Keeping Phragmites at Bay on the Bruce Peninsula

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Nicole with her barge and the net used to haul the phragmites onto the dump trucks. Photos Credit: Jeremy Thorn
Submitted by Wendy Rodgers

Phragmites, a tall invasive grass that is taking up residence along the shorelines of the Bruce Peninsula, was hit hard in Oliphant. For four days at the end of August, the Truxors (amphibious machines) cut phragmites in the Fishing Islands and along the shoreline of Lake Huron.
This huge undertaking was coordinated by Leslie Wood. Janice Gilbert was hired for the four days. She brought up her two Truxors to cut and rake up the phragmites and two barges to transport the cut phragmites to the dock. The Town of South Bruce Peninsula had a high hoe at the dock that lifted the phragmites in nets and filled the dump trucks. The dump trucks then transported the phragmites to a quarry to dry. Once the grass is dry, it will be burned.
For one of the days of this event, the Truxors were sponsored by the Rotary Club of Wiarton, 28 volunteers were coordinated by the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association, led by Wendy Rodgers. Donna Stewart, of Bruce Peninsula Boat Tours, transported volunteers to and from the cut sites. Leslie Wood also had a team cutting phragmites with Stihl saws and Leslie was transporting the cut phragmites on her barge to the shore.

The two Truxors parked on the shore at Oliphant. Photo Credit: Jeremy Thorn


The volunteers cut phragmites along the north shore of the marina at Oliphant and then went on to cut offshore in the harbour. Near the end of the day, volunteers gathered the phragmites as the Truxors finished up their day.

A volunteer with a raspberry cane cutter, holding a stolon of phragmites.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Thorn


Tonnes of Phragmites was cut and transported to the quarry to dry during these four days.
This was the 3rd year the Truxors have cut at Oliphant. The results of repeated cutting are thinning stands of phragmites and eradication. The high water levels just lately help by drowning the phragmites and persistence is the key to keeping this aggressive grass at bay.
Thank you to everyone involved for your time, your interest and your support in this huge effort to remove phragmites from this hot spot on the Lake Huron shoreline.
Phragmites is still being cut by hand along the shores of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay in the Northern Bruce Peninsula. Communities have noted zero and reduced presence at many sites. The Stokes Bay area towards Greenough Point is a hot spot on the shores of the Northern Bruce with sites that are difficult to access. We will be cutting into the fall as long as the weather holds.
Thanks to all the volunteers for helping us this year.