Fighting phragmites on the Platte

Ducks Unlimited joins groups pushing back invasive weed

A hellicopter sprays invasive wetland grass along the Platte River.

© Sydney Norris, Twin Platte Natural Resources Distr

A hellicopter sprays invasive wetland grass along the Platte River.

When phragmites, an invasive wetland grass, threatens the natural flow of the Platte River, the Platte Valley Weed Management Area (PVWMA) brings in a helicopter to fight against it. Ducks Unlimited is a partner in a project to combat phragmites, which grows in large groups and can choke-out other vegetation, as well as hamper water flow on rivers like the Platte.

“Phragmites are a problem across the country, so it’s not just an issue on the Platte,” said John Denton, DU’s manager of Nebraska conservation programs. “However, I would say this is the most aggressively I have ever seen it managed during my travels.”

In areas where this weed has grown over large portions of the river, phragmites almost pushes water outside of its banks, which has happened in the past on the Platte River. The PVWMA has stepped up to prevent this weed from choking out the river again. Approximately 5 million dollars has been spent in the past 13 years, spraying the banks of the Platte River to control phragmites.

The program depends on the support of landowners, grant agencies, federal and state partners, and organizations, like Ducks Unlimited, to continue this project as this species will come back year after year.

See full story on Twin PLatte Natural Resources District's webpage