Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Landowner Help for Common Reed Control

Picture of standing man with common reed towering over him.

Photo by James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service,

Landowners across southeastern Wisconsin know about common reed, an invasive grass that is even tougher than cattails. If this invasive species is on your hit list we have good news for you.


Common reed (Phragmites australis), also called phragmites, invades moist habitats including lake shores, river banks and roadways. It has extensive rhizomes that can quickly spread underground and take over large areas. These rhizomes store energy, as a result, the plant can recover from cutting, burning or grazing. 

Common reed alters hydrology and wildlife habitat, increases fire potential, and shades native species. It can spread through root fragmentation, long runners above ground, and sometimes windblown seeds or cut stem fragments. Phragmites is on the Wisconsin DNR Chapter 40 list of prohibited and restricted species.

According to the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Phragmites is the tallest wetland grass in Wisconsin. It grows upwards of 14 feet. Seed heads are visible from August to September, and it has a round stem, long, wide leaves. Its prominent plume-like seed head that is whitish to purplish in color. Be aware, there is a variety of Phragmites native to Wisconsin that forms less dense patches (you can generally see through the stand) and flowers earlier (July to August).

The Midwest Invasive Plant Network (MIPN) is working in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service Region 9, to host a series of 3 webinars in January and February featuring case studies of the restoration of sites invaded with exotic pest plants.


Illustration of common reed seed head.

The first event will be on Tuesday, January 16th, 11:30 – 12:30 CST. The presentation is titled “Bridging the Gap – New Insights on Technology and on-the-ground Management of Phragmites.” The presentation will be given by Steve Apfelbaum, Founder and Chairman of Applied Ecological Services out of Brodhead, Wisconsin.

For free registration, please visit the MIPN site, and make sure the email address is in your approved contacts to receive the webinar link.

October 2017

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Bring in the Hit Squad

Picture of young garlic mustard plants.

Young garlic mustard plants are especially easy to treat in the late fall or early spring when native plants are dormant. [Conservation Media, llc]

Are you struggling with tough invasive like garlic mustard and reed canary grass? This is a great time to put a serious hurt on these super species. It is also among the most economical times to get your revenge.

By now, native plants have gone dormant. The landscape should by and large be brown and tan. For landowners, who are battling any number of exotic weed species, the remaining green is a bitter reminder of their problem.

Fortunately, this green also represents a unique opportunity. Since native plants are safely sleeping beneath the soil, landowners are free to use non-selective herbicides that would otherwise harm beneficial plants. Chief among these is glyphosate, which is cheap and highly effective.

Those living plants that are sprayed now will either be killed outright or severely weakened so that they are unable to survive the stress of winter. By contrast, application made in spring or summer might stress but not kill something like reed canary grass, which could substantially recover before the arrival of winter.

Glyphosate is short lived, breaking down in the soil in just a couple weeks. This means that wildflowers and native grasses that emerge in the spring will be unaffected by fall spraying.

I still avoid broadcast spraying in most situations because it is wasteful. Spot spraying is way easier when your green target weeds stand out so well. This tactic is especially useful in situations where weeds are scattered among more rate native plants I want to protect.

Depending on weather, this window can be short. Snow and hard freezes will force even hearty weeds into dormancy. Herbicides tend to be more readily taken up on warm sunny fall days. 

Herbicide needs to be part of an integrated weed management approach that includes management tools like controlled fire, cover crops and mowing. As always, follow label directions to minimize the amount of chemical used while making sure it will do its job.

Tuesday, 03 October 2017

Forest Weed Grant Applications Due Soon

Are you a private landowner in the Mukwonago river watershed. who wants to remove invasive weeds and brush from your woodlands? The Friends of Mukwonago River has funds available now from a WDNR Forest Weed Management Grant. Application deadline to the Friends is October 23, 2017.

Landowners in the Mukwonago River Watershed have a unique opportunity to receive financial assistance as they learn control techniques for these and other invasive species and perform restoration on their own properties under a Forest Weed Grant through the Friends of the Mukwonago River. Invasive species are the current most critical threat to the health of the watershed.

Interested? The landowner application is here: 2016 FWG Land Owner Application & Rubric, and the FWG Land Management Template. Figure out where and what on your property you want to manage. You will need to submit and follow a management plan that is not difficult.

The WMA-PFGP assists eligible weed management groups (WMG) in addressing invasive plants, both by dealing directly with the invasives and by providing education, information and outreach to others. This is a reimbursement program that covers up to 75% of the eligible costs, 25% match is required.

