On Saturday July 8th, about 40 people gathered in Goderich to talk about Phragmites: what it is, why it’s a problem, and what we can do about it. Phragmites is Canada’s worst invasive species, and it is starting to be seen more frequently in Huron County. It is found most often where there is water – along roadsides, in agricultural drains, and in rivers and wetlands.
The take home messages from the day?
- Phragmites grows and spreads very quickly. It’s damaging our environment by displacing native plants and animals. It hurts tourism by invading beaches and rivers, and agriculture by preventing water flow.
- There are several ways to control Phragmites, including spading, chemical control, burning, rolling, and drowning. The best method depends on the site, and it’s likely you’ll have to work for several years to fully get rid of it.
- Phragmites is a BIG problem in other areas and is expensive to control if it’s well established. We need to ACT NOW to prevent it from becoming a big problem in Huron County.
- Working together is our best chance to get rid of this invasive plant from our community!
The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority can advise landowners on control methods for Phragmites, and are available to spray Phragmites (if that is the appropriate method) on a fee for service basis. Contact Kate Monk at 519-235-2610.
Our three incredible speakers made the day a great success. Dr. Janice Gilbert is Ontario’s leading Phragmites expert. She has done extensive research on the effect of Phragmites on Ontario’s wetland ecosystems, and has been travelling across the province to talk about why it’s important to control Phragmites and the impacts it could have if we don’t take action. Nancy Vidler is passionate and determined about mobilizing communities to remove Phragmites. She is an active member of the Lambdon Shores Phragmites Community Group, which has done extensive work to eradicate Phrag. Lynn Short is a Professor at Humber College and has been removing Phragmites using a ‘spading technique’, which she demonstrated to the group at the Hindmarsh property.
We were pleased to co-host the Phragmites information session and demonstration with the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation, and Maitland Conservation. The day would not have been possible without the support of the John Hindmarsh Environmental Trust Fund.