Join The Fight Against Invasive Phragmites: Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association Seeking Volunteers

105
This tall, dense stand of Phragmites demonstrates what can happen when they are left to grow uncontrolled.
Submitted by Paul Flanagan, BPBA Intern

Phragmites is a highly invasive plant that is choking our wetlands and blocking our shoreline access. Enlist in the battle against them this summer! The BPBA is seeking volunteers for a few intensive weeks of effort in August to help us cut back Phragmites patches all over the Peninsula. 
Phragmites are invasive, aquatic plants that can grow up to six meters tall if left uncontrolled. Their dense growth pattern and underground root networks can overwhelm native vegetation and take over shorelines and wetlands. They release chemicals into the soil that inhibit the growth of native plants. Over time, uncontrolled Phragmites growth will also obstruct recreational activities that require access to shorelines and wetlands, including boating and fishing. Given this potential for serious damage to our ecosystem, it is important to control the spread of Phragmites before they are firmly established along the Peninsula. 
The Municipality of the Northern Bruce Peninsula has provided support to this year’s BPBA Phragmites Program, in the form of a $5,000 grant. This money is being used to hire staff, who will organize nine community cut and disposal events. Even with this support, the BPBA will only be able to treat seventy, high-priority sites (out of a total of 1,100 identified sites) throughout the Peninsula this summer. This is the result of various funding cuts to the Association’s budget.
The Association is very grateful to the Wiarton Rotary Club, which has donated $7,500. These funds will go towards the rental of Truxors, which are large, amphibious machines that are capable of efficiently removing significant amounts of Phragmites. The BPBA is also thankful to Donna Stewart and Dr. Leslie Woods for their coordination, hard work, and expertise in fighting Phragmites around the Oliphant Fishing Islands.
There are two weeks in August when the Phragmites are most vulnerable. During this time, we will be working in a variety of locations, including Oliphant, Pike Bay, and Stokes Bay. The BPBA has partnered with local community groups in the past to organize community Phragmites cut days. We are hoping to rely on these partnerships again this summer.
To find out how to get involved and assist, or to contact the BPBA about Phragmites-related issues, please email: info@bpba.ca