Invasive non-native phragmites was recently discovered growing on the edges of White Bear Lake. Non-native phragmites, also known as common reed, is an extremely tall wetland grass. During the growing season, it can reach over 15 feet in height. The plant has dark green leaves with a large purple-brown flower head.
The plant was discovered in August 2018 by a paddleboarding “citizen scientist,” and the find was confirmed in early September, according to Scott Costello, White Bear Lake Conservation District (WBLCD) director. The plant can be effectively treated with herbicides only through the end of September, which did not allow enough time to organize a coordinated treatment effort in 2018. The WBLCD will work with Ramsey County, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Rice Creek Watershed District and local aquatic vegetation treatment experts to create an effective treatment program for 2019.
Management of invasive aquatic plants involving either mechanical removal of plants or application of herbicides to public waters below the ordinary high-water mark requires a permit from the DNR. If non-native phragmites is growing outside public waters on private land, it may be controlled by property owners (see University of Minnesota information on controlling phragmites, below).
Minnesota DNR information on invasive phragmites:
U of M information on invasive phragmites:
This web page includes detailed information on how to identify and control invasive phragmites.