ENVIRONMENT

“Planting parties” at Utah Lake working to rid the lake of invasive phragmites

Jul 5, 2024, 9:30 AM | Updated: 4:45 pm

A photo taken on the Saratoga Springs shore of Utah Lake on August 21, 2021....

A photo taken on the Saratoga Springs shore of Utah Lake on August 21, 2021. The Utah Lake Authority is hosting "planting parties" to replace an invasive plant species with native vegetation. (Mariah Maynes/KSL NewsRadio)

(Mariah Maynes/KSL NewsRadio)

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — The Utah Lake Authority is hosting “planting parties” to put native vegetation in places where invasive plant species had previously been spreading.

Phragmites are a type of reed that have been taking over at Utah Lake and places across the country. Utah Lake Authority’s Deputy Director Sam Braegger said they have been partnering with other agencies to keep the phragmites at bay.

Now Braegger said they’re working toward revegetation with lots of groups who want to help them plant more native species.

“It’s been great to have groups come and help in that way, and I think they find it very fulfilling to spend an hour or two on the shoreline,” he said. “Our staff are all out there with them. They get to learn and ask questions about the lake. And then, help give back in putting plants into the ground.”

Braegger says the Utah Lake Authority, formerly called the Utah Lake Commission, has been working on phragmites removal for more than 15 years, along with their partners from Utah County, the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Wetland Restoration Initiative, and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food’s Invasive Species Mitigation Fund, among others.  

“Beating back the phragmites has been necessary for some time because phragmites is very aggressive,” he said. “It grows in very thickly, so it’s terrible habitat. There’s not very much of wildlife, birds and fish, that can get in there.”

This is the Utah Lake Authority’s first time doing a “concentrated revegetation” effort.

“We’ve put out some seed before, in recent years, but just seed is all we’ve done,” Braegger said. “This year, for the first time, we’re going out and actually planting 10,00 plugs.”

Braegger said the goal is to plant over 40,000 seed plugs next year.

Heather Peterson is a reporter and producer for KSL NewsRadio. She also produces Utah’s Noon News.

Related: Potentially toxic algal bloom detected at Utah Lake

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“Planting parties” at Utah Lake working to rid the lake of invasive phragmites