will include a prevention phase that will include workshops for municipal right-of-way managers and land trust professionals to encourage follow up and prevention practices. Coordination with this project will serve as the ground work to form or help expand existing regional Weed Cooperatives such as Southeast Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, with an ultimate goal of the development of an infrastructure of municipalities and volunteers that continue the ongoing follow-up spot treatment of the sites and control future outbreaks.

OWLT will develop materials with assistance from Wisconsin DNR’s Invasive Species Coordinators and input from other experts (including practices approved by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and IPAW). A Wisconsin best management practices (BMP) manual will be adapted from these resources to create easy-to-read materials specific to local invasive species threats and soil conditions for ongoing use by public and private land managers. In order to minimize cost and prevent duplication this manual will be adapted for web based use and will proved hyperlinks to BMP sources. OWLT will also develop curricula for education of private and public land managers, develop materials for education sessions, and conduct the trainings in person.

Additionally, a voluntary educational component will be added to the project to engage new volunteers and groups into this effort. OWLT will work with other non-profit partners such as The River Alliance of Wisconsin (RAW), which has developed a tool to aid in the early detection of invasive species when it is still possible to isolate or eradicate the infestation. The RAW has developed a program called Project RED (Riverine Early Detector) to tackle this issue with volunteers. The Project RED training provides participants with the necessary tools to effectively monitor river and stream banks. The protocols are easy to follow and easily translated to multiple areas and populations. Trained participants then monitor their local water body by canoe, kayak, or on foot for 15 species of concern based on a mutually agreed upon schedule and location.

Invasive Phragmites Management in the Lower Green Bay & Fox River AOC, Wisconsin

Lower Green Bay and Fox River AOC Map

Map of project location

What is the geographic scope of the project?

The shoreland areas of Green Bay and the Fox River in the cities of Green Bay, and De Pere, and the villages of Allouez and Ashwaubenon in Wisconsin.

Type of project?

  • Education/outreach
  • Direct management (i.e. spraying, burning)
  • Planning

Why is Phragmites and issue in your area?

Phragmites covers large swaths of the coastline and upstream tributaries to the Fox River. Phragmites not only impacts the coastal wetlands, but also has significantly impacted public access, recreation and property values in the area. There are several city and county parks with Phragmites stands that make it nearly impossible to walk and fish the shoreline in the summer.

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

Provide education and outreach, and collaborate on efforts to remove Phragmites via mechanical and chemical treatment with future maintenance handled by landowners.

Who are your partners in this effort?

  • WI DNR
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • UW-Green Bay
  • U.S.FWS
  • Brown County
  • TNC
  • Others

What are the funding sources?

  • EPA-GLRI

What are the goals and objectives for the project?

Work with public and private landowners to remove at least 1,500 acres of invasive Phragmites within prioritized areas guided by the expertise of an advisory council of local land management professionals. The project will seek long-term maintenance of Phragmites through landowner agreements and education/outreach efforts.

What type of land does your project target?

Shoreland areas of Green Bay and Fox River

Do you monitor the areas that you manage? If so, what does that entail?

Has not been developed yet as this will be our first Phragmites project.

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

We are just getting started.

Can you share information about challenges and lessons learned (both about what worked and what did not work)?

Yes.

For more information contact:

Angela Pierce
425 S Adams St, Suite 201
Green Bay Wisconsin, 54301
United States
[email protected]

Bay of Quinte Phragmites Search

What type of project is this?

  • Research

Who are your partners in this effort?

  • Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 

What are the funding sources for this project?

This project is part of the Great Lakes water levels research.

What are the goals and objectives for the project?

To document the occurrence of Phragmites within certain wetlands to determine if the locations and distribution is being captured within a predictive GIS model.

What type of land does your project target?

Coastal wetlands

Do you monitor the areas that you manage? If so, what does that entail?

We certainly have monitoring programs that are part of our daily operations but at this point we have not developed specific Phragmites monitoring programs.

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

We had our first trial run in the winter and we have not heard if the funding will be released for this coming winter.

 

For more information contact:

Brad McNevin
2061 Old Highway #2
R.R. #2
Belleville, Ontario
K8N4Z2, CA
[email protected]
(613)968-3434

Phragmites Control at Humber College

What is the geographic scope of the project?

Phragmites has just begun to invade small areas around the campus.  There are two ponds where the plant is beginning to grow in a localized area on the shore.  There are also two low, wet areas beside parking lots that are colonized by the plant.

Type of project?

  • Education/outreach
  • Direct management (i.e. spraying, burning)

Why is Phragmites and issue in your area?

Phragmites grows in the roadside ditches adjacent to the College. The seeds are spreading onto the campus. We wish to model good practices for sustainable horticulture and control of invasive species. The land adjacent to the College is located on the West Branch of the Humber River which is an important habitat corridor for wildlife.

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

We have had volunteers come out to remove invasive species on our location. The soil in the area is heavy clay and the use of chemical controls is not acceptable on College property. Consequently, volunteers have been cutting the plant down as close to the soil surface as possible, as often as we have volunteers present on the property.

Who are your partners in this effort?

This project is just getting started and we have had two volunteer organizations cutting the plant down, last fall and this spring.

 

What are the goals and objectives for the project?

We would like to control the plant and prevent it fro spreading any further into our ponds and ditches.

What type of land does your project target?

The plant is colonizing land at the edge of two man-made ponds and in the ditches adjacent to two of the parking lots.

Do you monitor the areas that you manage? If so, what does that entail?

Monitoring is done by staff surveying the areas where the plant is know to grow and also watching susceptible areas for the appearance of the plant in the hopes of controlling it before it becomes established.

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

It is too soon to see results. A more concentrated, organized approach is required.

Can you share information about challenges and lessons learned (both about what worked and what did not work)?

Since the plant is established in heavy clay, it is very difficult to remove the stalks. If cut too high above the soil surface, the stalks send out branching shoots. It is better to cut the plant just before the flowers begin to mature. This ensures that it will not re-bloom during the growing season.

One of our other problems is lack of staff and funding to focus on controlling this particular plant. The Humber Arboretum, adjacent to Humber College, where the Phragmites is located is a large tract of land, about 250 acres.

