National Park Service recently announced that contractors with the
North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) have begun treating
an invasive aquatic plant species known as Phragmites australis with
herbicide at the Bodie Island Lighthouse and pond within the Cape
Hatteras National Seashore.
boardwalk near the Bodie Island Lighthouse may be closed during certain
times of the day when spraying is occurring near the site from October
30 to October 31.
is present at the site, and other general information is available at
the Bodie Island Visitor Center adjacent to the lighthouse, which will
remain open throughout the project.
informally known as common reed, out competes and blocks out native
salt marsh vegetation, and provides little to no food or shelter for
most salt marsh-dependent wildlife. It alters wetland hydrology and
increases the potential for fire in infested areas. Upon the removal of
phragmites, native plants will be able to recover via seed, wind, and
animal dispersal, and hydrological flow of the area.
plants have been an issue for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore for
years. An invasive plant species that has been around for centuries,
this tall and pliable reed has been overtaking large swaths of the
area’s marshes and soundside regions, elbowing out other native
vegetation which used to thrive in the local landscape.
2012, the National Park Service (NPS) estimated that approximately 800
acres of brackish-water marsh in the park was being severely impacted
by Phragmites, and in 2012 and 2013, the park began an effort in
cooperation with the NPS Southeastern Exotic Plant Management team to
begin treating patches of Phragmites to prevent a continued spread into
other areas of the National Seashore.
Henry, an Environmental Protection Specialist for the National Park
Service (NPS), reported in an earlier interview that the NPS is looking
into future aerial spraying options, which will address the problem on
a much larger scale.
we need a more extensive mapping of where we are seeing the species,
and where it’s going,” she said. “But we’re working on a project for
[applying] aerial spray to larger infestation areas.”
steps are taken towards a more streamlined response to the common reed
infestation, Henry reported that the NCDOT will continue to treat
roughly 100 acres near the Bodie Island Lighthouse over next five years.