Ready to restore?

The Lake St. Clair CISMA restores ecosystem resilience and wildlife habitat through enhanced restoration strategies, such as seeking and supporting projects that permit restoration work following invasive species management. We can help by identifying and promoting native plant alternatives and planting strategies effective for resilience to invasive species.

Ecological restoration basics

Most ecological restoration projects include the following steps:

Step 1: Create a restoration plan

Step 2: Prepare the site

Step 3: Action

Step 4: Monitoring and follow-up

Step 1: Create a restoration plan

Create a site design plan taking topography into consideration – determine whether stabilization will be needed for erosion-prone sites such as shorelines and steep slopes. Select native plants and/or seed mixes that are appropriate to the site and geographic area. Create a monitoring protocol. Monitoring before and after restoration is critical to demonstrate the effectiveness of your management efforts and to learn what works best at your site. Plan access to the site in a way that minimizes disturbance as much as possible.

Step 2: Prepare the site

Remove biomass from the site if possible. Dead Phragmites & other invasive species' stalks and root masses can prevent native plants from emerging from the seed bank and make it easier for invasive Phragmites to re-establish. Biomass can be removed by burning or, at smaller scales, manually. Determine sanitation protocols to be used at the site to reduce contamination from invasive plants. Identify locations and methods for cleaning equipment before and after visiting the site. Ensure that all staff and/or contractors will be adhering to a sanitation standard (e.g. the Clean Equipment Protocol).

Step 3: Action

Execute your restoration actions at the site. Ensure that all equipment is cleaned before and after visiting the site, including boots and clothing of staff, contractors and volunteers. Take lots of photos and share your hard work on social media, to local news outlets and on your website to communicate that the goal of invasive species management is to restore sites like yours!

Step 4: Monitor

Monitor the site according to your predetermined protocol. Analyze your monitoring data to determine whether the restoration work was effective and change your strategy as needed. Remove emerging invasive plants that colonize the site ahead of native vegetation. Return to the site for follow-up work as needed – note that it may take several years for native plants to fully establish at the site.

Ecological Restoration Resources

Friends of the Mississippi River - Ecological restoration: A practice in patience

Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative - Restoration