Please provide any other information here.

Tissue samples were sent to the Chicago Botanic Gardens and were DNA tested. The results confirmed that the specimens that are growing on our property are the exotic variety.

For more information contact:

Lynn Short
LX 115
205 Humber College Blvd.
Toronto, Ontario M9W 5L7
Canada

[email protected]

Phragmites Detection and Removal

What type of project is this? 

  • Education and outreach
  • Direct management (i.e., spraying and burning)

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area? 

Phragmites is perceived as a threat to the ecological integrity of the park and it requires active management to prevent establishment.

injecting vinegar

Experimental injection of horticultural vinegar into Phragmites rhizome. Results: it didn’t work as a method for managing Phragmites.

  • Early detection and removal (mostly with herbicide). Through active management we have prevented the establishment of Phragmites.
  • Prevention through education programs for this and other invasive species.

What are the funding sources for this project?

We use existing internal capacity and funds.

What are the goals and objectives for the project?

To maintain the parks in a Phragmites-free state.

What type of land does your project target?

National park land, including the coast of Lake Huron and interior waters.

Do you monitor the areas that you manage? If so, what does that entail?

Yes, we use directed surveys in high use areas and where invasion is most likely. In remote locations, we rely on opportunistic sightings.

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

The project is doing well. We have been able to detect and remove early colonizers.

Pre-treatmentDorcas_Bay_Post_Herbicide_and_Burn

 Before and after treatment of Phragmites

Photo credit: Scott Parker

 

For more information contact:

Scott Parker

248 Big Tub Rd.

Tobermory, Ontario

N0H2R0, CA

[email protected]

(519)596-2444

Phragmites Removal at Wymbolwood Beach

What is the geographic scope of the project?

Residential properties along Wymbolwood Beach,ON, from 450 Tiny Beaches Rd. S to 715 Tiny Beaches Rd. S.

Type of project

  • Education/outreach
  • Direct management (i.e. spraying, burning)

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area?

As the level of water in Lake Huron (specifically Georgian Bay) has been dropping over the last 15 years, the exposed beach has become colonized by Phragmites australis. It is out-competing the native species present and is forming large, dense monocultures.

How are you approaching this issue?

Individual residents are responsible for their own property. The project is promoted by the Environment Committee of the Wymbolwood Beach Association. I have been able to present information about this invasive plant at our AGM and through articles in our annual yearbook. I also walk along the beach discussing the issue with residents, encouraging them to take action against this plant.

What are the funding sources?

Individual residents are responsible for paying for the removal service or they can choose to do the work themselves.

What are the goals and objectives for the project?

We would like to control this invasive plant all along Wymbolwood Beach. This would enhance aesthetics as well as access to the shore for recreational activities.

What type of land does your project target?

Private property along Georgian Bay (Beachfront land).

Do you monitor the areas that you manage? If so, what does that entail?

I walk along the beach to observe the locations of the invasive plant. They are easily visible from the beach shore. Some residents report their progress with controlling the plant.

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

In the areas that have been managed for more than 5 years (and continue to be managed), there is good control with a minimum of effort. In areas that have been managed for 2 consecutive years, there is evidence of improvement in the reduction of Phragmites and the increase in biodiversity, including the return of frogs to these areas.

Can you share information about challenges and lessons learned (both about what worked and what did not work)?

This method is labour intensive and requires real persistence. The cut plants must be dried and burned. If left piled on the beach, the sand will eventually cover them and they will regrow and use the buried stalks as a source of nutrients. This results in a difficult situation to remove later. If an area is cleared of most of the stalks but some are left, the rhizomes seem to receive nutrients from the remaining stalks (since they are all connected) and easily regrow. It is important to remove all the stalks in an area. Removal of the stalks should be undertaken starting in mid July since, by then, most of the energy is out of the rhizomes and is in the upper stalks getting ready to flower. If cut too soon, the plant will regrow and flower. If cut later, the plant may regrow but will be unable to flower.

Please provide any additional information here.

The plant material was submitted to the Chicago Botanic Gardens last fall and was determined by DNA testing to be the exotic species.

For more information contact:

Lynn Short
36 Longfield Road
Etobicoke, Ontario M9B 3G3
Canada
[email protected]

Port Franks Community Phragmites Control Project

What is the geographic scope of the project?

Approximately 33 hectares (80 acres) of Lake Huron coastal wetlands and dunes located within the community of Port Franks.

Type of project

  • Direct management (i.e. spraying, burning)

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area?

Dense Phragmites cells have established throughout our community negatively impacting native plants and animals, blocking shoreline views, reducing property values and access for swimming, fishing and hunting. In addition it poses a potential fire hazard. This plant is significantly reducing wetland habitat for a number of species including Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern. The wetlands are recognized as Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI).

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

This is a collaborative effort of the Lambton Shores Phragmites Community Group and local agencies, the Municipality and landowners. The goal of this project is to substantially reduce the population of Phragmites in Port Franks. This is a three-phased project. Phase 1 included a well-attended community education meeting, the treatment of 2 demonstration sites in 2011, the inventory and mapping of Phragmites locations, planning meetings, one-on-one discussions with landowners, and obtaining their consent. Phase 2 involved on-the-ground actions to reduce Phragmites in accordance with the Ministry of Natural Resources Best Management Practices Manual. This entailed herbicide application, rolling and burning. Phase 3 will include reducing Phragmites in secondary priority areas, touch up treatment as needed in the primary areas and continued community outreach  and education to ensure this invasive species is not re-introduced to our community.

Before Management

Before Management

Effect of Phase 2

Effect of Phase 2

Restored Native Habitat

Restored Native Habitat

Who are your partners in this effort?

We are partnering with The Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority, Nature Conservancy Canada, the Municipality of Lambton Shores, Rural Lambton Stewardship Network, and over 60 individual private landowners.

What are the funding sources?

The total project cash cost is estimated at about CDN$64,000 and we have received cash contributions from the Municipality of Lambton Shores, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority, Nature Conservancy Canada, local beach associations and private landowners. We also received a CDN$23,000 Great Lakes Community Fund grant. In addition, we received over CDN$40,000 of in-kind contributions, such as volunteer labor, project planning and technical support.

