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« "It's Now Time for the Tough Medicine" | Main | Virginia Is for (Sturgeon) Lovers »

09/27/2012

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Great article on the pros and cons of phragmites! I also read a study, many moons ago, that phragmites is also very efficient at removing toxins from water. As you said, not a reason to plant phragmites, but a little silver lining in the cloud.

Thanks, Desiree. Yes, as in many things in life, it's often impossible to judge a species as "good" or "bad."

Exotic species often have a complex and unpreditable impact on our world. In this case, it is clear that phragmites infestations are bad for native plant and animal diversity. But whether they are bad for shorelines threatened by erosion, and the human built environment behind the shorelines, is not clear.

We have been working with government agencies to kill this off in Virginia. Fortunately we have not seen any increased erosion, and have actually seen a huge growth of native marsh grasses and a greater return of wildlife. Almost the entire area that was covered by this reed is now covered by various grasses - it's been a 6 year process, but good results.

It appears that phragmites are a danger to native species of grasses and plants. They need to be controlled. Phragmites are not a good habitat for animals, birds, and other creatures. Though they do control erosion, the trade off is not worth it since there are native grasses that can do as well a job.

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