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Invasive Phragmites Eradication

 red bay before

A patch of Phragmites australis before removal in Little Red Bay, September 2017. 

red bay after

The same patch after 2 days removal, September 2017. 

Evergreen 2018 pre cut

Returning to the patch in 2018. This is a pre cut photo where you can clearly see the difference cutting can do in just one year!



2018 was a hot, dry, beautiful summer for the Bruce Peninsula. We had three phragmites technicians that travelled North and South Bruce Peninsula removing invasive phragmites from shorelines and wetlands, bringing back the natural ecosystems and waterfronts. 

Between June – September 12th, 2018 approximately 535 bundles of phragmites, 25 compost bags and 105ft of invasive phragmites was removed from 125+ identified sites across the Bruce Peninsula. 

August 7th and 8th the Oliphant Fishing Islands Phragmites Community Group (OFIPCG) organized the Invasive Phragmites Control Center (IPCC) Amphibious Cutters to control the invasive phragmites in the area. An unmeasured large amount of invasive phragmites (estimated at 9 acres) was removed from around the Fishing Islands, where it was left to dry and will be burned gradually. On August 9th, 6018 lbs of invasive phragmites was removed and collected by the Amphibious Cutters, with the help of South Bruce Municipality the biomass was brought to the landfill to be buried. 


In 2019, we organized several major cut days in Oliphant. Once again, the IPCC Amphibious Cutters were brought in, thanks in part to the generous financial support of the Wiarton Rotary Club. We also worked with community groups and volunteers to carry out cuts in other parts of the Peninsula. 


In 2020, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) received a multi-year grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to fund the fight against phragmites in the Bruce. The BPBA is pleased to be collaborating with the NCC through the sharing of our data, experience, and contacts. 


What is Phragmites australis?

Common Reed, or Phragmites australis, is a non-native, invasive plant that is causing severe damage to coastal and wetland ecosystems throughout the Great Lakes basin. In 2005, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada identified it as the nation’s “worst” invasive plant species. This highly aggressive plant has been reported in many areas on the Bruce Peninsula, forming dense stands in which few other plants or animals can survive, and devastating some of our most valuable and rare ecosystems. Invasive phragmites can grow 10cm a day, up to 5 meters tall! The part we see is only 20% of the plant, 80% is underground in a complex root system that is allelopathic. This invasive species can also have significant impacts on property value as it obscures our view and access to shorelines. All reasons why it is so important we control this plant before it gets out of hand!

phrag fall pic 2

The Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association Phragmites australis eradication control program started in 2014. We work with Nature Conservancy of Canada and Parks Canada to survey, map, control and monitor on the Bruce Peninsula. To date, we have registered over 1300 plots of invasive Pragmites from Tobermory to Sauble Beach, controlling about 250 sites a year. When the plant is in water, the method is to cut as close to the root system, without pulling out the root, in attempt to drown out the system. When on dry land we are able to chemically control the plot. Chemical control is the most effective method, but only can be done in dry areas, when cutting the plant it is expected to take 3-5 years of continuous cutting before the plant is eradicated. 



September 2017, we welcomed the ambhibious cutter to the Oliphant community. The ambhibious cutter has been developed by Dr. Janice Gilberts team to control large, dense, mono culture stands of Phragmites australis along the shoreline. In 2.5 days, with the help of volunteers and staff, we were able to remove 9600 kilograms of biomass. 


Do you have phrag on your property or beach? Are you interested in becoming a phrag fighter? Join the battle today!

Contact Elizabeth at (519) 377-5166.   


Coummunity Groups: 

Oliphant Fishing Islands Phragmites Community Group (OFIPCG):

The Oliphant Fishing Islands Phragmites Community Group (OFIPCG) was formed in 2017. It is a not for profit group made up of volunteers of many ages working together to control invasive Phragmites growing in the water around the islands where many of us have cottages. Members are educated in Ontario Invasive Plant Council’s Best Management Practices for Invasive Phragmites, develop and follow Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plans. OFIPCG works collaboratively with other groups battling Phragmites such as the BPBA and the Gray Sauble Conservation Authority.We recognize that control methods must be applied precisely and repeatedly and that long-term monitoring for regrowth and spread is essential.Anyone interested in this group is encouraged to join our Facebook group by submitting a friend request and answering a few questions about your experience with Phragmites.



BPBA Volunteer Phragmites Management Planning

Phragmites Fact Sheet

Ontario Best Management Practices

Clean Equipment Protocol