Protecting the wetlands of Matchedash Bay
Eradicating Phragmites and Rehabilitating Wetlands and Habitat
Georgian Bay Forever, has been mapping, monitoring, and cutting invasive Phragmites plant stands for over a decade, and with the help of supporters, partners, and volunteers, we have been able to eradicate hundreds of these destructive and fast-growing stands.
While we are fortunate enough to have jurisdiction to cut invasive Phragmites throughout large stretches of Georgian Bay, including the Georgian Bay National Park area, the presence of invasive Phragmites in Matchedash Bay is cause for special concern.
The ecological significance of
Matchedash Bay is one of the most biodiverse areas in Canada, with over 500 species of plants, 170 species of birds, and dozens of various fish, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. It is known for its geologically unique features, where the Precambrian Canadian Shield meets the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rock of southern Ontario, as well as its littoral features, including wet meadows and a coniferous wetland forest.
Matchedash Bay was recognized in 1996 by the Ramsar Convention and classified as a Ramsar Site, indicating its status as a "Wetlands of International Significance and Importance", due in large part to its abundance of avian habitat including staging ground for many rare and at-risk species of migratory waterfowl.
Threats to this unique wetland
The invasive Phragmites plant, also known as the common reed, may look harmless, but is in fact one of the most destructive invasive species in North America; in 2005 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada named it the worst invasive plant species in the country. Among other serious dangers, like urban development and pollution, the presence of invasive Phragmites poses one of the most urgent threats to the natural order of the Matchedash Bay wetlands.
Invasive Phragmites stands grow rapidly in dense monocultures, effectively overrunning native plant-life, and providing little to no viable habitat for native creatures. This imbalance in the natural ecosystem impedes the wetland's vital processes for maintaining water quality, and supporting biodiversity.
Real Action - Measurable Results
Georgian Bay Forever began taking action in 2021 with its partners Ganawenim Meshkiki, the MTM Conservation Association, and the Severn Sound Environmental Association to identify and remove invasive Phragmites stands from this critical wetland, and restore natural balance to its ecosystem. The project is two-fold, with the intention of eradicating the presence of invasive Phragmites in the Matchedash Bay area, and carrying out field work to monitor turtle species at risk with focus on the Blanding's turtle.
Our Key Performance Indicators for this project:
Map and identify locations of invasive Phragmites sites in Matchedash Bay
Cut, monitor, and eradicate the sites that have been identified (mapped and location recorded)
Plan spring surveys for recording data on all turtle species populations in Matchedash Bay
Increase awareness and support for this project through public education and social media campaigns
Hire staff and volunteers who will help to advance the efficacy of this project within our timeframes
We are always looking for people who are passionate about helping to preserve and repair Georgian Bay and the Great Lakes. If you would like to volunteer to help with invasive Phragmites removal, please email Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our volunteer page to find out more about volunteering with other projects.
Matchedash Bay Partners
Ganawenim Meshkiki (GMI) - GMI is the Trustee of the Eastern Georgian Bay Initiative (EGBI), a program to support conservation projects and the advancement of scientific knowledge that will benefit species at risk (SAR) and biodiversity in the Eastern Georgian Bay Region. GMI is governed by a board of directors appointed by Henvey Inlet First Nation. Website: www.hifn.ca
Marl Tiny Matchedash Conservation Association (MTM) - MTM is an incorporated not for profit charitable organization dedicated to managing one Provincial Resource Management Area and two Provincial Wildlife Areas: Marl Lake, Tiny Marsh, and Matchedash Bay, in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Ducks Unlimited Canada. The three public properties managed by this organization constitute approximately 2,500 hectares of crown land. Website: www.mtmconservation.org
Severn Sound Environmental Association (SSEA) - The SSEA is a Joint Municipal Services Board under the Municipal Act (Section 202). It was originally founded in 1997 as a partnership between federal, provincial, and municipal partners to support the completion of the Severn Sound Remedial Action Plan (SSRAP) and to provide a local community-based environmental office in the Severn Sound watershed. The SSEA provides continuing support to the federal and provincial agencies, but particularly to the local municipalities, through a commitment to ensuring exceptional environmental quality and exemplary stewardship of the Severn Sound area through sound science, collaboration and partnerships. The agreement partners include eight municipalities: Midland, Penetanguishene, Tiny, Tay, Springwater, Oro-Medonte, Georgian Bay and Severn. Website: www.severnsound.ca