MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – The United States Forestry Service recently awarded a grant to the Six Rivers Land Conservancy to assist in the organization’s efforts to control phragmites in Macomb County drainage courses and detention ponds. The grant, which totals $37,865, will support the conservancy and its work with the Lake St. Clair (LSC) Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, the Macomb County Public Works Office and Oakland University. Together, the group aims to reduce the impact of the invasive reed in the region.

According to the state of Michigan: “An invasive, non-native, variety of phragmites is becoming widespread and is threatening the ecological health of wetlands and the Great Lakes coastal shoreline. 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.” This makes the invasive species a priority for control and removal.

“I’m excited to implement a project that will help better guide future phragmites control efforts in water courses,” said McKenzi Bergmoser, the LSC CISMA coordinator. “There are multiple treatment options for controlling invasive phragmites and it is important we explore each methods’ effectiveness and efficiency.”

The federal grant, which was awarded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Cooperative Weed Management Area, has allowed the Six Rivers Land Conservancy and the CISMA to coordinate a 2019-2021 project that will explore various control methods in three Macomb County townships. In Harrison Township, the Murdock Ballard Relief Drain will have phragmites treated and monitored. Portions of the Disco Drain near 25 Mile in Shelby Township and a detention pond close to the Clinton Township Fire Station will also be included in phragmites management. Oakland University student interns have mapped and will continue to monitor phragmites management units in Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF). Work has already commenced and images of the control and removal process are available here.

This is an excellent opportunity for Oakland University students to get hands on experience in the surveillance of invasive species,” said D. David Newlin, adjunct professor, Oakland University.

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