The All-Too-Common Reed :
How can an urban wildlife refuge sustainably manage the invasive reed Phragmites?
Managers at the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, which has a history of disturbance but also of strong community support and collaboration, must decide how best to address the problem of a widespread wetland invasive plant.
, , and
The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is a collection of wetlands, marshes, and waterfront: 6,000 acres of protected natural area nestled into the urban expanse of metro Detroit, home to more than seven million people. Like many other natural areas across the country, the Refuge struggles with invasive species, in particular the ubiquitous invasive reed Phragmites australis, and has been devoting considerable attention, time, and resources to its management.
A University of Michigan investigator visited the Refuge in 2017 to understand why, despite the $4.6 million spent on management nationwide, Phragmites continues to dominate landscapes, and to explore why the efficacy of current strategies remains unpredictable and uncertain. Other management strategies are under study, but land managers like the Refuge’s wildlife biologist Greg Norwood are making management decisions every day, leaving Greg to consider: what is the future of Phragmites management along the Detroit River?