Big Phragmites, Lots of Trees, and Great Lakes Gift Ideas

As heard Dec. 7, 2012, @ 9 a.m. Eastern, on Friday Edition, Delta College, Q-90.1 FM

photo phragmites fire
Photos by S. Reynolds and M. Venn

 

1.

Do you loathe phragmites, the invasive, towering plant that covers shorelines throughout the Great Lakes region?

Well, you might be interested in a new resource from the Great Lakes Commission and U.S. Geological Survey.

It’s a digital hub for phragmites information by the Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative (greatlakesphragmites.net).

At the website, there’s an interactive forum where people can share ideas, showcase success stories, and discuss common problems.

Phragmites has become increasingly widespread throughout the Great Lakes region, including Saginaw Bay. The plant “spreads rapidly and can negatively affect biodiversity, impair recreational use, decrease property values and increase fire risk,” officials say.

The site is part of a larger project funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is working to develop sustainable phragmites management strategies throughout the Great Lakes basin.

Webinars on phragmites will be archived on the site, along with videos, presentations, management documents and the most up-to-date science and research.

2.

The Au Sable tree drop was a success.

Officials from U.S. Forest Service say an Au Sable River Large Wood Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was completed this fall on a section of the Huron-Manistee National Forest.

A total of 126 trees were placed in the Au Sable River, below the Alcona Dam, using a heavy lift S-61 helicopter.

In total, more than 1,200 trees have been placed along a 10-mile stretch of the river in the past decade. This last round marked the completion of the large-scale restoration effort.

The project was funded by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Huron Pines, a conservation organization in Gaylord, was the primary contractor.

The Au Sable River watershed drains almost 2,000 square miles, flowing into Lake Huron.

The Au Sable channel has been altered in the past by logging and dam construction, officials say.

The trees were placed by helicopter to help restore function and structure to the river’s aquatic habitat.

3.

If you’re looking for gift this holiday season, how about the gift of Great Lakes environmental knowledge?

There’s a Great Lakes Gift Giving Guide that might help.

The guide was developed by the folks at Michigan Sea Grant, a joint program by the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

Some suggestions include a cookbook for local eaters, on selecting and preparing Great Lakes whitefish.

There’s also a tome on the Great Lakes fishery, “examining the management, ecology, history, present and future of the lakes from a regional perspective.”

Another “Guide to Great Lakes Fishes” is waterproof, and describes 62 of the region’s most commonly found species.

There’s a “Lake Huron Rock Picker’s Guide,” too, “for anyone who has walked along a Great Lakes beach, picked up a rock and wondered what it was.”

You can find more ideas online at the Michigan Sea Grant website.

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