Monday, March 21, 2016

Local Phragmites Eradication / State Grants

“Phragmites australis (frag-MY-teez), also known as common reed, is a perennial, wetland grass that can grow to 15 feet in height … [A]n invasive, non-native, variety of phragmites is becoming widespread and is threatening the ecological health of wetlands ... Invasive phragmites creates tall, dense stands which degrade wetlands and coastal areas by crowding out native plants and animals ...”


Phragmites is spreading rapidly across Michigan, from shorelines and roadside ditches to just about any wet nook and cranny.

Fortunately, a new means of controlling invasive plant species is being implemented. It is called a Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area or CISMA.

“The Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program, launched by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources [MDNR] in 2014, awarded $4.2 million to groups in its first year for projects ranging from mapping oak wilt on private lands to creating a network for data on invasive species.”

“The program recently announced another $3.6-million round that will expand the range and impact of the program around the state. Two of the grants are going to groups in metro Detroit.”

One of the groups is in Oakland County. (The other is for Lake St. Clair.) Brittany Bird is vice chair of the Oakland County CISMA. She says that there are 62 independent home rule municipalities in Oakland County to which the county cannot dictate management of nuisance species like phragmites. Cooperation has to be negotiated with municipalities in order to devise a seamless eradication program. The Oakland group is comprised of a number of municipalities, county agencies and NGOs. MDNR’s initial award to the Oakland County CISMA is $243,775.

Similarly, the Lake St. Clair group includes diverse participants such as nonprofits and local, county and state agencies.

Officials of cities, townships and villages not yet participating are encouraged to join an existing group or form one of their own.

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