What are the goals and objectives for the project?

Our goals and objectives include: 1)strategic eradication of Phragmites in the Port Franks community, 2) educating and empowering our community, 3) protecting our water, 4) restoring habitats to protect vulnerable species and 5) ensuring long term protection from re-infestation.

What type of land does your project target?

Lake Huron shoreline (coastal dunes), coastal wetlands and river corridors.

Do you monitor the areas that you manage? If so, what does that entail?

We do. Success will be determined by: 1) the reduction of Phragmites, 2) by the re-population of infested lands with native plants, 3) increased community engagement, 4) the involvement of volunteers and 5) increasing the number of partnerships with other agencies and organizations. Measurement parameters include: hectares (acres) of patches and kilometres (miles) of shoreline with reduced or eliminated Phragmites, number of citizens participating in control program and observations of wildlife including Species At Risk within the restored habitats and throughout our community.
A Monitoring Template (in development) will be used by community based volunteers to record and report observations on a coordinated and systematic basis.

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

We are now in Phase 3 of the project, doing touch up work and developing observation tools. Visually, in the areas we have treated, a significant reduction of Phragmites has occurred and native plants and grasses and wildlife are re-appearing. Where Phragmites has re-appeared, the density of plants per square meter is substantially reduced. Recreational activities have noticeably increased.

Can you share information about challenges and lessons learned (both about what worked and what did not work)?

Restrictions regarding herbicide use:
• Presently in Canada there are no safe herbicides legally available to control Phragmites in or near water nor the option to apply aerially where appropriate
• Funding opportunities are extremely limited and many grants will not support the use of herbicides for Phragmitescontrol
• Public awareness about the Phragmites threat and required control methods using herbicides is not at the level it should be
• If the Phragmites control initiatives were not undertaken by the local Conservation Authority a Letter of Opinion had to be obtained and the lack timely approval for this permit greatly hampered control efforts
Securing Permits from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) created our first challenge.
• We have applied for a Letter of Opinion (exemption from the Pesticide Act) on 2 occasions. The first application was delayed at the MNR office and we missed the opportunity to begin the restoration and had to wait another year which resulted in the Phragmites gaining a stronger foothold and costing more.
• The second permit (applied for 6 months previous to the work) was obtained at the last minute only because we asked for the support of our local Member of Parliament.
• We also learned that we needed to request a longer period of time in our applications to allow for touch up (5 years is recommended).
• There must be more of an understanding by the MNR of the narrow window to treat the plant. Engaging our local MPP has helped.
• A solution to this could be partnering with your local Conservation Authority as acting for the MNR, they can oversee the work.
• Each Municipality has specific fire permit regulations and in our area a permit to conduct a controlled Phragmitesburn was only valid for 2 weeks. This window was not sufficient to allow for weather, fire specialist crew availability, and wildlife considerations. Therefore numerous permit applications had to be submitted. A solution to this would be to negotiate for a longer permit.

Education is very important throughout all phases of the project. Some examples of things that worked for us are:
• Having representatives from our Community Group on site when work was being done to answer questions and provide information.
• Hosting Community Information Sessions (partnering with Conservation Authority/Municipality)
• With the support of the Municipality, sending out a newsletter with tax notices which provided general information, suggested what property owners could do to prevent Phragmites from spreading and provided contact information.
• We also provided progress reports to the community at various stages of the work.
• The demonstration project provided a visual reference for residents.
• We also offered to do presentations for community organizations: Rotary International, Probus, Garden Clubs, Beach Associations, Carolinian Canada Workshop for Landowners etc.
• We engaged local media and our government representatives by organizing on- site visits.
• We organized a training opportunity for municipal, county and conservation authority front line staff as well as local contractors.
• We are currently working on information signage to be posted throughout the community
• We are also considering developing a Phragmites Control Program newsletter
• We have noticed through this Project that the community is now more active and engaged in stewardship and protection of our natural heritage and there appears to be an increase in community spirit
• We have also provided a model for other communities to follow and residents have been very active in sharing our knowledge and experience

The lack of funding for projects such as ours has presented a huge challenge. Even though recognized as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest, no money was available through the Provincial Ministry of Natural Resources or the Federal Government. The Municipality, Conservation Authority, Nature Conservancy Canada and landowners did contribute but had we not received assistance through the Great Lake Community Guardian Fund (GLCG) we would not have been successful in this project. We were granted GLCG funds because we had completed the herbicide application and were not requesting money for this component of the restoration. The fact that grants will often not support the use of herbicides continues to present a challenge. One idea that we are pursuing is to apply for research grants.

We need to enable landowners to deal with Phragmites on their property. At this time, the plant is not listed as a noxious weed and therefore it continues to spread.

For more information please contact:

Nancy Vidler
10039 Wedd Rd.
Port Franks, Ontario N0M 2L0
Canada
(519)243-2562
[email protected]

Wasaga Beach Provincial Parks Stewardship Program

What type of project is this?

  • Education and outreach
  • Direct management

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area?
Wasaga Beach, Ontario’s longest freshwater beach, is facing multiple threats that affect its overall health and sustainability. Invasive species, like Phragmites, are threatening native species habitat, out-competing native vegetation and aggressively overtaking the beachfront. The decline in native beach vegetation is affecting the ability of dunes to form and persist, causing the non-renewable ancient sand to erode from this relict beach, and disappear from the system.

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

A three-year Phragmites Action Plan (2009-2011) was successful in identifying the best management options for Wasaga Beach Provincial Park (WBPP). Using the information collected from this three-year study, WBPP will continue the on-going management of invasive P. australis on the beachfront. Current locations of invasive P. australis stands will be identified and mapped using GPS. Removal of seed heads followed by stem cutting will occur in July, before seeds can spread and when most of the plants carbohydrate reserves are in the aerial portion of the plant. Herbicide application will occur in late fall, before the plants become dormant and after peak tourist season. Two to three weeks following the herbicide application treatment areas will be monitored again to assess success and determine need for re-spray. Appropriate signage and notifications will be posted to inform the public of herbicide application following the Pesticide Act and Ontario Parks policy. Control of P. australis will need to be performed every year due to the aggressive nature of this species and the connectivity of the Wasaga Beach shores to those neighboring it (Tiny, ON).

