Phragmites australis: Current Research and Experiments in Control Strategies for Wetland Habitat Recovery

Wednesday - February 21, 2018 - 3pm EST 


Marla Stelk, Policy Analyst, Association of State Wetland Managers [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]



Dr. Karin Kettenring and Christine Rohal

Phragmites australis has aggressively invaded wetlands in northern Utah including wetlands along the iconic Great Salt Lake.  Since 2010, Utah State University researchers and wetlands managers have partnered to improves Phragmites management techniques and outcomes.  In this talk we will discuss (1) how a formal manager survey informed a Phragmites management research experiment, and (2) how these Phragmites management experiments yielded important insights into how best to control Phragmites and the potential for habitat recovery.

Dr. Andrea Dávalos

Land manager organizations spend significant resources controlling invasive plants, yet there is surprisingly little evidence to assess success of invasive plant management.  The rapid range expansions of invasive Phragmites australis in North America have prompted large-scale control efforts, although with limited success.  Assessment of P. australis management in the Adirondack Park, New York State shows that eradication, through herbicide application, is only achievable for the smallest populations. Long-term control of the invasion will require continuous use of herbicides, not only jeopardizing native wetland biota but also threatening existence of the endemic subspecies P. australis americanus.  Alternatively, biological control is a promising and safer tool.  Two European stem mining noctuids show very strong, but not absolute, preference for invasive P. australis.  Demographic techniques are being implemented to improve host-specificity assessment and evaluate management success.  Invasive species management should go beyond short-term suppression of target plants and should incorporate quantitative measurements of outcomes.


Dr. Karin Kettenring is a faculty member in the Department of Watershed Sciences, Quinney College of Natural Resources, Utah State University in Logan, Utah.  She has a B.A. in biology from Oberlin College. She received her Ph.D. in applied plant sciences from the University of Minnesota where she worked with Dr. Susan Galatowitsch. Her Ph.D. research focused on restoration of sedges in prairie pothole wetlands. She was also a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Dennis Whigham at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center where she studied the invasion of Phragmites australis in Chesapeake Bay tidal wetlands. She has been a faculty member at USU since 2008. Her current research efforts focus on (1) the ecology, genetics, and management of wetland invaders, (2) seed ecology of native wetlands plants, with implications for wetland revegetation, and (3) restoration genetics for sustainable, functioning wetland restorations. 

Christine Rohal is a PhD student Karin Kettenring's Wetland Ecology lab at Utah State University in Logan, Utah.  Her research focuses on applied questions related to restoring wetland habitats degraded by invasive plant species.  Before she moved to Utah for her graduate studies, she worked on habitat restoration projects in Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, Grand Canyon National Park, and on the beaches of Jacksonville, Florida.   

Dr. Andrea Dávalos is an Assistant Professor in the Biological Sciences Department at the State University of New York at Cortland.  Her research is motivated by a strong interest in conservation and in the development of tools to restore natural ecosystems.  She is particularly interested in addressing issues pertaining to the ecology and management of biological invasions and the factors that drive successful control programs.  Her long-term collaborative research combines experimental and modeling approaches to assess impacts of invasive plants and success of management programs.   



Part 1: Introduction: Marla Stelk, Policy Analyst,
Association of State Wetland Managers
Karin Kettenring, Utah State University
  Part 2: Presenters:  Karin Kettenring, Utah State
University Christine Rohal, PhD Candidate, Utah
State University
Part 3: Presenters:  Karin Kettenring, Utah State
University Christine Rohal, PhD Candidate, Utah State University
  Part 4: Presenter: Andrea Davalos, State University of
New York 
Part 5: Questions/Answers      Part 6: Questions/Answers    

Managing Invasive Species in the Great Lakes: Establishing Goals & Objectives, Monitoring Programs, and Cooperative Management Areas in Michigan

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 3:00 p.m. ET 


Marla Stelk, Policy Analyst, Association of State Wetland Managers [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]



Gregory J. Norwood

Beyond weed control: Establishing ecosystem goals, objectives, and desired outcomes for degraded coastal wetlands

