Manitoulin Phragmites Project work will continue this summer

Judith Jones gives an idea of the height and density phragmites plants can achieve.

MANITOULIN – Work will continue on the Manitoulin Phragmites Project through this summer, and the Manitoulin Phragmites Week is a go as well.

The Manitoulin Phragmites Project is gearing up for another season of work controlling Invasive Phragmites (Common Reed, pronounced “frag-MITE-eez”), a very tall, foreign grass that is aggressively spreading on shores and wetlands across Ontario. The project has completed four years of work and has successfully cleared phragmites off almost all of the Lake Huron shore of Manitoulin Island and Cockburn Island. Phragmites is now under control or eradicated at more than 75 sites in the region.

Project co-ordinator Judith Jones reports that new funding has been applied for to cover work for the next three years. The results of those applications won’t be known until mid-July, but the project will be starting work right after Canada Day running on support from private donors and non-governmental organizations.

The project is doing some gentle fundraising, trying to raise approximately $2,000 to help cover mileage during the start up period and some equipment and supplies. Donations can be made to Manitoulin Streams with a note that the money is for the Phragmites Project. Further details are available on the Manitoulin Phragmites Project’s Facebook page.

The work plan for this year includes removing phragmites from turtle habitats, more work helping landowners with control on private properties and working with volunteers who are willing to adopt a site that is under control. “The idea is to make sure there is someone at each site we’ve worked who will keep an eye on things. If any new phrag shows up, that person will know exactly what to do to get rid of it right away,” Ms. Jones said. The project is looking for volunteers.

“For sure, there will be a Manitoulin Phragmites Week,” stated Ms. Jones. “This will be a go July 18 to 23.” Social distancing and clean equipment protocols will be in effect, but work bees will still need extra hands. The project can be contacted at ManitoulinPhrag@yahoo.com or by phone at (705) 859-1027.