Crews Beginning Invasive Plant Management Efforts on Belle Isle

Contractors and volunteers are working to remove Phragmites and other invasive plants from Belle Isle.

The second year of an effort to eradicate invasive species from Detroit’s Belle Isle begins this week. Funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, contractors will apply herbicides to non-native plants on the island, while other groups work to manually remove select species. Project Manager Sam Lovall, working for Friends of the Detroit River, says plants like phragmites and reed canary grass have been overrunning parts of the park.

“They can take control and form dense thickets, and then the big problem with that is that they’re not necessarily a food source for any of our native animals, so they become basically dead zones from a habitat standpoint.”

-Sam Lovall, Friends of the Detroit River

Lovall says during last year’s efforts to combat invasive species on Belle Isle, volunteers removed about 50 acres of phragmites. He says the current program will continue until winter begins.