Invasive plant removal is usually an integral part of coastal wetland restoration projects, sometimes at a relatively high cost. While there is acceptance of the biodiversity loss associated with invasive plants such as reed (Phragmites australis) and narrow-leaved cattail (Typha angustifolia and T. x glauca), managers are ultimately responsible for considering trade-offs of various intervention strategies. This talk describes the importance of establishing ecosystem goals and objectives to achieve specific conservation outcomes before invasive species control efforts begin so that decisions about trade-offs become easier. Examples from western Lake Erie will reveal a wide range of desired outcomes because of various local constraints such as the nature of the surrounding landscape. Desired conservation outcomes are more likely to be achieved if there is clear linkage between invasive species removal and the stated project goals and objectives. Removal of invasive species always involves difficult trade-offs; however, practitioners frequently monitor acres treated instead of the overall impacts of control projects in achieving their conservation goals.

Dr. Don Uzarski

Monitoring multiple biological attributes in the Great Lakes coastal wetlands: database access for invasive species management

Since European settlement, over 50% of Laurentian Great Lakes coastal wetlands have been lost, causing growing concern by government agencies. To facilitate information sharing between public, private, and government agencies throughout the basin, we developed standardized methods and indicators used for assessing wetland condition. Using an ecosystem approach, birds, anurans, fish, macroinvertebrates, vegetation, and physicochemical conditions were sampled in coastal wetlands of all five Great Lakes, US and Canada. Our primary objective was to implement a standardized basin-wide monitoring program that would be a powerful tool to inform coastal wetland conservation and restoration priorities throughout the basin.

Ryan Wheeler

Creating and empowering cooperative invasive species management areas across Michigan with multi-scaled support networks.

The challenges associated with Invasive Species Management span geo-political boundaries, property ownership boundaries, and even human values. In order to overcome these challenges, it can be beneficial to view individual invasive species problems as part of a much bigger picture. Regional Cooperative Invasive Species efforts are a practical implementation of this “big picture” mindset. This presentation will cover recent efforts to create and empower Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas across all of Michigan. It will also cover several networks that continue to provide critical support and value to these groups at local, state, and basin-wide scales.


Greg J. Norwood serves as Invasive Species Coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources – Wildlife Division. Previously, he was a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge where he was involved in forming the Detroit River-Western Lake Erie Cooperative Weed Management Area which includes some of the “weediest” natural areas in the state. Most of his work involved a variety of natural area projects, including adding land to the Refuge, prescribed fire, ecological inventories, wetland impoundment management, transitioning agricultural fields to other habitat, facilitating public use, and prescribed fire. Currently, he assists the Division and partners with decisions and strategy surrounding invasive species. 

Dr. Don Uzarski, CMU Professor of Biology, serves as the Director of CMU’s Institute for Great Lakes Research and Biological Station on Beaver Island, MI. He is a limnologist and aquatic ecologist with a focus on measures of ecosystem health of Great Lakes coastal wetlands.

Uzarski leads a 10-year $20 million Great Lakes coastal wetland-monitoring program for the US EPA. He can speak to a wide range of topics including human impacts on waterways, indicators of ecosystem health, pollution and runoff and the overall health of the Great Lakes. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts, most of which have been wetlands related. His work has been cited in scientific journals over 1200 times.

Ryan Wheeler is the Invasive Species Biologist for Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources, Forest Resources and Wildlife Divisions. Ryan works on many aspects of comprehensive invasive species management, with an emphasis on building and strengthening collaborative partnerships. Some of Ryan’s key responsibilities include serving as technical contact for projects funded by Michigan’s invasive species grant program and leading a multi-agency committee working on decontamination policy and recommendations for preventing the spread of invasive species in Michigan. Ryan also serves on the boards of the Michigan Wetland Association and the Midwest Invasive Plant Network. 

Part 1: Introduction: Marla Stelk, Policy Analyst, 
Association of State Wetland Managers
Gregory J. Norwood, Michigan
Department of Natural Resources
  Part 2: Presenter: Gregory J. Norwood, Michigan
Department of Natural Resources
Part 3: Presenter: Dr. Don Uzarski, Central Michigan University   Part 4: Presenter: Ryan Wheeler, Michigan Department
of Natural Resources
Part 5: Questions/Answers    

Past Webinars: [2017]
Future Invasive Species Webinars