The non-native variety of the common reed, Phragmites australis (phragmites), has invaded many coastal areas in the Great Lakes region and has been identified as a priority invasive species issue. Given its rapid spread and mounting ecological impacts, the need has emerged for a comprehensive and systematic approach to phragmites management.
Toward this end, in 2011, the Great Lakes Commission, in coordination with the Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Environment Quality and other partners, held a regional symposium on phragmites management and control. The symposium was held March 28-30, 2011 in East Lansing, Michigan and a detailed proceedings document is available for download (see below). The outcomes from this symposium and subsequent efforts were used to develop a strategic framework to advance implementation of invasive phragmites management in Michigan with relevance to the Great Lakes region (see below). Overall, this project emphasized facilitating information exchange, increasing awareness of prevention and control issues, identifying priorities to advance management, and providing opportunities for building partnerships.
Now, the Great Lakes Commission is supporting the Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative (GLPC), a regional partnership established to improve communication and collaboration and lead to more coordinated, efficient and strategic approaches to Phragmites management, restoration and research across the Great Lakes basin. The GLPC serves as a communication conduit via an interactive website, a webinar series and social media outlets to facilitate access to information and resources, encourage technology transfer and network building among habitat managers, governmental agencies, private landowners. This initiative is led by a Core team supported by staff from USGS – Great Lakes Science Center and the Great Lakes Commission with oversight and input from a regional Advisory Committee. This effort is part of a broader USGS-project funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.