Invasives Management

Management of Invasive Plant & Animal Species
Cows Grazing

Invasive species are defined as those species (both plant and animal) that are normally not native to an area that can cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.

Phragmites (Phragmites australis), also known as common reed, is an aggressive invasive plant that once established can form dense stands that crowd out native wetland vegetation. Phragmites currently occupies large areas on the Refuge and is the number one priority for invasive plant treatment and control. The Refuge uses a combination of methods to control the spread and reduce the area occupied by Phragmites. These methods include, prescribed burning, mowing, cattle grazing (pictured above) and the application of herbicides. Dr. Karin Kettenring and fellow colleagues have been doing Phragmites research, click the link to learn more about their findings.  

Medusahead rye, an exotic annual grass, appeared on the Refuge a few years ago. We have targeted this small infestation for eradication to keep it from spreading. So far we have been successful in our efforts to rid the Refuge of this plant. We will replant the treated area to native grasses and continue to monitor to be sure that Medusahead does not return.

Other invasive plants that the Refuge treats include Salt cedar, Canada thistle, hoary cress, perennial pepperweed, poison hemlock, and dyer’s woad. Invasive animals occurring on the Refuge include the American bullfrog and the common carp.

Facts About Invasives Management

One of the largest threats to public lands in the U.S., next to habitat loss, is the invasion of invasive plant and animal species. If left unchecked, invasive species can completely alter habitat and water quality.