Manitoulin Phragmites Project seeks financial help to top up Gosling Foundation funding

MANITOULIN – While the Manitoulin Phragmites Project (MPP) is hoping to have region-wide control at the end of 2022 and is preparing for the annual Manitoulin Phragmites Week starting this weekend, the project is still looking for funding support. 

“We are trying gentle fundraising, having been offered funding from the Gosling Foundation, who have provided funding in the past to support our ongoing work,” said Judith Jones, MPP co-ordinator, on Tuesday. “They are already providing funding to us this year and as well, will provide top-up funding if we are able to raise $2,000. This means that if we get 20 people who provide a donation of $100 we will reach this. We have already had three donations made of $100.” She pointed out tax receipts are provided for anyone who donates $25 or more.

The local phragmites project works with Manitoulin Streams Improvement Association, and this year while MPP received provincial funding, they did not receive funding from the federal government which usually makes up 50 percent of its budget.  

In a letter to Friends of Misery Bay (FOMB) and other groups and individuals on Manitoulin, Ms. Jones explained, “we currently have an offer from The Gosling Foundation to fund us with an extra $2,000 if we can also raise $2,000. We really need this extra cash. Our application for federal funding was not approved, so our budget is down by half.”

The letter encourages groups to donate, “for this Island, for everyone’s enjoyment of the shores, and for the benefit of the creatures who live on shores and in wet places.”

MPP is an on-the-ground, community-based initiative to control invasive phragmites across Manitoulin Island and Cockburn Island. “Our objective is to get phragmites down to a low level that can be maintained by ordinary people as a small annual task,” said Ms. Jones. “Now in our fight year, we have 74 sites and 238 hectares of habitat with phragmites under control or eradicated. The Lake Huron shore of Manitoulin Island is clear of phrag except two sites to be controlled in 2020. Volunteers have taken over control of 33 sites. Nearly 200 volunteers have spent thousands of hours working with us on control.”

The group’s objectives for 2020 include the need “to arrange a steward for every control site so that if phrag pops up again or gets out of control, someone will be ready to take care of it,” continued Ms. Jones. “We also want to make sure phragmites awareness does not dwindle, so we will continue showing people about control on their own land. And we still have more control to do in turtle habitats and wetlands. We are aiming for region-wide control at the end of 2022. It is doable!”

Ms. Jones told the Recorder, “we were going to have big trucks on hand cutting phragmites at Julia Bay; we are not going to be able to do it this year. But we have started work in places, such as the Barrie Island causeway.” The group has received Canada Summer Jobs funding this year.

“With COVID-19 we can’t have large work bees, but if someone has phrag on their shoreline we can do some work. Anyone wanting help can contact us at manitoulinphrag@yahoo.com or by calling 705-859-1027.”

Donations can be made to Manitoulin Streams. Donors who give $25 or more will receive a tax receipt. Money can be sent by e-transfer to streams@amtelecom.net or by cheque and snail mail (with a note that the money is for the Phragmites Project) to Manitoulin Streams, 258 Spragge St., Box 238, Manitowaning, ON, P0P 1N0. 

As well, the project “is looking for a used, full-size, 4×4 (not AWD), preferably an SUV, but a truck would also be okay. If anyone is able to donate one and get a tax receipt, please get in touch.”