At the behest of the Water Management Board, the Wolverine Lake Village Council has directed the Department of Public Works (DPW) to begin cutting down an invasive plant in the wetland area along South Commerce Road between Wolverine Lake Drive and Shankin.
Phragmites, an invasive species that chokes out other native vegetation like cattails in wetland areas, can grow to heights between 10 and 15 feet. The plant is known to be resistant with no natural predators and spreads quickly through seeds or by shoots from underneath the ground.
The most effective method of eradicating the plant is through herbicides, but since time is of the essence, cutting the plant down systemically is the only option.
“An herbicide is not effective right now, but cutting may be with the lake levels down,” said Water Management Board Chairman Cliff Yantz. “If we cut them close to the ground and then raise the lake levels, we can flood them and it would have a detrimental effect on the plant.”
Moreover, the Village Council prefers to start with a conservative and natural approach.
“A natural control is always a first preference,” Village Council President John Magee said. “We’ll save the herbicide option if we can’t deal with it in any other way.”
The optimum time to cut them down is now because the lake’s annual water drawdown has exposed about 18 inches more of the plant.
Therefore, the DPW will soon begin clipping the phragmites. The only question that remains is how to dispose of the cuttings.
“If we take the seeds to the mulch pile, we run the risk of spreading (the plant) by bringing the seeds to the landfills so we’re recommending they burn them,” Magee said.
However, the village has a leaf burning ordinance in place that prevents the plants from being burned. Village officials will be amending the ordinance to make an exemption for invasive species that can be hauled out of village boundaries.