Who are your partners in this effort?

  • Ontario Parks
  • Ministry of Natural Resources
  • The Friends of Nancy Island & Wasaga Beach Park
  • Nottawasaga Conservation Authority
  • The Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation
  • The Town of Wasaga Beach
  • Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters

What are your funding sources?

We receive the majority of our funding from Ontario Parks. We have also submitted applications for external funding from:

  • Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem
  • Great Lakes Guardian Fund
  • Lake Simcoe/Southeastern Georgian Bay Clean-up fund

What are the goals and objectives for the project?

  1. Invasive Species Monitoring and Control. Phragmites will be surveyed, managed and controlled throughout the Wasaga Beach beachfront. This in turn will prevent further spread of invasive species, protecting native species and their habitat as well as providing available habitats for native species to establish. 
  2. Dune Restoration and Shore Stabilization. Through support and community involvement this project will help create and maintain dunes, an essential formation in beach ecosystems. This will provide protection of the beach habitat, native species, stabilize the shore and prevent the non-renewable sand from eroding.
  3. Shoreline Cleanup. Performing shoreline cleanups through community involvement and program support the ecosystem will be protected, eliminating the risks garbage and waste pose to wildlife, human health, and water quality.
  4.  Development of a Beach Stewardship Committee. Development of this committee will bring the community together, giving them a chance to discuss and share their opinions and advice towards beach stewardship and the stewardship projects in place at WBPP.
  5. Generate public education and outreach materials. Providing the community with reading materials and an updated website on local stewardship initiatives will provide them with information on these topics including how they can contribute and get involved. Educating the Wasaga Beach community on beach management, the importance of stewardship and the projects in place at WBPP will build community support, enhancing our ability to protect, conserve and maintain a healthy and sustainable beach ecosystem.

For more information contact, 

Laurel Finney

Wasaga Beach Provincial Park
11-22nd Street North
Wasaga Beach, Ontario L9Z 2V9
Canada
[email protected]
(705)429-2516

St. Thomas Phragmites Control Committee

What is the geographic scope of your project?

All lands located within the incorporated city of St. Thomas, Ontario.

What type of project is this? 

  • Direct management
  • Education and Outreach
  • Planning

Why is Phragmites an issue in your area? 

Phragmites has been growing around lakes, along streams and rivers, along the road, Hydro corridors, and at intersections.

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

Please see the presentations below:

St. Thomas Plan of Action Plan Cover Image

2016 Council Report

 

Who are your partners in this effort?

  • City of St. Thomas and Doug Tarry Homes – year 1
  • City of St. Thomas – subsequent years
  • Parks and rec., Roads, Fire and Police Services

What are the funding sources?

  • City of St. Thomas and Doug Tarry Homes – year 1
  • City of St. Thomas – subsequent years

What are your goals and objectives for the program?

Phrag Free City by 2020

What type of land does your program target?

All public and private lands within the city

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

Year 1 tremendous success with mass spraying around lake. No spraying permitted over water.

Can you share important lessons learned both about what worked and what did not work?

Continual lobbying of Federal Health Ministry to approve a safe over water pesticide to eradicate Phragmites

For more information contact:

David Collins
166 Lake Margaret Trail
St.Thomas, Ontario, N5R 6L8
Canada

[email protected]

(519) 633-4572

Lambton Shores, Ontario

Providing regional coordination for local management

GLPC Editor’s Note: This case study showcases locally-focused management that is supported by a volunteer-led regional coordinating body. This model is most applicable for groups that are able to spend time communicating and building relationships among local government officials and community members.

Authors: Nancy Vidler and Bill MacDonald

Lambton Shores is located along the south-eastern coastline of Like Huron

In 2009, when non-native Phragmites appeared on the Port Franks beach in southwest Ontario, two beach associations got together to form the Lambton Shores Phragmites Community Group (LSPCG). The LSPCG initiated a regional strategy to manage non-native Phragmites throughout the Municipality of Lambton Shores (MLS), a 331 square kilometer area located in the southeast basin of Lake Huron. This area contains many provincially significant and globally rare natural habitats including coastal dunes and wetlands, Carolinian core forest, and oak savannah that the LSPCG wants to protect from invasion by non-native Phragmites.

Large monoculture stands of non-native Phragmites are present along the Lake Huron shoreline, interior wetlands, roadsides, agricultural ditches and drains, lagoons, golf courses and parks. As of 2015, over 323 acres of coastal shorelines and 167 km (105 miles) of roadsides were infested. Due to the extensive area, diverse land ownership, multiple jurisdictions, and differing stages of non-native Phragmites management, the MLS was divided into seven Phragmites Management Areas (PMAs). For some PMAs, restoration programs are already well underway while other have only just initiated management. Overall, the LSPCG initiated remediation work on over 300 acres by the end of 2014.

The LSPCG was recognized by the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change with an Honourable Mention for Environmental Achievement in 2013, and by Lambton Wildlife Inc., and the Lambton County Museum for its achievements. The group also received Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority’s 2016 Conservationist of the Year award.

ABCA Conservationist New

Eleven components for successful projects within the MLS:

  1. understand the scope of the problem,
  2. establish of a Program Coordinator position,
  3. acquire sufficient funds,
  4. implement of an education program,
  5. engage the local community,
  6. use appropriate initial control techniques and follow up as necessary,
  7. establish a long term control program,
  8. track activities, efficacy, success, and challenges,
  9. list non-native Phragmites as a noxious weed
  10. expand the control program outside of the Municipal jurisdiction, and
  11. obtain herbicides appropriate and legal for overwater use.
Non-native Phragmites stands were identified throughout the community. Map by Lindsay Hayes

Partnerships and Administration


LS-LogoThe LSPCG is a grass-roots organization led by eight volunteer board members, formalized under a Terms of Reference, and supported by a resource team that includes a wetland ecologist, a contractor well known in the area for specializing in sensitive habitats, and the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation. Initiative partners include landowners, homeowners associations, non-profit organizations, local and provincial agencies, First Nations, and private corporations. Local communities impacted by non-native Phragmites are engaged through LSPCG subcommittees that include local volunteers that help form neighbourhood connections, monitor treatment areas, and organize other volunteers.

