The All-Too-Common Reed :
What is the future of management for the invasive reed Phragmites along the Detroit River?
The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge has managed Phragmites with herbicide, mowing, and fire, but is this strategy addressing the root cause of the the problem?
Hayley Currier, Dan Tanner, and Sheila Schueller
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 wetlands researcher from the University of Michigan 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?