The 4,400-acre Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve is a prime nesting spot for dozens of species of bird. However, the largest undeveloped section of land along the eastern shore of the Great Salt Lake is being over-run with invasive phragmites.
Covering approximately one-fifth of the Preserve, the plant is capable of altering the landscape; converting wetlands into uplands (dried out areas) with its sprawling root system, phragmites also pushes out the native grasses that local wildlife prefer.
"It provides no wildlife value," said Chris Brown, director of stewardship at The Nature Conservancy. "It is a very hard plant to kill, with an extensive root system." Groups have been trying to kill the plant since the mid 1980s using a variety of means; cows for grazing, herbicide applications, the Marsh Master (photo above and more about in the original article). "We're just kind of tackling it the best we can," says Brown.
The Marsh Master, weighing in at 6,000 lbs, sports a 100-gallon tank for herbicide; this allows workers to apply an initial herbicide application, then mowing down the plants after the herbicide has reached the root system. The machine was purchased by a donor.
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