LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Getting rid of phragmites

Apr 4, 2011

One of the requirements for my badge is to learn what young people can do to help with a problem facing out community, like phragmites. I was told by John Nash, Spring Lake township supervisor, the one way I could help was by writing a letter to the editor of our newspaper.

Phragmites have been around the Spring Lake area for a while, thus causing them to become a problem. They crowd the living spaces for other plants and eventually the other plants die.  Phragmites not only cause plant damage but can cause damage to property values.  Phragmites can have extremely tall and dense stands and restrict shoreline views if not properly dealt with. 

There are several different ways to rid our wetlands of phragmites. Herbicide treatment is highly effective, and even more so when combined with a removal method such as cutting, mowing, or even prescribed fire.  Due to the complexities of herbicide usage it is undoubtedly best to leave treatment efforts to an experienced professional. This prevents chemicals from reaching unintended targets, such as adjacent plants and the aquatic system itself. The most cost-effective (and most environmentally-beneficial) treatment is done on a large scale, with affected landowners all participating as a united group. This approach not only dramatically reduces the chances of re-infestation, but it lowers the cost and complexity of the entire process. 

Also, using non-phosphorous fertilizers on lawns, not polluting, and cleaning up pet waste will help.

I hope that by writing this letter, I have helped increase awareness to this problem affecting all of us who appreciate the diversity of our wetlands.

— Grant Peterson, age 13
Spring Lake

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