Grand Traverse Bay Shoreline Restoration Research
Phragmites australis, an invasive reed capable of forming monospecific stands and reducing biodiversity, has been treated with herbicides along Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan for three years, 2009-2011 (Chambers et al. 1999, The Watershed Center, Grand Traverse Bay 2011). To determine the effectiveness of herbicide treatment and the floristic value of recovering vegetation, herbicide treated sites were sampled and compared to control shoreline vegetation unaffected by Phragmites or herbicide. Herbicide effectiveness was determined by comparison of Phragmites stem counts between herbicide treated areas and nearby controls. Similarity between herbicide and control sites was determined using Sørenson’s Similarity Index and the Floristic Quality Assessment was used to give a value to each species (Herman et al. 2001). Herbicide treated and control sites were determined to have similar species composition, but significant differences existed between the qualities determined by floristic values of herbicide and control sites.
Mentor: Dr. Ken Sytsma, University of Wisconsin-Madison; David Mahan, Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies
The invasive presence of Phragmites australis, the common reed, has detrimental effects on native biodiversity and wetland ecosystem processes, in addition to negative social and economic effects (Getsinger et al. 1999). As private landowners along the Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan, follow the suggestions of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other organizations to remove Phragmites from their property, a comprehensive list of local, native wetland species with which to replace the invasive grass is a practical need. The inventory provided by this study includes 139 species, in addition to an evaluation of the six inventory sites using the Floristic Quality Assessment (Herman et al. 2001).
Mentor: Dr. Ken Sytsma, University of Wisconsin-Madison