Cooperative Weed Management Areas Factsheet

Project Summary

Progress toward restoring coastal marshes throughout the Great Lakes has been significantly undermined by the proliferation of non-native, invasive species. For Western Lake Erie coastal wetlands, one of the most ruinous threats is the spread of non-native Common Reed (Phragmites australis). Phragmites alters the environment of wetlands by:

  • Excluding native species
  • Reducing plant diversity
  • Modifying coastal processes

Consequently, near monotypic stands of this invasive plant have replaced high quality, complex communities over thousands of acres in Western Lake Erie wetlands and coastal areas.

Through a collaborative effort, Phragmites will be eradicated on approximately 1,200 acres of coastal wetlands within the Western Lake Erie Basin. This project is unique in that the partners have established a mechanism for long-term eradication after initial control has taken place through the use of a Marsh Master amphibious vehicle. This 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.

  • Phase I: Initial herbicide application
  • Phase II: Follow-up mechanical treatment and/or prescribed fire
  • Phase III: Spot-treatment of sites where Phragmites re-growth occurs
  • Phase IV: Additional management techniques (e.g., water level manipulation) as appropriate where infrastructure exists.

The Nature Conservancy is establishing Cooperative Weed Management Areas with these key partners: Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the EPA-Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Contact: Chris May | 517.316.2274

 

Back to Western Lake Erie Coastal Conservation Strategy