New effort launched to step up war on Phragmites

The Great Lakes Commission has launched a new initiative to bolster efforts to control the invasive reed Phragmites.

The Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative will use an interactive Web site as a clearinghouse where people across the region can share information about the invasive plant and efforts to control it.

Heather Braun, project manager at the Great Lakes Commission, said the goal of the collaborative is to share information and, hopefully, improve efforts to control Phragmites (pronounced FRAG-my-tees).

Phragmites is an invasive reed that is tall, prolific and destructive.

“We want people to learn from each other,” Braun said. “We don’t want to reinvent the wheel.”

Phragmites, also known as common reed, thrives in marshy areas and along roads and parking lots. The plant, which grows to 16-feet high, crowds out native plant species,  destroys fish and wildlife habitat and blocks water views.

Stands of Phragmites have colonized areas of shoreline along Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Erie. The plant has taken over some coastal areas and islands in the St. Clair River and western Lake Erie.

There is no way to eliminate Phragmites, but the plant can be controlled through the use of chemicals, cuttings and controlled burns.

To learn more about the collaborative, go to


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