Invasive Species

PHRAGThe Watershed Center is the lead organization in Grand Traverse County for controlling invasive Phragmites in the Grand Traverse Bay watershed.

Phragmites australis, also known as common reed, is a perennial, wetland grass that can grow up to 16 feet tall. While some species are native, an invasive, non-native variety is becoming widespread and threatening the ecological health of lakes, wetlands and the Great Lakes coastal shoreline.

According to the Michigan Department of Environmen­tal Quality, “Invasive Phragmites creates tall, dense stands which degrade wetlands and coastal ar­eas by crowding out native plants and animals, blocking shoreline views, reducing access for swim­ming, fishing and hunting and can create fire hazards from dry plant material.”

The Watershed Center has been working with Phragmites for six years  with funds from several agen­cies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Department of Environmental Quality and municipalities.

The Watershed Center has assisted in getting Phragmites under control on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Grand Traverse County and is now focusing on inland lakes. In 2013, we surveyed

  • 35.6 miles of inland lake coastline
  • 17 lakes
  • 4 townships

As a result of our efforts, almost 20 acres was treated for invasive Phragmites.

Partners include the Invasive Species Network and the Grand Traverse Conservation District.

In addition to our work with Phragmites, we also educate boaters and anglers about how they can help reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species. We are a proud member of the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network.

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