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Oconto County's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Phragmites Control Program

2013- The GLRI, WDNR and County Phragmites Control Project finished herbicide spraying in 2012 and feel it was completed with very good success. We have online maps, by township, available if you are interested in seeing what was sprayed. The Land Conservation Division has an informational brochure available on what an individual landowner can now do to control Phragmites on your property. If you would like a brochure or have questions about Phragmites or the project you can contact the Land Conservation office.

2011- A giant exotic grass has invaded our Lake Michigan shorelines and coastal wetlands. Phragmites australis is an invasive species whose spread is not halted by traditional legal boundaries between parcels!

Vast, tall, fields of Phragmites’, sometimes over 15 feet tall, with their feathery plumes block views of Lake Michigan, chokes out native plants, takes over everything, and makes our coastal shorelines and wetlands unfit for wildlife. “We’ve lost about 70% of the original wetlands along Lake Michigan, so it’s essential to maintain the remaining wetlands that we have left.” (Martin) Not only has Phragmites australis overtaken and invaded our States’ public lands, but also has prominently nestled itself within the backyards of over 800 Green Bay West Shores and Lake Michigan shoreline owners. A lot of those area’s landowners have nothing to look at now, except Phragmites! The past several years’ shoreline owners have been attempting to control infestations, and some have exasperated hundreds of dollars in this fight against this biological bully. But yet…it keeps coming back!

The DNR has recently been awarded $805,626 from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) for a large scale removal effort of invasive Phragmites and Lyme grass from 3,600 acres of coastal wetlands along 118 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, in Brown, Oconto, Marinette, Door, Sheboygan and Manitowoc Counties. As part of the EPA GLRI grant, the shoreline must be treated for control of these invasives. This is the first year of a three-year grant.

Federal funds are provided for the treatment of both public lands and private lands along the Lake Michigan shoreline, below the ordinary high water mark, within designated Conservation opportunity Areas (COA’s). The COA’s were designated as the best possible opportunities for the conservation of species of greatest conservations need (SGCN), identified in the Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan.

Most of the Phragmites along the Green Bay west shore is anticipated to be sprayed with helicopter because it’s tall, dense, and larger areas that aren’t accessible from the ground. Conditions are really wet, and many times it’s very difficult to get vehicles in – or tractors – to do the work.

If you are looking for the Phragmites Maps please click on forms and documents.

Contact:  Ken Dolata - County Conservationist
Phone: 920-834-7152
Click here to email
Address:  410 1/2 E. Main Street
Lena, WI 54139