A group of scientists has mapped the U.S. coastline of the five Great Lakes using satellite technology to identify stands of Phragmites australis, according to a release from Michigan Technological University. The reed-like plant can grow into stands of tall plants that pose a threat to coastal wetlands in the area.
The group used long wavelengths from radar and field studies to determine that large groupings of the invasive species are located within 6.2 miles of the coastline. If left untreated, the plants could take resources from native wetland plants, reduce the quality of nearby habitats or alter the composition of nutrients in surrounding soil.
The team included scientists from Michigan Technological University, the U.S. Geological Survey, Boston College and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The project was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.