Over the next several years, Voyageurs National Park staff will be working aggressively to remove invasive hybrid cattails from the park’s wetlands in an effort to reestablish native species such as wild rice, bulrushes and bur-reed. In the first phase, park biologists will explore a variety of removal methods such as fire, hand removal, and using mechanical harvesters. It will set up monitoring plots this summer to determine which locations are suited to the various methods.
Hybrid cattails formed when native broad-leaved cattails crossed with European narrow-leaved cattails. Invasive cattails disrupt the base of the food chain by forming dense stands that prevent native species from providing critical spawning habitat for bait fish such as golden shiners and white suckers as well as larger game fish such as black crappie and northern pike.
Invasive cattails also grow much faster than native varieties and have thus begun to fill in ponds which provide resting points and forage for local and migrating waterfowl as well as songbirds, disappearances of which have been linked to invasive cattails in parts of Minnesota.
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Cattail areas within Voyageurs National Park: