2019 Phragmites Management

Cows Grazing Phragmites

May 24, 2019 - Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge (BRMBR), as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, is mandated by law to manage for the wildlife and their habitats. In determining water levels for the public use units, several factors are considered including biological needs of birds, water availability, and management of habitat for the long term. Extremes in water availability, whether drought or flood present real challenges. Further, the encroachment of the non-native phragmites, threatens the viability of a healthy marsh system in the long term and makes large areas of wetlands inaccessible to wildlife and humans alike. The management of phragmites has become a priority management objective and includes grazing, prescribed fire, water management, and herbicide application.

Management actions for the non-native phragmites for summer 2019 that are planned include the draining down of water in Units 2C and 2D, for the following management objectives. 

  1. Grazing cattle to reduce phragmites plant material and prevent the outward spread, following last summer’s prescribed burn;
  2. Maintain a multiple-treatment approach to prevent dense stands of phragmites from forming; and
  3. Improve water management that reduces favorable conditions for phragmites growth.