Questions? Contact Friends at  Send your completed application to this email address, or our PO Box 21, Eagle WI. 53119

March 2017

Thursday, 02 March 2017


September 2016

Friday, 23 September 2016

Celebrate 23rd annual NEEF National Public Lands Day

Working on your own land not only increases the amount and diversity of wildlife; it improves plant diversity and helps to create a network of high quality habitat across your community. We all also are joint owners of our public lands. Many of us enjoy camping, hunting, fishing, boating and hiking the parks, forests and wildlife areas we jointly own.

This is the 23rd anniversary of National Public Lands Day, when we spend a few hours paying back for the years of enjoyment we and our families have received. Sponsored by the National Environmental Education Foundation, this is the largest volunteer commitment effort of its kind. Spend part of your Saturday making that special park, forest or wildlife area near you even better.

Recent budget cuts mean it is more important than ever to pay back some of the enjoyment that our public lands provide. Lend a hand to help protect and improve the public lands in Wisconsin:

National Public Lands Day at Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

Local volunteers will one again roll up their sleeves to remove invasive plant species at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center during the 2016 celebration of National Public Lands Day. The event takes place rain or shine at the visitor center, located two miles west of Ashland, WI, on U.S. Highway 2, September 24 from 8:30 to 1 pm. Registration starts at 8:30 am. Volunteers should dress for the outdoors and wear sturdy shoes or boots. Work gloves will be provided but sizes and quantities may be limited. Bring gloves in case we run out.

Date and Time:

Saturday, September 24, 2016 – 

08:30 to 13:00
Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

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Seed collecting

Help care for Sugar River Wetlands State Natural Area! Collect seeds from native wetland plants to scatter in areas where invasive plants have recently been removed. We’ll identify several different plants and learn how to collect their seeds. This work will expand the quality wetland areas and continue the efforts started by the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association and Wisconsin DNR. No skills needed you will be trained onsite. See details below.

Date and Time:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

09:00 to 12:00

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National Public Lands Day at Black Duck Lake

Volunteers will assist with invasive species and trash removal from island.

Date and Time:

Saturday, September 24, 2016 – 

09:00 to 14:00
Black Duck Lake

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National Public Lands Day at Island in Stevens Point

Volunteer will help cut down invasive species and remove garbage from island in Stevens Point along the Wisconsin River.

Date and Time:

Saturday, September 24, 2016 – 

10:00 to 15:00
Stevens Point Area

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11th Annual SidieFest

Join Vernon Trails for our 11th annual SidieFest!
This community trail building festival has brought out over 800 volunteers over the past decade and helped to create the nearly 12 miles of "Shared Use" trails that we all enjoy. We will be meeting at the northern pavillion starting at 10am and work until 5pm. We will have various projects that include trail maintenance, trail rerouting, trail repair, and bridge work. After the hard work, we will celebrate ourselves with food and fun. Bring work gloves, boots, some snacks and some enthusiasm.

Date and Time:

Saturday, September 24, 2016 – 

10:00 to 19:00

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National Public Lands Day

Volunteers will meet BLM employees where Blue Heron Lane meets the Wisconsin River (44.467884, -89.573492) at 10AM on September 24th, 2016. With the help of BLM employees volunteers will work to eradicate some invasive species that have show up on this island (ie. buckthorn, japanese barberry, and garlic mustard). They will do this by cutting down tree species, and either hand pulling or spray foliar herbicide on other undesirable vegetation species.

Other specifics:

Date and Time:

Saturday, September 24, 2016 – 

10:00 to 14:00

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Milwaukee Community Service Market

The USFS will be hosting a booth at this new Community event focused on available resources for Milwaukee Community members. The USFS will be sharing info on federal lands, getting outdoors, etc. The event will include: community partner booths, health screenings, face painting, bouncy houses and free food.

Date and Time:

Saturday, September 24, 2016 – 

11:00 to 14:00

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Wisconsin Bat Festival

This free event feature celebrates  the unique role that bats play in our world!  Discover why bats are important to Wisconsin and learn how they keep us healthy.  Explore techniques you can use in your own backyard to help the environment, bats, and other wildlife.  On Friday, September 30th,  see how local bat experts use technology to study bats at our “Superheroes of the Night Demo” at the Urban Ecology Center at Menomenee Valley Branch at 3700 W.

Date and Time:
Friday, September 30, 2016 – 18:00 to Saturday, October 1, 2016 – 16:00
Urban Ecology Center and Milwaukee Public Museum

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August 2016

Sunday, 14 August 2016