Program targets invasive plants at Belle Isle – and you can help

Jun 13, 2014

A program to remove invasive plants is coming to Detroit's Belle Isle this summer.

Credit Matt Lavin/ Flickr

A federal grant from the EPA of almost half a million dollars will go to Friends of the Detroit River. Sam Lovall is the project manager. He says removing the invasive plants is really important for the health of the island's ecosystem.

"Although some of them are quite attractive, they tend to overpopulate the area," said Lovall.

"They are very aggressive and they can compete very well with some of our native plants."

Phragmites is one of the plants being targeted for removal. The others are reed canary grass, purple loosestrife and Japanese knotweed. 

"Here locally, we have a responsibility for stewardship over this area," added Lovall. "Everything we can do to keep it in its best condition, is very important." 

The grant will also pay for an educational program that will involve students from Detroit.  Earlier this year, Belle Isle became a state park although the city of Detroit still owns the land. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is also contributing money and expertise for the project.  – Reem Nasr, Michigan Radio Newsroom