Invasive Phragmites Eradication
Before and After shots of Little Red Bay, Ontario controlled by BPBA
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!
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.