By now, most of us have seen phragmites mentioned in the Chisago County Press or on the CLA Facebook page. There are several problems with Phragmites that residents of Center Lakes are facing. For many of us, pronouncing the word Phragmites is our first problem! Let us help you out with that one - It's pronounced FRAG-MI-TEZ! Unfortunately, there is a much greater problem, and it's the issue of the invasive species taking over some of the shorelines on North and South Center Lakes, and we need your help in taking our shorelines back.
WHAT IS PHRAGMITES?
Phragmites is an invasive, or a “non-native,” semi-aquatic perennial grass that came to North America in the 1700s to early 1800s. It is known as “Common Reed.” It is tall (reaching up to 15 feet) and densely growing. It is found in wetlands, river bank areas, on shorelines, and in roadside ditches.
WHY IS IT A CONCERN?
Phragmites in the Chisago Lakes area grow fast and can take over shoreland and wetland areas, push out native vegetation, reduce habitat quality for wildlife, obstruct lake views and block water access. North and South Center Lakes, and Chisago and South Lindstrom Lakes, are highly infested with Phragmites. A special thanks goes out to the Chisago Lakes Area Community Foundation for their grant award of $1,000 to be used to fight the battle with Phragmites. The funds have already been put to use to help stop the spread of Phragmites.
HOW IS IT CURRENTLY CONTROLLED?
Local lake associations are working with the MN Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC), the Chisago Lakes Lake Improvement District and Chisago Soil & Water Conservation District to identify and map occurrences of Phragmites and determine long-term ways to treat infestations along shorelines and in wetland and upland areas in the Chisago Lakes area. Center Lakes Association and Chisago-Lindstrom Lakes Association are actively working with lakeshore owners to cut stands of Phragmites on shorelines and treat with an approved herbicide.
WHAT IF I HAVE PHRAGMITES ON MY SHORELINE?
Please contact CLA, and a representative will visit your lakeshore property, map the location and take a sample to send to MAISRC to confirm if it is native or invasive Phragmites. If found to be invasive, the lake association will contact you on how to best treat the Phragmites. Visit www.maisrc.umn.edu/phragmitesmap to see if your property has been identified as infested
THE ACTION PLAN
CLA put an action plan together earlier this year. Several work sessions were held, and volunteers sprung into action to help us get these weeds under control. The main focus throughout the winter was to get as much Phragmites cut down as possible. While we were able to address quite a few areas, the heavy snowfalls we experienced in February and March hampered our efforts. Now that we've got many of the areas cut down, the next step is to spray these infected areas this fall to prevent them from coming back.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Treating Phragmites will cost approximately $500/acre to treat. Due to lack of funding from the state, donations to the AIS fund will be used to help remove these weeds from our lakes. Please consider donating to the AIS fund on our website at https://www.centerlakes.org/weeds. You may also mail in your donation if you prefer.