GBF 2021 - Fall Newsletter

INVASIVE PHRAGMITES ACTION CONTINUES By Nicole Carpenter, GBF Coordinator on Phragmites and Ecosystems Projects 2021 marks the start of a 2-year project to Save Matchedash Bay. Georgian Bay Forever and its partners Ganawenim Meshkiki, the MTM Conservation Association and the Severn Sound Environmental Association are working together to remove invasive Phragmites, monitor species at risk in the wetland and advance knowledge of the risk of Phragmites to biodiversity in Matchedash Bay. Matchedash Bay is a wetland of international importance (Ramsar Site) and is home to many plants, mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians, migrating birds and species at risk. If we don’t continue to take actions to manage and remove this plant, it grows into 15 foot high monoculture ‘walls’ replacing diverse wetland plant species and removing natural habitat for species like turtles who struggle and have been found dead in dense patches of Phragmites. GBF staff spent a full week mapping the main bay, small islands, tributaries, and surrounding shores of the wetland by canoe, identifying 55 infestation sites. These sites varied in size from a few individual stalks, to as large as 100m2 and dense. Phragmites was located at the water’s edge and deep in the wetlands amongst cattails, making it almost impossible for volunteers to reach every known stand. Though much of our time was spent in the main bay, our adventures canoeing up and down the North River and Coldwater River allowed us to get deeper into the wetland and see some quite unique wildlife. Unfortunately, the Coldwater River itself was home to one third of the total number of sites mapped and the largest most dense sites found. The water levels were too low for amphibious Truxor machines to work properly to cut these dense stalks, sowewill find other solutions. In the rest of southeastern Georgian bay, along the shorelines of Tay Township, Georgian Bay Township (GBT) and the Township of the Archipelago (TOA), GBF staff and volunteers continue to manage and control phragmites stands. In GBT, where stands are much more numerous, our efficacy has allowed us to spend more time reaching new areas. Overall, our annual cutting technique takes 2–6 years to be effective depending on the site size. We've now mapped over 700 sites, noting that over 300 of those sites have not come back due to this process, and more than a hundred have received cuts >100m2 stand of invasive phragmites along the Coldwater River in August. Photo Credits: Nicole Carpenter and are on their way to 'gone'. A full report of the progress in each community will be available late Fall. Funding Matchedash: Funding and assistance for the 2021 Save Matchedash Bay was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the federal department of Environment and Climate Change *, Ganawenim Meshkiki (GMI) who is the Trustee of the Eastern Georgian Bay Initiative (“EGBI”) managed by Henvey Inlet First Nations, Township of Georgian Bay, Tay Township, MTM Conservation Association, and our many individual donors. General Phrag: Funding and assistance for the 2021 Georgian Bay Forever project, Phragmites Eradication for the Health of our Water and Wetlands, was provided by Canada Summer Jobs, Township of Georgian Bay, Tay Township, The Township of The Archipelago, the Honey Harbour and Cognashene Cottagers Associations, and our many individual donors. * Ce projet a été réalisé avec l'appui financier du gouvernement du Canada agissant par l'entremise du ministère fédéral de l'Environnement et du Changement climatique. The views expressed herein are solely those of Georgian Bay Forever. Les opinions exprimées dans ce document sont celles de / de la / du / d’ / des Georgian Bay Forever. We send our sincerest thanks to all for their investment in these initiatives. 10 | FALL 2021 | GBF.ORG