2021 Invasive Phragmites Management. Georgian Bay Forever Report.

2 Georgian Bay Forever Phragmites Report 2021 Executive Summary Georgian Bay Forever (GBF) has been working with invasive Phragmites along the Eastern shorelines of Georgian Bay, Lake Huron for the past 9 years. Wetland ecosystems are extremely important habitats for foraging, spawning, shelter and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Disturbances such as urban development, agricultural activities and the introduction of invasive species can be significant threats to these sensitive environments. In 2019 an eradication plan was developed for each individual invasive Phragmites site along a large portion of the eastern shoreline of Georgian Bay. Individual site plans are crucial for successful eradication because each site differs in size, density, water depth and surrounding ecosystem characteristics. In this report you will see maps and tables developed for each region to display the current status of sites and progress over the years. In 2021 we explored an entirely new area of Georgian Bay to identify invasive Phragmites that we had presumed invaded and monitored species at risk (SAR) with the Severn Sound Environmental Association (SSEA) and MTM Conservation Association and funded by Ganawenim Meshkiki and Habitat Stewardship Protection (Environment and Climate Change Canada) in Matchedash Bay. Matchedash Bay, a provincially significant wetland, is one of the most highly biodiverse wetlands in Georgian Bay and is home to hundreds of migrating birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, species at risk and other organisms. Reminder Invasive Phragmites sites take 2-6 years of annual cutting to become nonviable (and in laymen’s terms not visible) following which they are designated as monitoring/eradicated. The word ‘eradicated’ that GBF uses is with the understanding that these sites do not need any further cutting and transition to a monitoring stage. This involves annually checking the site for a few years to verify the invasive Phragmites are gone. The word ‘controlled’ refers to these sites that have been eradicated or are being monitored, as well as sites that have been treated using the cut to drown method. Left untreated, invasive Phragmites grow into dense monoculture stands, up to 15 ft. high, and spread rapidly threatening biodiversity, habitat, and enjoyment of the shoreline.