Natural Features in Coastal Areas
Federally listed species in Michigan’s Coastal Zone
- Piping plover (Endangered)
- Hine’s emerald dragonfly (Endangered)
- Houghton’s goldenrod (Threatened)
- Michigan monkey-flower (Endangered)
- Pitcher’s thistle (Threatened)
- Lakeside daisy (Endangered)
- Dwarf-lake iris (Threatened)
Value of Coastal Areas
With over 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, Michigan is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of invasive species such as non-native phragmites. Its coastal beaches, dunes and diverse wetlands are exceptionally rich, harboring seven federally listed species, along with 15 distinctive community types and forty state endangered, threatened, and special concern species. (see a list of these species)
These coastal communities are critically important to migratory birds, near shore fish spawning and rearing, waterfowl hunting, and sport fishing. Early detection and rapid response of non-native phragmites in Michigan’s coastal zone now is one of the most proactive and cost effective actions that can be taken to conserve the coastal resources of the region.
Prioritizing Areas of Non-native Phragmites for Treatment
Click here to download a PDF of the draft booklet “Phragmites — and the rare plants, animals and natural communities along Michigan’s northern coasts”
When prioritizing areas for treatment, consider protecting high quality natural communities and those areas with threatened and endangered species before areas that do not have the same ecological significance.
Work first in areas with minimal invasion then treat areas that are moderately invaded and finally threat those areas with extensive invasion.
Develop a Treatment Plan
- It is important to determine whether any of the state endangered, threatened or special concern species occur in the area you plan to treat and to take appropriate measures to avoid negative impacts to these species. You may consult Michigan Natural Features Inventory for assistance.
- Herbicides must be used in a formulation that is specifically approved for use in wetlands.
- If rare plants occur in areas with non-native Phragmites, use appropriate measures to protect these plants from the potential negative impacts of the treatment. Generally, hand-swiping is safer than spraying herbicide in these situations, and glyphosate based products are less mobile in the soil than imazapyr.
- Identify and flag the location of rare plants prior to treatment
- Determine ahead of time the best place for the applicators to walk/drive when applying the herbicide to avoid trampling of rare plants
- Determine ahead of time the best method for applying the herbicide which is most appropriate to treat the Phragmites and impacts rare plants the least.
- Implement post-treatment monitoring
- Immediately after treatment
- The following spring
- One-year after treatment
- Determine ahead of time the most appropriate type of follow-up treatment to employ to reduce impacts to rare plants such as cutting or burning.
- Implement post-treatment monitoring
- Determine the potential for rare animals to occur in areas with non-native Phragmites
- A draft table has been developed by Michigan Natural Features Inventory to identify rare animals with potential to occur in coastal areas invaded by non-native Phragmites and to identify specific times of the year that these animals may be particularly vulnerable to activities associated with the treatment of non-native phragmites (i.e. herbicide use, trampling, cutting, burning, etc). This table is a work in progress and provides our best educated guess to date as little research has been done on this topic. See Table of Sensitive Animals.
- Use of surfactant-free glyphosate herbicides is recommended in areas with known amphibian populations, due to demonstrated toxicity of surfactants to tadpoles (see Herps and Phragmites).
- Due to limited research of potential impacts of herbicides and herps in general it is important to conduct herbicide treatments when frogs, turtles and snakes are less likely to be active in the treatment area and to use spot treatments rather than broadcast applications to avoid potential impacts to herps (see Herps and Phragmites).
- Use appropriate measures to protect these animals from the potential negative impacts of the treatment.
- Pre-treatment monitoring
- Search area for birds and nests to avoid applying herbicide to nestlings and/or to flush birds from the area to be treated.
- Search area for turtles, snakes and frogs. Hold or relocate species temporarily and release after treatment is completed.
- Flush insects from the treatment area to avoid applying herbicide to insects.
- Post-treatment monitoring
- Search area for birds, turtles, snakes, frogs and insects immediately after treatment and note any unusual behavior or potential impacts.