An invasive plant is threatening to choke Georgian Bay shoreline wetlands and form dense stands that block views and water access. It’s called Phragmites, an invasive ornamental grass originally from Eurasia that is running rampant in Ontario.
The Blue Mountain Watershed Trust, a Collingwood environmental charity of more than 20 years' standing, has joined forces to do something about it. Under the leadership of the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority and together with Georgian Bay Forever and the Town of Collingwood, they are mapping the extent of the invasion and organizing a major event for Saturday, August 12 called Fight the Phrag, where they will be removing Phragmites from Collingwood’s shoreline.
The danger is acute: Phragmites is an aggressive plant that spreads quickly and out-competes native species for water and nutrients. It releases toxins from its roots into the soil to hinder the growth of and kill surrounding plants. It’s choking up our vulnerable wetlands and creeping in on beaches.
The Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation (Watershed Trust), Ontario’s first watershed trust, was founded in 1994. During the past 23 years, the Watershed Trust has dedicated itself to the task of protecting the Silver Creek and its Wetland, one of the region's most valuable natural features. The Silver Creek Watershed offers $10.5 million worth of non-market ecological services to the province each year.
The mandate of the Watershed Trust is to “develop awareness and promote partnerships that are required in order to successfully implement watershed planning in the Blue Mountain watersheds”. It is a grassroots, all-volunteer organization supported by donations and fundraising. The organization exists in order to raise awareness of and protect watercourses in the Collingwood/Blue Mountains area, including Silver, Townline, Batteaux and Black Ash Creeks; the Beaver and Pretty Rivers; and Indian Brook.
Organizers are looking for volunteers for the August 12 event.
“We need people to come out and lend a hand cutting and removing the plant. Sign up for either the morning session from 8 to 11 or in the afternoon from 2 to 5,” noted organizers.
A volunteer appreciation lunch will be held from 11:30 to 1:30. For registration, visit www.fight-the-phrag.eventbrite.ca. For more information, contact Sara Finnimore at 705-424-1479 ext. 264 or firstname.lastname@example.org.