Feeling the burn: Controlled fire helps snuff out invasive species at nature preserve
UW-Green Bay’s Cofrin Center for Biodiversity helped conduct a prescribed burn at Pt. au Sable Nature Preserve Thursday, May 17, part of the restoration process for a coastal wetland at the preserve.
The wetland historically has been a magnet for migratory waterfowl and a breeding habitat for many wetland animal and plant species, said Bob Howe, director of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity. But the aggressive, non-native grass Phragmites australis has invaded the wetland, at least partly because of low water levels in Green Bay. In addition to the burn, officials will conduct follow-up treatments and use other methods of ongoing control.
“We are committed to restoring the beneficial properties of this wetland,” Howe said, “which is a process that probably will take many years.”
Professionals and students from the Wildland Firefighter program of Fox Valley Technical College conducted the burn, using funding from a private gift account of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, Howe said. No taxpayer dollars were used.