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SOC Phragmites Control

2008 Save Our Shores Phragmites Control Efforts

The following letter and permission form was sent to shoreline property owners on June 1st, and can be downloaded for easy printing in PDF format here. It must be returned by June 24, 2008.

If you need this form to complete, please download and print from this link.

Thank you to all who participated in our first of many Phragmites control efforts or the Save our Shores Program. The townships are in the process of putting into place a revised 2008 treatment program which should be smaller in scope because of the success of our initial treatment last September. We strongly encourage all shoreline property owners to attend the upcoming 2008 Phragmites treatment program meeting scheduled for June 24th at 7 p.m. at the Peaine Township Hall. Representatives will be available to answer your questions. The townships’ attorney, Bryan Graham, will also be present to discuss the proposed Phragmites ordinance. The intention is to make the treatment as effective as possible while protecting the sensitive shoreline which supports the water quality of the Great Lakes along with wildlife habitat. Concerns have been voiced over Phragmites adversely affecting property values’ which has the potential to erode Beaver Island’s tax base. As a result of townships’ discussions with numerous property owners, both township boards engaged the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in dialogue concerning the ability of a township to implement an ordinance that would eradicate this invasive plant from our shoreline. After further discussions with the Attorney General’s office, both township boards have forwarded the proposed ordinance again to the DEQ for their final approval. Brian Mastenbrook from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has again offered his assistance with obtaining the necessary permits and the process of awarding the bid to the treatment company. He hopes to expand treatment to Garden and High Islands where small stands have been detected. A survey of the herbicide treatment results is planned with representation from the MI DNR, townships, Superior Environmental and Aquatic Services, and the Beaver Island Association. An agreement between CMU and the DNR will provide for a detailed Phragmites survey of the entire Beaver Island shoreline. This inspection will take place during the last two weeks of June. What is a shoreline property owner to do during their return this spring/summer?

  1. First inspect your shoreline, noting the location of any active Phragmites infestations. If you have old treated Phragmites plants, cut within 2 inches of the soil. Disturbing the soil may enhance the ability for the invasive seeds to germinate.
  2. Attend Phragmites information sessions or review websites found at the bottom of this article.
  3. Review and return necessary township permission slips which will be mailed June 1st or available on line from Peaine Township’s web site.
  4. For removal of old plant stands, Bob Williams from Harsen’s Island offers the suggestion of using a 3.5” carbide circular saw blade on his weed whacker. This device is similar to a tree or limb trimming saw. You may bag the stems and the seed heads and take to the Transfer Station, or place in a small pile such as a fire pit and burn. Please do not transport Phragmites to a different site for disposal as this has the potential of spreading the infestation.
  5. For larger denser stands, a recommendation from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is a tool called prescribed burn. This is not to be undertaken by an individual home owner. It is only effective after an herbicide has been applied. If a burn takes place without the Phragmites being treated with an herbicide it will actually stimulate growth. Prescribed burns are to remove dense dead patches of Phragmites that may be a fire hazard this summer. It will remove stems and thatch and allow native species to regenerate. It will also make it easier to spot treat new growth. If you had a significant stand on your property, contact the fire department and participate in a prescribed burn this spring. Always check with the fire department first. Tim McDonough or Jim Wojan will be happy to discuss the options with you. This plant burns extremely hot and a burn should not be undertaken by untrained people. More information can be viewed at Michigan Prescribed Fire Council at or

Again, a wealth of Phragmites information can be found at the following website: Click on Environmental Focus.

– Pam Grassmick

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