Common reed (Phragmites australis) is an invasive plant which has taken over hundreds of acres in The Great Marsh during the past 30 years. Phragmites australis grows in a range of wetland habitats, from freshwater to seawater. Once established, Phragmites spreads rapidly and can quickly out-compete smaller, native marsh plants. In some locations, Phragmites can grow to over 15ft tall, while its roots grow 3-4 times deeper than the native marsh plants.
The problems created by the rapid spread of Phragmites has alarmed recreational users as well as conservation and management groups dedicated to The Great Marsh. The severity of the invasion, and the speed at which it has been occurring, has resulted in unprecedented cooperation between organizations with a wide diversity of interests.
Together, these groups are uniting to combat Phragmites with one common goal: Preserving The Great Marsh. This Kickstarter Project seeks to build on their work and illustrate the threat of Phragmites to a wider audience.
The Great Marsh is one of the most ecologically important salt marsh systems in New England comprising over 20,000 acres of marsh and other important coastal habitats. The 14 square mile area, spanning from Cape Ann to the New Hampshire border, is visited yearly by approximately 70% of the migratory birds in the eastern flyway. This unique estuary, where fresh and ocean waters mix, provides habitat for countless species and is extremely productive for sea life.
This Kickstarter project is seeking funds to create a series of videos to be hosted on Youtube. As the project develops with the growing season, we will post each segment on Youtube and embed them into informative web pages. We will also post QR coded signs linked to these web pages at locations all around The Great Marsh.
When the growing season ends in the fall, DVDs with the complete set of videos will be available for schools, organizations, and town officials around the Marsh.
Officials at The Trustees of the Reservation, Massachusetts Audubon Society, the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and Historic New England, Essex County Green Belt Association, and Essex National Heritage Commission have all expressed an interest in having the videos available as teaching tools and links on their web sites.
The three experts on The Great Marsh who will be featured in the video are:
With your help getting this project funded, we hope to educate the general public, elected officials, and business owners about the damage and the dangers caused by this invasive species throughout all the towns which share in the beauty and the responsibilities of this very important and precious ecosystem.
Hundreds of thousands visit the Great Marsh every summer, unaware of the stress Phragmites is putting on this fragile ecosystem. By funding this project, you will be helping us build a community committed to a healthy future for the Great Marsh and other wetlands across the country. Thank you from all us involved in this project for helping to make it possible.
Risks and challenges
The four people featured in our Kickstarter video are fully committed to producing an educational tool of some kind to help the general public, town officials, the business community to understand the problems Phragmites presents to this significant ecosystem. Each dollar you pledge to this project will be used to improve the production quality of the videos, increase the number of segments we can produce and ultimately increase the size of its audience. Simply put, the more you donate, the greater the number of people we will reach and empower with this information.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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