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Invasive Phragmites Initiative

Phragmites (Phragmites australis) also sometimes called Common Reed is native to North America and commonly found around the world. One strain of this species is thought to be exotic or hybrid and is quickly replacing the native strain in many areas. Dense stands of this aggressive grass have replaced high-quality, complex communities of native plants over thousands of acres of Michigan wetlands and coastal regions. 


About CAKE CISMA's work

Invasive phragmites is one of our oldest invasive species, it was originally introduced to the United States in the 1700's or 1800's in ship ballast water. It is a restricted species in Michigan, which means that it is illegal to sell, trade, plant, or share per  Michigan's Natural Resources Environmental Protection Act (Part 413 of Act 451).  

Phragmites management in Northern Michigan traces back to a time preceding the CAKE CISMA program. Initially, it was a grassroots endeavor championed by lake associations, concerned citizens, and local environmental organizations. Since its establishment in 2015, CAKE CISMA has spearheaded invasive phragmites management across Northern Michigan. Our mission is twofold: to complement existing efforts by these organizations and to provide additional avenues for landowners to access free treatment for their phragmites infestations. In 2024, we'll be utilizing grant funding from the Great Lake Restoration Initiative and the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program to survey for and treat invasive phragmites. While we cannot guarantee treatment for every affected area, we are committed to leveraging these resources to address the most critical infestations. Our focus lies on targeting high-quality natural areas and locations directly linked to large surface water bodies. By prioritizing these sites, we aim to curb the spread of phragmites and safeguard the ecological integrity of our region's most sensitive ecosystems.

Get Involved


Request treatment 

We have grant funding from the Great Lake Restoration Initiative to offer free treatment of invasive phragmites to landowners in our service area. 


Help us find infestations 

We are actively mapping new phragmites infestations in our service area to inform the development of our regional phragmites management plan. Contribute to this work by emailing us photos and locations of phragmites you see in the CAKE region.  


Learn more about invasive phragmites and native phragmites


Above: Before and after invasive phragmites treatment. Image courtesy of the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network


Above: Native wildflowers resprouting at a site several years after CAKE CISMA conducted invasive phragmites treatments. 

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