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Public Meeting - Phragmites is a Big Problem!

Phragmites is a Big Problem!

In recent years Phragmites australis, a common reed, is becoming very prevalent along the roadsides, in wetlands and even on Lake Erie beaches.  It is a strong competitor for nutrients and can survive, and even thrive, in a wide variety of conditions.  In 2005 it was recognized as Canada’s worst invasive plant.  Phragmites colonizes new sites via seeds, rhizomes and stolon dispersal.  It is allelopathic, exuding chemicals from its roots that harm other plants.  There are no natural controls to keep Phragmites in check.  Its typical growth habit is to develop into dense, mono-culture cells.   Wildlife may use the edges of a Phragmites cell, but the interior sections are effectively dead zones.   A high number of native animals and plants are negatively impacted by Phragmites.   This plant can grow so tall and thick that cells become effective barriers along shorelines, impacting recreational access, aesthetic enjoyment and property values.   During the dormant period the standing dead biomass presents a significant fire hazard.  Agricultural drainage ditches and tiles become plugged creating flooded conditions and impacting crop yields. 

Municipal councils in Dutton Dunwich, West Elgin and Southwold have become involved with the Elgin Phragmites Working Group to fight against this invasive plant.  A public meeting will be held in the WEDS theatre above the municipal office in Dutton, 199 Currie Rd. on Monday June 5th, 2017 beginning at 9 a.m.  Present will be Dr. Janice Gilbert, a wetland ecologist, who is founder and co-chair of Ontario Phragmites Working Group.   Having worked to control Phragmites in various areas across the province, she will give an overview of the problem and be open for discussion, particularly regarding various control methods.  Nancy Vidler, Chair of the Lambton Shores Phragmites Community Group, also will share how they got started, established partnerships, engaged the community, implemented a management plan and ended up working with their municipality/county.  The Elgin Phragmites Working Group hopes to adopt a similar strategy in Elgin County to control this invasive weed.

This meeting is open to landowners and all individuals interested in controlling Phragmites in southwestern Ontario.  There is no fee but a donation for snacks would be appreciated.  For more information contact 519 762 2049 or zerophrag@yahoo.com



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