The volunteer LSPCG board members currently coordinate the program for the MLS. To reduce volunteer burn-out and ensure the long-term performance of the program, LSPCG recommended that this position should be taken up by an employee of the MLS. Eventually, the goal is for the subcommittees to be able to function with more self-sufficiency, with background support, materials, and coordination maintained centrally.

Though landowners that are uninterested in participating in the program remain a challenge, this broad partner base facilitates cost-sharing for community events, resource and skill sharing through in-kind services, and assistance with broader outreach to the community. It also gives credibility to the larger organization, improves trust among members, and reduces red-tape when applying for permits.

Partnership Example: Community Information Sessions

LSPCG identified the need for community information sessions and developed a grant application to the Grand Bend Community Foundation. The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) prepared the application with LSPCG’s assistance and signed as the applicant. The ABCA’s Communication Specialist developed media releases and flyers. LSPCG arranged the speakers, including the President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, a Nature Conservancy Canada representative, the Mayor of Lambton Shores, a Drainage Superintendent from a neighbouring community, and a local area farmer. The MLS and the Grand Bend Community Health Centre donated their facilities, and local farmers and businesses donated door prizes for the events. Local newspapers gave news coverage.

In 2014, MLS adopted the Invasive Phragmites Management Plan, a formal, long-term plan to guide management in the region. The LSPCG has helped improve the coordination of management across boundaries despite jurisdictional issues and low provincial engagement. A meeting between county and municipal managers and roadside superintendents in 2012, led to significant improvements in coordination; the MLS and county began hiring the same contractor and committed money ($30,000  and $150,000 respectively between 2013 and 2015) to manage roadside populations.

Because the LSPCG is not a registered organization, partner organizations must serve as the applicants when applying for grant funding. Grants are typically sought individually for each project site, and applying for grants is an ongoing task. While grants provide significant resources, they come with several challenges. Some grants have inflexible dates and do not allow funds to be carried over into the next fiscal year, despite variable weather and site conditions that may not be conducive for the required activities in the given time period. Many of the grants LSPCG partners have received have been limited to one year, and some did not fund herbicide application.  Additional funding provided by donations from partners has been critical for the maintenance work needed in subsequent years.

Section of dense Phragmites that had been cut along the Lake Huron shoreline at Kettle Point. Photo courtesy of Janice Gilbert

Controlling a patch of non-native Phragmites within a sensitive coastal dune on Port Franks beach using a hand pump backpack sprayer. Photo courtesy of LSPCG

Management Objectives

With a broad partnership base (see Partnerships and Administration), a number of management objectives surfaced. Initially, homeowners focused on reducing the potential impacts of non-native Phragmites on property values. As the partnership expanded, the focus grew to reducing the impacts on sensitive coastal dunes and wetlands, which are environmentally and economically significant to this area.

The LSPCG uses a regional approach with the ultimate goal of a “Phragmites Free” municipality, and partners use direct management and community engagement to work toward this end. The objectives are to: control monoculture stands of non-native Phragmites along the Lake Huron shoreline and in wetlands, control the spread through vectors such as roadside ditches and drains, remove fire and traffic hazards, and eliminate harmful or ineffective management techniques.

Accomplishing these objectives will restore recreational use, aesthetics, valuable ecosystems, and native plant diversity, and will positively impact wetland-dependent species, including a number of Species at Risk. Including a focus on the MLS’s economic bases of tourism, recreation, and agriculture helps engage a broad sector of the community. However, a lack of available management tools (wetland-safe herbicides), the high cost of management, and a limited feeling of shared responsibility create challenges to achieving the ultimate goal.

Prioritization

Management Plan was prepared by a wetland ecologist and the chair of the LSPCG with significant input from landowners and partners. It was adopted by the MLS council and endorsed by the local Conservation Authority. It identifies separate priorities and suggests a progression for the management of non-native Phragmites within each PMA, so that work within individual PMAs can move forward as funding is available. This plan, adopted in year 5 of the partnership, provided the needed guidance to help move management forward, and continues to serve as a guide for local actions.

Landscape-scale management prioritization principles are central to the plan. They include managing outliers at the same time as treating large infestations, maintaining a follow-up regimen, reducing opportunities for spread, and protecting sensitive habitats. The plan also considers feasibility, such as the potential for partner involvement and coping with the lack of approved herbicide for over-water treatment.

Confusion regarding land ownership as well as large properties owned by developers or farmers who have no immediate interest in restoring the shoreline reduce the ability to follow through with all of the recommended prioritizations.

Location of the initial Phragmites control efforts undertaken on the Port Frank’s shoreline. Image courtesy of Janice Gilbert

Lake Huron shoreline in West Bosanquet showing areas where Phragmites is being controlled and where it is not controlled. Image courtesy of Janice Gilbert

Policy and Regulations

Different management activities conducted within the MLS have different requirements and permits:

Activity Requirement
Herbicide Use Letter of Opinion from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (possibly waved if the Conservation Authority is involved with the project, exempt on agricultural land)
Burning (over 1 square meter) Open Air Burn Permit from the Municipality of Lambton Shores, valid for one day, must be submitted two days in advance
Burning on Crown land (Federally owned) Low Complexity Prescribed Burn Plan  from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Volunteers become “Certified Technicians” or “Licensed Applicators” to apply herbicide Certification obtained through online education program and field-work overseen by licensed applicator. Must work under the Conservation Authority or a licensed contractor to have insurance and liability coverage
Management conducted on private property Permission provided by the property owner

Delays for required letters or permissions have caused delays of a year in initiating some projects, resulting in larger infested areas and higher project costs. Because of unpredictable weather conditions, burn permit requirements are burdensome, often resulting in multiple permit application submissions for a single project.

