Phragmites are a harmful wetland grass that has been causing problems for many residents in southern St. Clair County. According to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the aggressively growing and invasive grass outcompetes and blocks a marsh’s native vegetation and provides little or no food for wildlife that live there. Phragmites can grow up to eighteen feet tall causing a visual obstruction. The vegetation is sharp and has been known to cut skin. When the plant material dies, the remaining shoots become a fire hazard as well.
Cindy Babisz, Building Department Clerk for Clay Township, said that St. Johns Marsh was almost completely choked out by the Phragmites a few years ago. Three different chemicals, which are now applied regularly to the invasive vegetation, seem to be solving the problem. Babisz said the chemicals used are approved by the state of Michigan. She said they don’t pose a health risk to wildlife or the residents. Now, according to Babisz, the St. Johns Marsh area has almost returned to the way it used to be before the infestation.
Reporting for WGRT, Mike Smith.