Vile weed! Restoring shoreline with controlled reed removal

Utah Lake has roughly 75 miles of shoreline, which serves as a gateway for water sports, recreation, and the development of wetlands. But an invasive reed has reduced that shoreline in recent years, making it difficult for residents to get the most out of the lake.

Named phragmites, the wetland reed can grow up to 14 feet tall in the water — that doesn’t make for such an attractive shoreline.

But more than just a cosmetic nuisance, phragmites are also harmful to the environment. With more than 5,800 acres of infestation around the lake, they overrun other native plants, are a natural fire hazard, and even increase the risk of disease by fostering unhealthy amounts of mosquito breeding, which explains why the phragmites was recently added to the Utah County list of noxious weeds.

To reverse the negative impact of the weed, local officials began a controlled removal in 2008. Now in its third year, the coordinated program has cleared approximately 1.5 miles of shoreline, according to Reed Price, director of the Utah Lake Commission. “This area stretches from the Lindon Marina south to Center Street in Vineyard Town,” says Price.

When asked when the removal will be complete, restoration coordinator Aaron Eagar said the program is ongoing. “Our goal was to be able to freely move around the lake in ten years,” he says. “This is aggressive and we might not be able to accomplish this in our original defined plan. It is a very difficult plant to eradicate entirely.”

For now, work continues but is dependent on funding that becomes available on an annual basis. Nevertheless, “It remains a high-priority goal,” Price assures. In the meantime, consider the progress made so far:

Photo credit: Daily Herald



  1. Please show tools and equipments used to remove reed and the personal protective equipments.

  2. I live right on the shore of Utah lake in Saratoga Springs. They have sprayed the phragmite and are in the process of smashing it down. Was just wondering what the next step is the process will be?