2021 Invasive Phragmites Management. Georgian Bay Forever Report.

8 Georgian Bay Forever Phragmites Report 2021 Control Methodology GBF maps the eastern shoreline of Georgian Bay in June recording the location, size, density and status of both recurring sites (from years previous) and new sites found. GBF continues to return to sites that have been mapped and cut in previous years in hopes not to see any regrowth. In this case, the stand is put into the monitoring/eradicated category and remains to be checked for years to come. 1. Location: Using a mapping software (i.e., Google Maps), we identify the locations in which invasive Phragmites is present. We record the geographic coordinates, size, density and other notes to help come up with a management plan. 2. Timing: The optimal cutting season is Mid-July to mid-August before seed heads emerge. At this time, we are cutting the plant when it is at its primary growth stage. 3. Equipment and Cutting: We use raspberry cane cutters, long-reach powered hedge trimmers and snippers to cut the Phragmites via the cut-to-drown method (i.e., cutting the stalks below the water level as close to the bottom as possible). o Cut each stalk underwater as close to the sediment as possible o Do not disturb the roots as they are able to fragment and develop new shoots 4. Prioritize: Priority is given to small stands first to ensure early eradication before the stand gets large and dense. It often takes a few years of cutting to completely get rid of a stand of Phragmites therefore we give priority to stands that have been cut previously. Each year, the stand should get smaller, sparser and easier to tackle. 5. Selective Cutting: The selective cutting process means we only remove invasive Phragmites stalks, leaving native vegetation unharmed. If there are seed heads present, they are removed from the stalks and disposed of prior to cutting the plant. 6. Clean-up: We bundle the cut biomass and make sure we don’t leave any viable pieces behind, specifically the roots 7. Disposal: A designated spot near the stand is determined where the cut stalks can dry and decay. It is far enough from the waters edge that rising waters and storm waves will not pull the biomass back into the water. The disposal site is checked the following year to ensure there is no growth at the disposal site. 8. Follow-up: Phragmites is a perennial reed grass meaning it will grow back every year. If left untreated, it will grow back larger and more dense. If treated (cut), the stand will grow back smaller and more sparse, until eventually there is no regrowth. This can take 2-6 years of cutting activities depending on the size of the stand. Eventually native plants will return, and the habitat will be restored. For more information or training on how to remove invasive Phragmites from shorelines in Georgian Bay, contact Project Coordinator Nicole Carpenter at nicole.carpenter@gbf.org or 905-880-4945 ext. 7. If you are interested in volunteering and becoming a Phragbuster, contact Nicole.carpenter@gbf.org