Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Downriver reeds

When I moved to the Downriver area of Detroit last year I noticed a certain kind of wild reed that seemed to be growing everywhere. How nice, I thought. I was glad to see that this plant had been alowed to flurish alongside the roads. I thought it gave the area a nice naturalized look. But then I learned that the reeds are invasive.

Pharagmites australis (the common reed) is a noxious, invasive, aquatic plant that has degraded the coastal wetland ecosystem of the lower Detroit River and western Lake Erie. It can grow to a height of more than ten feet and crowds out native aquatic plants that are important to wildlife.

In an effort to control the spread of these reeds the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is planning to conduct a burn at Humbug Marsh, a part of the Detroit River Wildlife Refuge, this month. The refuge conserves and restores habitat for waterfowl, fish, and 300 species of migratory birds.

It will be the first time a burn has been conducted in the refuge, which is just across the river from the island we live on. I'm wondering if we'll be able to see the fires - I imagine that would be an interesting sight.

Good luck to the marsh & Happy Earth Day to all


Barb Black said...

B-b-b-but.... it's not nice to fool Mother Nature!

Hermit on the Hill said...

It is so sad to see how invasives have transformed the landscape of Michigan within my lifetime. I so miss the beautiful wildflowers along the side of the road that are now full of spotted knapweed or garlic mustard. And woodland flowers have vanished as well — mostly from that garlic mustard! And, don't even get me started on purple loosestrife! This is a new one to me. It's just so sad! I hope the burning works!