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Phragmites Management

Project Manager - Nicole Carpenter

nicole.carpenter@gbf.org, 1-905-880-4945 x 7

Invasive Phragmites are so common and look so harmless, that most people don't know just how threatening they are to North America's ecosystem. They are, however, fast-growing, wide-spreading, and leave little to no room for biodiversity where they stand. With thick stalks growing up to 15 feet high in dense clusters, they impair wildlife, dominate shorelines, alter water levels, and diminish water quality. They also impact human life by causing property damage, increasing the risk of floods and wildfires, and obscuring recreation and shoreline views.

 

Since 2012 we have been working with local communities in the Georgian Bay area to safely and naturally manage and restore balance to the area. We do so by mapping stands in the water and wetlands all across Georgian Bay, and routinely cutting those stands below water level in the most effective natural method for invasive Phragmites management.

Read more below...

Cutting in Water

A Natural and Effective Solution

Ideal for invasive Phragmites control where infestations are found in water and wetlands, the cutting/spading in water method is the most effective natural and safe option for eradication, as it does not involve chemicals nor does it pose significant threat to wildlife. 

By cutting at the base under water levels, the roots are flooded and unable to obtain the necessary amount of oxygen needed for further growth. This method requires a two-step system beginning with the cutting phase, and moving to the monitoring phase, in which possible subsequent cuts are necessary to remove any remaining growth that persists. Once new growth is no longer detected after follow-up monitoring, the stand is considered eradicated.

Read our seven-step instructions on how

to cut Phragmites below!

A Team Effort

For larger stands we employ the use of amphibious vehicles, which safely plow through the reeds, cutting multiple stalks at once. For smaller stands, we rely on the contributions of our volunteers, who help with stand-by-stand cutting over the course of the spring/summer growth season.

If you would like to learn more about volunteering on an ongoing basis, or if you would like to receive information about our seasonal community cuts, please email Nicole, and nicole.carpenter@gbf.org.

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Real Progress

By 2022, we have mapped a total of 962 sites, with 80% of those sites under control, either in the cutting/monitoring, or eradicated phase.

We are also excited to have been granted jurisdiction to cut along the shores of Georgian Bay National Park in the 2023 season.

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Invasive Phragmites

Invasive Phragmites stands are tall, dense, and often grow in monocultures, or what appear to be walls, obscuring the landscape, outcompeting native plants for nutrients, and impairing wildlife. They have tan or beige stems with broad blue-green leaves and large seed-heads.

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Native Phragmites

Native Phragmites grow shorter and in more sparse patches than their invasive relative, allowing wildlife to live and move within it. They have reddish-brown and yellow stems in a candy cane stripe pattern, thin yellow-green leaves, and small seed-heads.

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A Healthy Shoreline

A healthy, natural shoreline is biodiverse, allowing various kinds of plant-life to grow harmoniously, thereby supporting a rich food web. Access to water is made easy for land-dwelling and amphibious animals, and dead trees and branches provide shelter and help balance water levels.

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Matchedash Bay

Our work in Matchedash Bay, one of Canada's most distinctive wetlands, is of the utmost importance to preserving the biodiversity that makes Georgian Bay so special.

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