Non-native Phragmites is not on the MLS’s noxious weed list, so property owners are not legally compelled to remove it.

ettle and Stony Point First Nation volunteer fire department burning cut Phragmites along Shawshawanda Creek, April 2013. Photo courtesy of Janice Gilbert

This fact sheet describes non-native Phragmites and how the LSPCG is working to combat it.

Communication and Outreach

Outreach has been a critical component of the LSPCG’s work because of the project scope, level of infestation, visibility of the work, lack of initial awareness among MLS residents, and because chemicals are used. Providing answers to questions and concerns and serving as a trusted source of accurate information has helped lead to a successful program.

Initially, MLS council members and other members of the government were unaware of the issue of non-native Phragmites, so the LSPCG presented to council on several occasions to educate, update, and request support from members. One council member was enlisted to attend LSPCG meetings, and municipal and council staff were invited to attend site visits. The LSPCG also set up meetings and site visits with members of the Provincial and Federal governments, and representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Lambton County Public Works, and local media.

In the first few years of the project, the LSPCG offered four community information sessions. They were advertised with press releases and received media coverage, further spreading their educational reach. LSPCG members also presented at local community group meetings such as Rotary and interest-based clubs, garden and horticultural societies, and beach or cottage associations. The group assisted in the preparation of educational pieces including Smart Practices for Controlling Phragmites along Ontario Roadsides, and prepared the fact sheet Controlling Phragmites australis in Agricultural and Rural Areas.

LSPCG members identified over 125 privately owned parcels along waterways which contained non-native Phragmites. They then visited property owners to provide information about the project and obtain permission for herbicide application and controlled burns. Additionally, an educational piece was mailed to all MLS residents with their tax notices.

To help train field staff, such as those from municipalities, non-profits, and private businesses, the LSPCG partnered with the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation and the Ontario Phragmites Working Group to develop and deliver training opportunities that focus on identification and appropriate management techniques. Additionally, one partner developed monitoring sheets, which are widely used throughout the MLS.

Finally, a highly visible demonstration project was initiated on Mosquito Island at the mouth of the Ausable River to showcase successful management and increase awareness of the issue.

Strong communication efforts have made a significant contribution to the success of the program. It has ensured area residents have accurate information from the beginning and has allowed them to have their concerns addressed

This presentation was prepared by the Port Franks Beach Homeowners Association and Windsor Park Association

Grand Bend community members participated in a) a Phragmites identification workshop, b) backpack control training for Phragmites in sensitive areas, c) control of dense Phragmites cell, and d) assessing controlled patch for signs of re-growth. Photos courtesy of J. McDonald

Mosquito Island demonstration site, August 2010

Management

Management techniques used throughout the MLS are site specific and take a landscape scale approach. The Management Plan for the MLS describes recommended methods of control, outlines a management schedule and associated costs, and specifies long-term management strategies for each of seven Phragmites Management Areas. Contingency plans are included in the recommendations, allowing quick adjustments to control activities when site conditions change, without having to go back and seek partner approval. The Management Plan follows the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Best Management Practices, which helps build confidence in the approaches. For large sites, a contractor specializing in restoring sensitive habitats, and a burn specialist were hired.

The Invasive Phragmites Management Plan for the MLS contains specific recommendations for each Phragmites Management Area

Handwicking invasive Phragmites along the Lake Huron shoreline. Photo courtesy of D. Jacobs

Typically, large, dense monoculture stands are first sprayed with herbicide in August or September, usually from a retrofitted track vehicle, and then are rolled and burned in the next dormant season, from November to March. This timeline reduces negative impacts to native plants, reptiles and amphibians, avoids disturbing birds during critical nesting and fledging seasons (typically April-July), and reduces conflicts with the tourist season. Follow-up treatments are conducted as needed after the initial year of spraying. Lower-density areas are controlled with backpack crews. Volunteers, including some certified technicians, assist with backpack spraying and hand wicking on smaller cells and where follow-up treatments are required. Property owners also help by cutting seed heads or spading (or see Wymbolwood: Management). An airboat is used to control non-native Phragmites along the boat channels and to access islands because this type of boat reduces potential harm to mussels and turtles, which could be hit by prop motors.

Prior to using herbicide for management, manual methods of removal were used and found to be both unsuccessful and labour intensive. After the first year of herbicide treatment, most sites have had 85-95% reductions in non-native Phragmites cover and significant returns of native vegetation.

In Canada, non-native Phragmites in standing water cannot be controlled using herbicide due to the lack of a legally available products, so these areas are cut or rolled to stress the plants and dampen further establishment, spread, and seed head development. However, high lake levels in 2013 and 2014 hampered efforts to restore large sections of Lake Huron meadow marsh, and during the 2014-2015 winter, large iced-over Lake Huron sites were unable to be rolled or burned due to greater than usual snow depths and unsuitable burn conditions. The lack of available herbicides for managing non-native Phragmites in standing water means that some stands that should be high priorities are not managed.

An unsuccessful control effort using tarps. Photo courtesy of Janice Gilbert

These patches were not controlled due to wet conditions. Image courtesy of Janice Gilbert

Monitoring

Site conditions are measured before and after management activities to ensure outcomes are quantified and the response to restoration efforts can be measured. A wetland ecologist conducts the majority of monitoring activities, sampling several one-square-meter plots at each site for non-native Phragmites density, vegetation richness, plant diversity, wildlife observations, floristic quality index values, water depth, and soil composition. Specific measures of non-native Phragmites are also taken, including number of live and dead stalks, height, and number of seed-heads. Community volunteers assist in monitoring by using standard monitoring sheets to track plant and animal biodiversity, measure the percent change in non-native Phragmites cover, and maintain site photos. Monitoring provides information to support future grant applications and assist in adapting management practices (see Data and Information Integration), and tracking results helps maintain motivation among community members.

Volunteers use monitoring forms to report on the status of managed sites.

