Management of the invasive cord grass (Spartina alterniflora)

Ernita van Wyk - Invasive Species Programme, SANBI

Cord grass (Spartina alterniflora) is an invasive cord grass native to the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of North America. The species is adapted to living in salt marshes and estuaries and was found growing in the Groot Brak estuary between Mossel Bay and George in 2004.

Research shows that, if left unmanaged, the population in the Groot Brak can spread at a rate 0.162 ha per year, with the possibility of covering 41% of the total vlei area.

Experiences from Washington State (USA) suggest that small populations of this species can be eradicated. Despite the potential for eradication in the Groot Brak estuary, management of the species is in a seasonally open-closed estuary is challenging as natural estuarine conditions create limited windows of opportunity for success and treatment.

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