Ann Arbor, Mich. – The rapid spread of the invasive plant Phragmites australis (also known as common reed) in wetlands and roadside ditches across the Great Lakes has sparked intensive management and planning efforts to stem the tide of the plant’s progression. To augment these efforts, a new interactive mapping and communication tool, greatlakesphragmites.net/programs-and-projects, is highlighting invasive Phragmites management initiatives taking place across the region.
According to Heather Braun, project manager at the Great Lakes Commission, this tool is designed to enhance communication, build networks and encourage technology transfer within this diverse community.
“Phragmites management is an expensive, time consuming and long-term endeavor,” Braun says. “In order to be efficient with our limited financial resources and make the greatest long-term impact, we need to learn from each other and build on our collective success.”
The Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative, established in 2012 by the Great Lakes Commission and U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center, helps to facilitate communication among stakeholders across the region and serves as a resource center for information on invasive Phragmites biology, management and research.
A diverse group of stakeholders – including private landowners, lake associations, road commissions, state and federal agencies, and private conservation organizations – are leading Phragmites management and research efforts. Many have developed strategies that have proven successful (or unsuccessful) and could be used to help jumpstart new initiatives; however much of the focus to date has been on management – not communication. The new webpage provides a forum to both share information and learn from others engaged in Phragmites management throughout the Great Lakes region.
The site features an interactive map with points and polygons representing the location and scope of ongoing Phragmites projects and programs. Those engaged in Phragmites management are urged to contribute to the webpage by entering information on their projects. Photos and other media can be uploaded to help managers demonstrate their work. Information on education and outreach programs, mapping and monitoring, policies, ordinances and administrative partnerships, such as Cooperative Weed Management Areas, is also encouraged.
To view the Programs and Projects page, or to enter project information, go to greatlakesphragmites.net/programs-and-projects. Data can be entered directly through the website using the online forms, or by emailing details to the Collaborative (firstname.lastname@example.org). The online forms have been designed to guide input for both individual projects and coordinated programs.
The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Kenneth G. Johnson, water division administrator at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more at www.glc.org.