New shoots of invasive Phragmites plants growing out of the rhizome from one parent plant. Photo courtesy of Janice Gilbert

Data and Information Integration

Each year, a wetland ecologist provides a detailed report for each PMA that includes project scope, control actions undertaken (what action, when, by whom), control costs, site conditions before and after management actions (see Monitoring), and recommended program alterations for required future actions based on the ecosystem response to management. These reports are made publicly available and provide an opportunity for LSPCG members to track the progress of the program and plan for the next year of management and monitoring activities. This ensures partners are kept informed of progress, management insights are shared, and resources are used wisely on follow-up treatments. In addition, having this information assists with future grant applications

Thank you!

The GLPC would like to thank the following case study authors and contributors for their hard work and commitment to a great product.

Nancy Vidler
Board Chair
Lambton Shores Phragmites Community Group

Bill MacDonald
Board Member
Lambton Shores Phragmites Community Group

Email the LSPCG at [email protected] or connect on twitter @LSPCG

Janice Gilbert, Ph.D.
Gilbert and Associates Wetland and Aquatic Ecosystem Specialists
[email protected]

Mentor Marsh, Ohio

Mentor Marsh, Ohio

Author: Hal Terry

Background

Mentor Marsh is an 800-plus acre wetland located in the city of Mentor, Ohio. For many years, it was home to a diverse set of plants. However, during the 1960s, a large amount of waste was dumped into this marsh. Following this, there was a sharp decline in native plant populations. Following this elimination, invasive Phragmites took over the 800-plus acre marsh. With the Phragmites also came an increase in fire hazards. Since the 80s, there have been 12 major fires at this site, expending millions of dollars to battle these fires.

Following the last major fire, managers had to rebuild the marsh’s boardwalk, which was lost in the fire. When assessing the needs for rebuilding, managers sought to expand the boardwalk. To accomplish this expansion, Phragmites were removed from the surrounding area. Once Phragmites were removed from this area, native plant life was able to return to the land. After observing this, the Museum of Natural History began to create a plan to eliminate Phragmites and restore native wildlife.

 

Impacts of flammable Phragmites 

Partnerships and Administration

The Mentor Marsh is managed by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, who is collaborating with the Lake County Soil and Water Conservation district. Other organizations have also provided funding to this restoration project, such as Sustain Our Great Lakes and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. As for the work force, contractors and even volunteers have aided these restoration efforts. Thanks to these efforts, by 2017, more than 19,000 plants have been placed into this marsh.

 

Funding for Mentor Marsh (Courtesy of Lake County, OH)
Click to expand image

Management Objectives

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History strives to restore the Mentor Marsh’s biodiversity after years of occupation by Phragmites. The first step of this process is to eliminate Phragmites from this area. By removing this invasive species, native plant life will have an opportunity to return to this area, since they are no longer out-competed. To aid this return, native plant seeds will be placed throughout the marsh. Once native plant life has returned, the Museum of Natural History museum hopes that animals that use native plants as habitats will also return.

 

After a selective removal of non-native Phragmites along Wymbolwood Beach, evening primrose is the dominant species on this property. Image courtesy of WBA.

Methods

To combat the Phragmites, several methods were used, such as herbicides and cutting. For herbicide use, the Cleveland Museum of Natural history utilized a glyphosate-based herbicide commercially known as AquaNeat. This herbicide, when used in low concentrations, posed no threat to sensitive wildlife in these wetlands. The museum used AquaNeat in 2% concentrations to ensure no damage occurred. Herbicide application was completed through aerial and ground-based sprays. For on the ground spraying, vehicles such as a Marsh Master and Argo were used, in addition to backpack spray units for sensitive vegetation. Once herbicide application was completed, amphibious marsh buggies were used to cut down the invasive species. Following the elimination of phragmites, native plants were then seeded, from both helicopters and on foot. Aerial seeding consisted of 200 million seeds covered about 40 acres of the marsh.

Policy and Regulations

To use herbicide, the Museum of Natural History had to utilize an EPA approved aquatic herbicide. In addition to this, aerial application was used to reduce the concentration of AquaNeat. People were also notified of applications via social media, public messages, mail, and signs at the Mentor Marsh. 

 

Aerial Restoration in Mentor Marsh (The News Herald)
(Click to expand image)

Communication and Outreach

While restoration was underway, the Museum of Natural History reached out to the public. For example, local news posted several articles detailing the process. In addition to this, the Museum of Natural History posted videos to YouTube, which detailed the history of Mentor Marsh. Lastly, with herbicide application, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History informed the public about the herbicide and when the application would occur. 

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History continues to promote events for Mentor Marsh. With a Facebook page that has over 4000 likes, support for the Mentor Marsh continues to aid its wildlife. The city of Mentor has distributed several videos to the public detailing the history and management of this marsh. Since these restoration initiatives have been placed, there has been an increase in the biodiversity of native wildlife. For example, bird diversity has seen a resurgence. To aid awareness of this, several programs are monitoring the presence of rare species, such as the bald eagle. This has encouraged visits to the Marsh for bird watching, increasing engagement with the public within this marsh.

 
 

Mentor Marsh’s History and Restoration (Cleveland Museum of Natural History)

Monitoring

Restoration is still undergoing at this marsh. To determine if these efforts are successful at restoring biodiversity, monitoring includes the observation of new species, such as frogs or birds.

 

Big Marsh Restoration in Chicago

Big Marsh Restoration in Chicago

Author: Hal Terry

Background

Big Marsh is a wetland located in southeast Chicago. A part of the Calumet greater network of wetlands, this marsh was once home to hemimarsh, which provided essential habitat to the wildlife in this area. Big Marsh is home to black-crowned night heron, whose rookeries were first discovered in 1985. However, in 1999, water levels rose, and these birds left this habitat. This was a result of being located near other drainage sites, which also removed wetlands from Big Marsh. However, native vegetation and water quality have both declined in recent decades. As native wildlife disappeared, invasive species began to take over the area.

Previous history of the site includes the usage of it as a dump site. Another consequence of being in a heavily industrialized city can be seen in its proximity to railroads and factories. It was during this time that the wetland was filled with the steel industry’s slag, reaching depths up to 15 feet and taking up 88 acres of the 300 acres in the area.

In 2011, the Chicago Park District gained ownership of this land. When the district received this land, it consisted of open water, wetlands, and exposed slag. Soon afterwards, a restoration plan was put together for 190 acres of the marsh. This restoration plan included the alteration of hydrology, removal of invasive species, and reintroduction of native plants.

