Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative

Phragmites australis is an aggressive non-native invasive species that has invaded an estimated 60,000 acres of shoreline habitat as well as an unknown amount of inland areas across the Great Lakes region. The Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative (GLPC) is a regional partnership to improve communication and collaboration leading to more coordinated, efficient and strategic approaches to non-native Phragmites management and ecosystem restoration across the Great Lakes basin. The GLPC serves as a communication conduit via an interactive website (www.greatlakesphragmites.net), a webinar series, a listserv and social media outlets to facilitate access to information and resources, encourage technology transfer, adaptive management and network building among habitat managers, governmental agencies, and private landowners.

The Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative has developed a centralized communication website (www.greatlakesphragmites.net) and associated outreach materials; streamlined information transfer to reduce redundancy; provided a forum for researchers; created linkages between scientific research and management; facilitated connections between diverse partners across the region; encouraged site prioritization to maximize the benefits of control work; and supported restoration of wetland and terrestrial sites following Phragmites control efforts. The GLPC has also completed several governance tasks associated with the establishment and maintenance of a collaborative including an organizational structure, a vision statement and a Charter. The GLPC has initiated a Common Agenda which will include a shared understanding of the problem and a mutually agreed-upon approach to solving it.

Project Narrative

The non-native grass species Phragmites australis is a large-scale problem that requires a collaborative regional approach. The Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative (GLPC) is a joint effort by the US Geological Survey and the Great Lakes Commission as well as representatives from multiple government agencies and non-profit organizations. Since 2012, the GLPC has worked to improve communication, increase efficiency in Phragmites control, develop a program of adaptive management, and facilitate restoration across the region. As a partnership, the GLPC addresses complex social, economic and ecological issues resulting from invasive Phragmites. These issues include habitat degradation, loss of ecological function, loss of endangered and threatened species habitat, increased fire risk, loss of recreation opportunities, reduced access to shorelines, and changes to coastal processes.

The GLPC is structured and guided by the framework of Collective Impact. Under this framework, the Great Lakes Commission acts as a backbone organization to coordinate a diverse range of partners with varying interests and viewpoints; leadership committees have been developed; a Charter has been approved; and members are working toward building a Common Agenda which will include a shared understanding of the problem and a mutually agreed-upon approach to solving it.

Through this partnership, the GLPC has developed centralized communication and outreach materials; streamlined information transfer and reduced redundancy; provided a forum for researchers; created linkages between scientific research and management; facilitated connections between diverse partners across the region; encouraged site prioritization to maximize the benefits of control work; and supported restoration of wetland and terrestrial sites following Phragmites control efforts.

In a new initiative called the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF), the GLPC will be working with land managers across the region to develop a centralized monitoring protocol, a database to track management effectiveness, and a state and transition model which will provide partners with recommendations specific to their site conditions. This groundbreaking program will be the first wide scale application of adaptive management for invasive Phragmites.

Project Partners

Funding

This program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the USGS-Great Lakes Science Center under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

For More Information

Heather Braun
Project Manager for Habitat Restoration
Great Lakes Commission
734‐971‐9135
hbraun@glc.org

Elaine Ferrier
Senior Program Specialist
Great Lakes Commission
734-971-9135
eferrier@glc.org

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