Belle Isle has been the home to a variety of features; a nature center, the Detroit Zoo (which was moved in 1956) and the Belle Isle Children's Zoo (which closed in 2002 due to budgetary constraints). It has also been the home to a variety of flora and fauna, including tough to remove invasive species such as phragmites.
"What you see above ground is only 20 percent of the plant," said Melvadean Pearson, a conservationist active on the island, referring to Phragmites australis. "You have to treat it so it does a systemic kill. You can't dig it out. Some have 8-foot-deep roots. The best is to put it in the hands of professionals. It'll grow through the pavement. You want to stop it before it gets out of control."
Among the many planned restorations to buildings and the environment, conservationists hope to eradicate a long list of invasive plants; honeysuckle, common and glossy buckthorn, purple loosestrife, common reed, reed canary grass, private and another 10 species.
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