On August 18, the Blue Mountain Watershed Trust will be going head-to-head with Phragmites Australis, an invasive grass that grows so thick that turtles become trapped and die.
"It’s an extremely fast-growing, invasive, non-native grass,” says George Powell, a member of the Watershed Trust’s Watershed Action Group. “It continues to take over Georgian Bay shoreline, invade wetlands, and threaten our most precious ecosystems, like wetlands.”
Together with the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority and other organizations, the Watershed Trust is organizing a community Phragmites cull on Saturday, August 18. Everyone is welcome to come and volunteer, from children to seniors, for an hour or for the day. Details at www.WatershedTrust.ca/Events.
This strain of Phragmites is still sold as an ornamental plant in Ontario garden centres, despite an acknowledgement by the government of Ontario that it is an invasive plant that must be stopped. The grass can grow up to 10 feet tall and has a soft tuft at the top that can contain over 2,500 seeds. It is a common sight along Ontario highways.
If left unchecked, Phragmites will cause serious damage to the biodiversity of our area. It out-competes native wetland plant species, creating a monoculture that compromises desirable habitat for all manner of wildlife. Phragmites also release toxins from its roots into the surrounding soil, which impede the growth of and even kill off neighbouring vegetation.
If you'd like to help out along the Georgian Bay shoreline on Saturday, August 18, you can find sign-up information at www.WatershedTrust.ca/Events.
Morning session: 8 – 11 a.m.
Lunch (free): 11:30 – 1 p.m.
Afternoon session: 1 to 4:30 p.m.