 

History of Industrial Filling in the Calumet Region

Partnerships and Administration

The Calumet Wetland Working Group, formed in 2015, aims to restore the various wetlands that are located throughout the city of Chicago. The Calumet Wetland Working Group consists of major stakeholders in the area: Audubon Great Lakes, The Chicago Park District, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Nature Conservancy, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Funding was received through the Coastal Zone Management Act by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Management Program.

 

Participating Parties in the Wetlands Initiative
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Management Objectives

In the past few decades, invasive species of Phragmites has dominated the marsh, leading to a decrease in native plant life. With this decrease also came a decline in local birds, who require native plants to for nesting and foraging. Conversely, the diversity of these birds also serves as an indicator for the wetlands’ health. Through the restoration of these wetlands, there can be an increase in the diversity of animals that occupy this land. For example, with the reintroduction of native plant life, a more diverse bird population has an opportunity to return and nest in this area

The goals of this restoration include:

  • Establish regular water, habitat, and bird monitoring by 2020
  • Adapt site management based on monitoring results by 2020
  • Coordinate invasive species control at a regional scale by 2022
  • Implement restoration plans across 13 high-priority sites by 2025
 

After a selective removal of non-native Phragmites along Wymbolwood Beach, evening primrose is the dominant species on this property. Image courtesy of WBA.

Methods

To accomplish this restoration, different practices were utilized, such as herbicide application, burning, and water level manipulation. Initial treatment began in 2015, where water control structures were installed throughout Big Marsh to manipulate water levels. Herbicide application consisted of the aerial spraying of imazapyr throughout the ecosystem. Following this, controlled burning was completed throughout the entire site in 2016. Since this application, ongoing management has consisted of spraying where needed, in addition to another aerial spray of hemi-marsh areas. Following the removal of Phragmites, CPD planted 5000 tree saplings and 20,000 native grasses and flowers into this area.

This project will also upgrade a poorly functioning water control structure at Big Marsh, the largest individual wetland within Chicago’s Calumet Open Space Reserve. Herons, egrets, and other birds use this wetland. The project will reconnect Hegewisch Marsh, Indian River Marsh, Heron Pond, and Hyde Lake Wetlands into a single water flow management unit, thereby helping prevent floodwater damage to bird rookeries and industrial roadways; lessening habitat fragmentation; and improving the ecosystem function.

 

Aerial Restoration in Big Marsh
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Communication and Outreach

Outreach can be found from the Friends of Big Marsh. This organization regularly promotes events occurring at this marsh, such as bike rides and invasive species removal volunteering. In addition to this, a blog is run throughout the year, highlighting news such as volunteers who have helped out at Big Marsh. 

Big Marsh is also home to a recently developed bike park. By establishing this area, the Chicago Park District is using Big Marsh as a form of eco-recreation. In addition to this, the Chicago Park District is developing a new environmental center on Big Marsh. The goal of this new center is to show Big Marsh’s cultural and environmental capability. By encouraging people to spend time in nature, the Chicago Park District hopes to highlight the importance of nature throughout local communities.

 
 

Big Marsh Bike Park (Friends of Big Marsh)

Monitoring

Restoration is still undergoing at this marsh. In the years since this treatment, there has been a significant shift in the ecosystem. What was once dominated by Phragmites is now home to plants such as milkweed and animals such as the monarch butterfly. To determine if these efforts are successful at restoring biodiversity, monitoring includes the observation of native bird and plant populations. 

Read Full Case Studies »

Big Marsh Restoration in Chicago

Creative approaches to restoration and habitat generation at a highly contaminated site. 

Detroit River-W. Lake Erie CWMA

Using long-term monitoring to build partnerships and set management priorities.

Lambton Shores, Ontario

Providing regional coordination for local management.

PhragNet

Chicago Botanical Garden’s project that specializes in education, planning, and research

Lake George Wetlands Restoration Project

Lake George of Indiana’s restoration focusing on herbicide application, mowing, and seeding of native plants. 

Beaver Island Invasive Species Initiative

Michigan’s Beaver Island and associated education, herbicide, and burning against Phragmites

Belleville Ecology Club

Belleville’s High School Ecology Club focuses on education and some seed burning. 

Emmet County Phragmites Treatment

Emmet County’s outreach, direct management, planning, and policy in relation to Phragmites

The Midwest Invasive Species Information Network

Networking between parties affected by Phragmites

Northeast Michigan Cooperative Weed Management Area

Connecting northeastern Michigan to resolve Phragmites

Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network

Connecting Northwestern Michigan to resolve Phragmites

Phragmites Management in Grand Traverse County

Managing Phragmites in Grand Traverse Counties

Ottawa County Invasive Phragmites Control Group

Networking between parties affected by Phragmites in Ottowa County

Applying a Microbial Approach to Phragmites Control

Research into managing Phragmites with microbes. 

Anchor Bay & St. Clair Flats Phragmites Control and Education Project

Educating, outreach, and direct management in Lake St. Clair, Michigan

A Baseline and Standardized Method for Monitoring the Treatment and Control of Invasive Phragmites

Research focusing on standardized monitoring and treatment for Phragmites in Sagninaw Bay, Wisconsin.

Phragmites Identification

Identifying Phragmites at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge. 

Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program

Educating, outreach, and direct management in Lake St. Clair, Michigan

Times Beach Aquatic Plant Control

Direct Management and research in Times Beach, New York.

Partners in Preservation for Invasive Species Removal

Education and direct management in Sheboygan, Washington, Ozaukee, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha Counties, Wisconsin 

Invasive Phragmites Management in the Lower Green Bay & Fox River AOC, Wisconsin

Education, outreach, and direct management in Lower Green Bay and Fox River, Wisconsin

Bay of Quinte Phragmites Search

Research in the Bay of Quinte’s Phragmites

Lake Erie CWMA

Hunting clubs and other private landowners combining resources and expertise to achieve coordinated Phragmites control

Wymbolwood Beach, Ontario

Meeting the challenge of managing on a small scale without herbicide