Phragmites australis (wikimedia.org)
Maureen Pfaller, program director at the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay, knows the importance of catching phragmites early. "It takes over shorelines. It totally decimates the native plant population, so that takes away all the habitat and things for near-shore bugs, birds, animals of any sort, reptiles, and there are just a couple of birds that use it. It totally messes up the ecosystem and also decreases property values." Good thing for Pfaller and others who caught it early; according to Katie Grzesiak, invasive species network coordinator for the Michigan Invasive Species Network, they’re the envy of the state. "We caught it early and got great support from the community. Everyone else in the state is just super envious and thinks it's fantastic."