Working Towards a Phragmites Free Future
March 01, 2022
Towering over other vegetation at 20 feet tall and dominating the entire shoreline of Hummock Pond, Phragmites Australis, or the common reed is one of the most aggressive and ecologically damaging invasive species found on Nantucket.
In partnership with the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, Nantucket Pond Coalition, and Nantucket Islands Land Bank, Mass Audubon’s Nantucket Sanctuaries are actively managing the 6-acre phragmites population at Lost Farm Wildlife Sanctuary. Using the best available conservation science and techniques this effort represents a 5-year campaign to reclaim the shoreline from the invasive phragmites, as well as annual monitoring efforts in perpetuity to prevent its re-establishment. Across all partners the project represents a 36-acre habitat management project that will allow for native vegetation and wildlife to return, as well as greatly improve the viewshed of Hummock Pond for members of the public to enjoy as they walk the trails of Lost Farm and the Coast to Coast Trail.
At this stage of management, phragmites stalks have been treated with Clearcast, a non-glyphosate product, which only binds to certain molecules in plants avoiding adverse impacts to nearby wildlife and pollinators.
Earlier this month, remaining dead stalks were mulched in place using a Marsh Master. The Marsh Master is an amphibious track vehicle specifically designed to traverse wetland terrain with little to no impact.
Although the project is only in its first year, the progress has been stunning. Visit Lost Farm Wildlife Sanctuary to take in the new and improved views of a phragmites-free Hummock Pond. Progress updates to come!