RE: NANFA-- willows and maybe cattails

Crail, Todd (
Mon, 6 Jan 2003 14:12:37 -0500

We have the same Phragmites phenomena going on in the western Lake Erie
wetlands. If you're not familiar with Phragmites, about the only purpose it
serves to native wildlife is the occassional perch for a Red Winged Blackbird.
While walking thru a thicket, you make notice the spooky non-incidence of
*any* wildlife.. Insect, plant, fish, reptile, amphibian... Really, it's a
great place for a snipe "hunt", if you intend to keep an American summer camp
tradition ;)

The lake levels had dropped about 2 feet which exposed a lot of shallow, wet,
uncolonized humus. As the lake has gone back up about 6", the fragmites is
keeping right up with it by laying it's own colonial humus on the piles. Only
the deepest channels, in what was an extensive wetland area are now open, if
stewardship wasn't practiced. The Michigan shores of Erie took a huge hit as
that portion isn't a dense migration route of the Great Lakes flyway, which
those area receive federal monies.

Even still, in the Ottawa National Refuge where there is federal financial
support for stewardship, it's still a battle. As we pulled into the refuge
last summer, the sign at the front gate was so surrounded in Purple Loostrife
(another invasive exotic), it looked like they were trying to garden it there.
It disgusted me, "How can you drive into work every day looking at that!?" but
I quickly realized you have to pick your battles. There weren't that many
birds needing to perch on the refuge sign. All the Rose Mallow (native
hibiscus) in the actual refuge was impressive to see :)

-----Original Message-----
From: Bob Bock
Sent: Monday, January 06, 2003 1:54 PM
Subject: Re: NANFA-- willows and maybe cattails

Thanks, Todd. I knew that phragmites were introduced, but hadn't known that
about cattails. BTW, I grew up near the Hackensack Meadowlands, where
phragmites are the dominant vegetation. Up there, they cover everything but
pavement. It's really easy to get lost in the phragmites forests
(thickets?)--something I can tell you from personal experience from my New
Jersey childhood.
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