Let your voice be heard about invasive Phragmites
The Minnesota Noxious Weed Advisory Committee is currently accepting public comments on the state’s noxious weed classification process. The Noxious Weed Advisory Committee makes recommendations to the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture related to the state regulatory status of noxious or invasive terrestrial plants (including most wetland species). Depending on the regulatory status of a species, Noxious Weed Law may require control or eradication of a species or prohibit its importation, sale, and transport.
Invasive Phragmites is currently considered a restricted noxious weed, as opposed to a prohibited noxious weed. This classification prohibits the “importation, sale, and transportation” of the plant but falls short of requiring control or eradication. Recent research from MAISRC on the distribution and spread of Phragmites supports the need for a coordinated response involving control efforts to prevent this invasive wetland plant from become a widespread problem in Minnesota.
The Committee’s operations follow a three-year cycle in which species are assessed based on the latest scientific information. This year, the Committee will reconsider species for which it has completed risk assessments in the past. The Committee will decide which species to reassess in their meeting on February 27th. While the Committee’s recommendation regarding a species’ regulatory status will ultimately be based on scientific information included in the risk assessment, the public is encouraged to provide comments on species they think should be reassessed.
Is there a terrestrial or wetland plant species you believe should have a different classification under Noxious Weed Law, for which the Noxious Weed Advisory Committee has already conducted a risk assessment? Is there recent scientific evidence that supports a change in classification? If so, share your concerns with the Committee member whose position best represents you. Be sure to contact your representative on the Committee before their meeting on February 27th!
Invasive Phragmites is a tall, aggressively growing grass that can take over large areas of wetland and shoreline, push out native vegetation, and reduce habitat quality for wildlife. In Minnesota, it is a cryptic invader because native Phragmites is present as well. Researchers at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center are mapping the current distribution of Phragmites in Minnesota, determining its capacity for further spread, and developing management protocols for responding to different invasion scenarios. Click here to learn more about Phragmites and MAISRC’s research.
- A list of Noxious Weed Advisory Committee members can be found here.
- A list of plants for which risk assessments have been completed by the Committee can be found here.
- For a list of species regulated as noxious weeds and information about different regulatory classifications, click here.