Phragmites Invasions in Michigan







Symposium Overview

The Great Lakes Commission, in cooperation with the Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality, held Phragmites Invasions in Michigan: A Symposium to Build Capacity for Management, on March 28-30, 2011 in East Lansing, Mich. Over 120 participants from across Michigan and the Great Lakes region attended the symposium, including representatives from federal, state, and local government, non-government organizations, private firms and research institutions. Attendees heard presentations on current invasive phragmites management and control efforts, and research into innovative future methods, from leaders in the field. During breakout sessions, participants discussed topics such as the role of policy and permitting in phragmites management and efforts to map and track phragmites populations. Keynote remarks were provided by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, who thanked symposium attendees for their hard work and pledged her support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), an important source of funding for many working on the front lines of phragmites control.

Symposium Proceedings


Background and Objectives

Phragmites australis, also known as common reed or phragmites, is a non-native, invasive perennial grass causing significant ecological and economic impacts across the Great Lakes region. Through rapid growth in dense stands, the non-native species of phragmites displaces native plant species— including the native species of phragmites— and reduces habitat diversity in coastal and interior wetlands, riparian corridors, roadside ditches and other disturbed areas.

To advance the overall goal of a coordinated response to the invasion of non-native phragmites on a state and regional level, the symposium was held to address the following objectives:

  • Inform interested stakeholders on the status of invasive phragmites management and control in Michigan and the Great Lakes region
  • Provide a forum for local, state and regional stakeholders working on or affected by invasive phragmites issues to share ideas, showcase success stories, discuss common challenges, identify information gaps, and strengthen ties between management efforts
  • Build partnerships to develop and implement management strategies needed to combat invasive phragmites
  • Generate a dialogue assessing needs and opportunities that will provide the basis for a strategic framework to advance coordinated management of invasive phragmites on a state level with regional implications

The symposium was held as part of a broader initiative to develop a strategic framework to advance phragmites management and control in Michigan with relevance to the Great Lakes region.

Project Partners

The symposium was led by the Great Lakes Commission in cooperation with the Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality and Michigan Natural Features Inventory. Funding for the project is provided through the Michigan Coastal Management Program.


Erika Jensen, Great Lakes Commission, 734-971-9135,

Date: Mar 28, 2011 - Mar 30, 2011

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Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
219 S Harrison Rd
East Lansing, Michigan 48824

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