Phragmites Week is upon us!

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

Find out how you can help repel the invaders taking over our shores

MANITOULIN—There is an aggressive foreign invader seeking to establish beachheads on our shores and a call for volunteers to help defend our blessed Isle has been issued.

Phragmites, a foreign grass that can grow up to 15’ in height loves to dig in on wet ground such as beaches and shorelines forming patches that grow exponentially, doubling every year.

The dense patches of the invasive reed push out indigenous reeds and rushes and the stalks of the invasive plant are so dense they form an impervious barrier, smothering fish spawning sites and preventing turtles from reaching their nesting habitat.

Cottage owners can soon find their property values plummeting when phragmites chokes their beaches and nearby fishing spots become depopulated. It’s a serious issue.

Thanks to the Manitoulin Phragmites Project now in its sixth year and headed up by biologist Judith Jones Manitoulin has had great success in eliminating major patches of phragmites, especially in Sheguiandah Bay, Michael’s Bay and Smith Bay in Wiikwemkoong.

If you want to lend a bit of your spare time and resources to aid Manitoulin Phragmites Project in their efforts to protect Manitoulin’s shores you are in luck. Workshops on how to identify phragmites are being held on Sunday, July 17 at 10 am in the M’Chigeeng Freshmart parking lot and 5 pm at the Assiginack arena parking. You can also check out the YouTube video by searching Manitoulin Phragmites Project or visit the Facebook page manitoulinphrag.

Manitoulin Phragmites Project will make house calls, so if you spot a patch and report it, the group can make arrangements to help eradicate the invaders.

Work bees are set for 10 am, Monday, July 18 at Julia Bay (664 Highway 540A) just west of the Gore Bay airport and 1 pm, Tuesday, July 19 at Pristine Point nine kilometres west of Misery Bay Park (turn north on Cook’s Dock Road and then east on the Mason Line to Portage Point Road…aka Pristine Road). These events will go on rain or shine.

Manitoulin Phragmites Project can be reached at manitoulinphrag@yahoo.com or by leaving a message at (705) 859-1072.