Efforts to control this invader are not new. Maine Audubon Society’s landmark 1999 assessment of the Scarborough Marsh identified the spread of this invasive plant as a major threat to the marsh’s biologic diversity and productivity. Mitigation measures, such as plugging of man-made ditches on the marsh plain and targeted treatment of dense Phragmites stands with herbicides have been employed over the last two decades in attempts to control this pernicious intruder. But its invasion continues.
During the first phase of the study this summer, Normandeau will map the current extent of Phragmites and other invasive plants in the marsh and evaluate potential causes of the individual patches. Concurrently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be conducting a habitability assessment of the marsh north of the Eastern Trail near Route 1 focusing on the salt marsh sparrow. Using findings from both studies, coupled with research and best practices developed for other salt marshes, Normandeau will develop recommendations for habitat improvement strategies and priorities for Phragmites treatment. Project completion is scheduled for December 2018. A report will be available for download on the FOSM web site. FOSM also plans to host a public workshop to discuss the project findings after the report is released.
Funding for the Normandeau study is being provided by FOSM and grants from the Davis Foundation, the Maine Communities Foundation.