Tortoise Wins the Race: Transformation Away from Invasive Phragmites Requires Slower

Tortoise Wins the Race: Transformation Away from Invasive Phragmites Requires Slower, Sustained Effort Through Specialized Equipment for Detroit River- Western Lake Erie Cooperative Weed Management Area (INT)
Greg Norwood, Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
Additional Contributors: Eugene Jaworski, Eastern Michigan University, Chris May, The Nature Conservancy, Zach Cooley, Michigan DNR, Paul Muelle, Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority

The Detroit River-Western Lake Erie Cooperative Weed Management Area formed in 2011 and is comprised of about 13 organizations that manage or study Phragmites in western Lake Erie. We found success at reducing Phragmites through focusing only on areas managed by a group of committed partners limited to ownership of coastal wetlands along Lake Erie with permanent access to a shared Marsh Master(r) amphibious vehicle. We did not manage Phragmites at sites where long-term management was not assured. We show that the only practical management for our members is to share a specialized amphibious vehicle essential for annual herbicide treatments, mowing and prescribed fire over many years. We show significant cost-savings and more likelihood of success because the shared machine augments contracts, especially during low funding years or when Phragmites requires time-intensive follow-up herbicide treatments. Basic monitoring provides feed-back in annual work planning and garners public support.

Greg Norwood, Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge Greg Norwood is a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stationed at Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. He is responsible for rehabilitation of the refuge's 2,100 acres of natural communities through a combination of emulated natural disturbances and invasive species control. His primary focus is on rehabilitation of remnant wet prairie, conversion of cropland into natural communities, and Phragmites and cattail management in coastal Lake Erie. Greg graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Eastern Michigan University with degrees in biology.