• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Help us fight an aggressive invasive plant in Collingwood & Blue Mountains

In Environment
Aug 5th, 2018
Great Lakes Phragmites photo

From the Blue Mountain Watershed Trust

On August 18th the Blue Mountain Watershed Trust will be going head-to-head with Phragmites Australis, an invasive grass that grows so thick that turtles become trapped and die.

“It’s an extremely fast-growing, invasive, non-native grass,” says George Powell, a member of the Watershed Trust’s Watershed Action Group. “It continues to take over Georgian Bay shoreline, invade wetlands and threaten our most precious ecosystems, like wetlands.”

Together with the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority and other organizations, the Watershed Trust is organizing a community Phragmites cull on Saturday, August 18th. Everyone is welcome to come and volunteer, from children to seniors, for an hour or for the day. Details at www.WatershedTrust.ca/Events.

This strain of Phragmites is still sold as an ornamental plant in Ontario garden centres, despite an acknowledgement by the Government of Ontario that it is an invasive plant that must be stopped. The grass can grow up to 10 feet tall and has a soft tuft at the top that can contain over 2.500 seeds. It is a common sight along Ontario highways.

If left unchecked, Phragmites will cause serious damage to the biodiversity of our area. It out-competes native wetland plant species, creating a monoculture that compromises desirable habitat for all manner of wildlife. Phragmites also releases toxins from its roots into the surrounding soil, which impede the growth of and even kill off neighbouring vegetation.

Please join us along the Georgian Bay shoreline on Saturday, August 18th. Find sign-up information at www.WatershedTrust.ca/Events.
Morning session: 8:00 to 11:00
Lunch (free): 11:30 1:00
Afternoon session: 1:00 to 4:30

From the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority

To register or find out more information, visit fight-the-phrag-2018.eventbrite.com or contact Vicky Boyd, NVCA’s Phragmites Removal Coordinator, 705-424-1479 ext. 246, vboyd@nvca.on.ca.

This event is part of the efforts of NVCA, Georgian Bay Forever, Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation, the Town of Collingwood, local condominium associations, and concerned residents to monitor and control Phragmites. Over the past four years, volunteer cuttings have slowed the spread of Phragmites along the shoreline, helping to protect the rare Great Lakes coastal marshes found in Collingwood.

Funding for this project is provided by the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund, WWF Loblaw Water Fund, Environment and Climate Change Canada EcoAction program, Georgian Bay Forever, and others.

More information on Phragmites can be found on the NVCA website (www.nvca.on.ca). To report a sighting of Phragmites, contact the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711 or use your smartphone to report at www.eddmaps.org/ontario/

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