Phrag Front

In our ongoing attempt to control phragmites, we had our 2nd annual treatment in late September with Wetlands & Wildlife Solutions, Vickie Smith, owner. When discussion the plan for this year’s focus, Vickie remarked we will likely see a much higher rate of re-growth next spring (2013), then we were able to see this spring. The best viewing is actually right along the Elberta bridge on M22. The Luedtke ‘Boneyard’ also received the first intensive treatment of their phragmites colonies. These areas will continue to be our main focus for years to come. As explained in our spring newsletter due to the large phragmites stands upriver, which is currently outside of our abilities to treat, we will always have a phragmites issue downstream in the Bay area.

There is a bright note to this rather depressing thought…we have new partners who are also interested/invested in doing what they can to address this large (estimated 1 acre) stand. Both the Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (GTRLC) with some guidance of the Benzie Conservation District have completed the mapping to identify specifically where the phragmites are currently established. FoBB led our first Phrag Float in 2010 and began the mapping process. It was reported that those stands, two years later, don’t appear to have grown too much larger, which is excellent news given the drought conditions. Phragmites LOVE drought conditions on the waterways! Perhaps having ‘big guns’ on some larger grant opportunities may be the key to final beginning to address this area of concern. We are very grateful for their partnerships.

We were not able to get more than three private property owners to be willing to pay for their property’s phrag infestation and this is a concern that FoBB will be trying to address. Two of the property owners are new on the Bay and the third was Luedtke’s, at the Boneyard area. The first treatment, paid entirely with matching grant money in 2011, we had about 90% of the private property owners around the Bay give us their full support and permission to treat their properties until 2013. However, as we are all aware, grant funding is becoming more scarce as we struggle through these economically challenging times. Friends of Betsie Bay are committed to seeking all the financial possibilities we can to continue with our mission. We cannot do this without all of our help.

Successful and effective phragmites treatment of private property requires neighbors willing to work and talk together! We clearly understand the affects on personal property values of letting phrags go wild. When you cannot access your waterfront property through the phragmites, you lose value to your property. When the phragmites establish dense colonies on your property, you lose water and gain more area for more phrags to establish. This then becomes a neighborhood issue. The Friends of Betsie Bay are seeking your input for how we can be of assistance in effectively getting blocks of neighbors to at least engage in conversations about becoming good stewards of your waterfront properties. Please let us know if you have any ideas that may be helpful in this educational effort.

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