Assess Phragmites treatments

Our uniquely developed protocol for mapping and monitoring Phragmites is an adaptive management strategy, organized so that anyone dealing with a Phragmites infestation can follow it and contribute to our database. It follows a scientific method, and is continuously being edited and revamped as we develop our Phragmites project. It was created using a collection of other official Phragmites protocols; mainly the protocol of Tulbure and Johston's 2010 Phragmites sampling method, which can be further inspected under the scientific publications tab.

A widespread shortcoming of today's Phragmites managemnet programs is the lack of systematic, follow-up data on the impacts of types of treatment, especially chemical treatment. Our objective is to apply standardized, clearly documented methods to assess the current vegetation in historically treated sites

Authoring a standardized monitoring protocol for Phragmites will complete this project objective.There are many details included in this: how we will map Phragmites, field methods for monitoring, how we will assess treatments in the long run, comparing different protocols, etc.

As a result of this protocol being developed, we hope to answer the questions of
  • how many applications of glyphosate are necessary to adequately control local Phragmites populations
  • longetivity of native seedbanks at Phragmites invaded sites
  • expected diversity of native plant communities after repeated treatments
  • success of mechanical treatment methods vs. chemical treatment methods

Themes of the Protocol (shortened version)

Response Variables: 
  • percent cover of Phragmites
  • number of Phragmites stems per square meter
  • percent cover of native vegetation
  • species richness of vegetation
  • percent cover of other non-natives (narrow-leaf/hybrid cattail)
  • height and density of patches
Keeping in mind variables like
  • fluctuating water levels

Very similar to Tulbure and Johnston methodology

  1. sample plots distributed along randomly placed transects withing targeted study areas (using GIS and Sample program initially to do so)
  2. Randomly selected point = plot (generated by Sample) along transect
  3. Calculate percent cover for each plot visually (0-10%, 11-50%, & 51-100%)

Protocol will determine a minimum transect length and plot numbers within an area of transect (determined in proportion to the size of the wetland)

Tools of Assessment

Aerial Imagery

Drones a possibility (pic of drone guy - Cody?)
infrared phots during early spring or fall (carefully timed)
6-inch resolution, multi-spectral ortho photography (for on the ground stuff??)
Remote Sensing system: AES-developed strategy

Mapping Technology

GIS and Sample (randomization program)

Labs and Resources of the UWGB campus


Other Protocols

Our on-the-ground monitoring protocol is based off of a number of other previously existing methods of monitoring wetland vegetation. Our specific CCB protocol is a combination and a simplification of at least 5 different protocols. The protocol is updated and put into action mainly by the Cofrin Center's professional ecologist, Bobbie Webster. 


Floristic Quality Assessment

The floristic quality assessment (FQA) is a vegetation-based ecological assessment approach that is often used for wetland monitoring and quality assessment. For our purposes, the FQA contributes strategies for the vegetation-monitoring elements of the protocol. 
More about FQAs


Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Protocol

The Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Program, or CWMP, is an organization out of Central Michigan University, funded by the Great Lakes National Program under the EPA. While the goals of their project are not Phragmites specific, they are very involved with the state of invasives as a factor of the overall health of Great Lakes wetlands. As well as developing protocols for wetland vegetation, such as Phragmites, they also monitor fish, birds, calling amphibians, aquatic macroinvertebrates, and water quality in order to make an estimate on the condition of coastal wetlands. Their assessment of wetland vegetation includes the coverage and distribution of invasive plants and using the Floristic Quality Index to compare between other FQI scores.



NatureServe Wetland assessment protocol

Similar to other methods of wetland assessments, the NatureServe Network has developed an approach to assess habitat conditions, called Ecological Integrity Assessments (EIAs). Their EIA specific to wetland monitoring is what we can use as guidelines to our protocol. In particular, this assessment stresses metric values that signify ecological change or need for management action. 
More about NatureServe's wetland EIA


PAMF (Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework)                      

PAMF is a project of the Great Lakes Phragmites Comission, specializing in Phragmites management and monitoring, very similar to the ultimate goal of the CCB Phragmites Project.



Tulbure and Johnston's 2010 published sampling method for Phragmites

Mirela Tulbure and Carol Johnston are 2 wetland scientists who completed a report about the invasion and expansion of Phragmites australis in the Great Lakes Coastal wetlands, including the Green Bay area. The method they used to determine transect and plot points within a patch of Phragmites was a close guideline to how we develped ours in our protocol. 

Mirela Tulburne, University of New South Wales

Carol Johnston, South Dakota State University