Council Votes to Eradicate Invasive Plant Found on High School Property

Plant Found Next to Snowmobile Trail

February 20, 2013

Berlin Daily Sun

BERLIN – Two small stands of the invasive species called Phragmites have been found on the high school property.  Also known as the common reed, Phragmites is a large perennial grass that grows up to 15 feet tall that grows in wetlands.

Community Development Director Pamela Laflamme briefed the city council on the matter at last week’s meeting. She said a resident who walks in the area and was familiar with the plant noticed the stands in the wetlands area of the high school property.

She said there are two small stands – one is mature and the other is still in an immature stage. It is likely the plant was colonized when fill was added to the area for either the ATV or snowmobile trail systems.

Once established, the plants will take over and choke out native species vital to the wetlands. According to a fact sheet put out by the state Department of Environmental Services, Phragmites have little food or shelter value to native wildlife. Due to their hollow structure and abundant plant material, the plant is also a fire risk.

Laflamme said the only way to get rid of the plant is to chemically spray. She said the proposal is to chemically treat it over three summers at a total cost of $1,650.

She said there are licensed sprayers who do that work and would be responsible to get the necessary permits. Laflamme said the local snowmobile club indicated it would be willing to split the cost. But Mayor Paul Grenier said the city should take full responsibility to avoid any problems.

Councilor Diana Nelson moved to appropriate $650 to start the process this summer and the motion passed.

 

This picture shows the Phragmites to the left of the trail.  Picture courtesy of Kate Hartnett.

 

This picture shows a close up of what Phragmites look like in the summer.

 

This picture shows a close up of what Phragmites look like in the winter. 
If you see these plants along any of our trails, please report them to us so they can be dealt with.
These plants will crowd out the natural wetlands plants and will eventually take over an entire wetland.
When the stands are small, they can be dealt with at a reasonable cost so please be on the lookout!

 

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