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Six Rivers Parcel phragmite removal



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July 23, 2014 - By Katie Winkler

Review Staff Writer

On July 21 through 23, Orion Township Environmental resources committee teamed up with the Michigan Student Conservation Corps and Natural Community Services to control the phragmites growing along the Six River Parcel, on the corner of Joslyn and Waldon roads.

Phragmites can grow as tall as ifteen feet plants with a feathery seed on the top. They usually grow alongside shallow water and they can ruin wetlands.

According to the Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality website, phragmites will degrade wetlands and coastal areas by crowding out native plants and animals, blocking shoreline views, reducing access for activities, and can create fire hazards.

Orion Township developed a pilot project in Gingell Nature Area last year, which they have now expanded to the Six Rivers Parcel.

"It's kind of a two part treatment," Sue Donovan, member of the Orion Township Environmental Resources committee said. "If you have an established stands of phragmites, it's recommended that you can spray them with chemicals in the fall, late August or early September after a cutting. If you have a big square parcel with a lot of invasions, it is recommended they be cut first in July. Then the plant goes into a 'stress mode.' While they are stressed, they will grow up a little bit, but they won't be that hearty. You will be able to walk into them and, with a sprayer."

The Six Rivers Parcel has an established group of phragmites. The Michigan Student Conservation Corps will cut down the phragmites and follow up with chemicals.

It can take up to three years to eliminate a patch of phragmites because 70 percent of the growth is underground in the plant's root system.

"When you cut them, it doesn't inhibit their growth, it promotes their growth," Donovan said. If the process is not done correctly with the herbicide treatment followed by cutting, the phrgamites will extend.

The first year, chemical treatment gets rid of about three-fourths of the Phrgamite growth, while the remaining two years are for maintaining with cutting and getting rid of the plants by hand.

Those interested can go to michigan.gov/beqaquaticinvasives, Opistaskforce.org, or visit the Orion Township clerk's office to see if there are phragmites in your area and learn how to remove them.

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