Protecting the wetlands of Matchedash Bay

Eradicating Phragmites and Rehabilitating Wetlands and Habitat

Georgian Bay Forever(GBF), along with numerous like-minded partners and volunteers, have been monitoring and cutting the invasive Phragmites plant for eight years. In those years, we have noticed that invasive Phragmites has been slowly, but steadily, creeping in to populate areas in and around Matchedash Bay.

The spreading of invasive Phragmites into Matchedash Bay is a risk for this important wetland area.

Matchedash Bay

Matchedash Bay, is known for its geologically unique features at the junction of the Canadian Shield and southern Ontario limestone. Wetland habitats in Matchedash Bay are varied, and include swamps, fens, cattail marshes, wet meadows and beaver ponds. It also includes a permanent freshwater lake and an upland hardwood forest. It is adjacent to agricultural lands, native grass meadows and a unique, coniferous wetland forest.

Well known as a staging area for waterfowl and other migratory birds, in 1996 Matchedash Bay was recognized as a Ramsar Site (Wetlands of International Significance and Importance). It is also classified as a Provincially Significant Wetland and it is home to many at-risk species as well as 32 species of mammals, including moose, black bear, and river otter and 17 species of reptiles. Within its borders, 568 species of plant life have been identified and 34 species of fish.

This unique wetland area is in jeopardy.

The invasive Phragmites plant is threatening to seriously impede the natural services that this wetland area produces. Invasive Phragmites is a plant from Europe that has no natural predators in Canada. It outcompetes other plants in our wetlands, leading to a lack of biodiversity, and spreads rapidly and densely creating monoculture walls sometimes as high as 15 or more feet. These 'walls' are not good habitat for many species already impacted by lack of habitat due to development, climate change, pollution and more. There are at least 49 stands of invasive Phragmites in Matchedash Bay right now that will continue to spread unless action is taken.

Wetland picture

Help is on the way for Matchedash Bay

A 2-year project has just started

Georgian Bay Forever and its partners Ganawenim Meshkiki, the MTM Conservation Association, and the Severn Sound Environmental Association are working together to fulfill these project goals in Matchedash Bay over two years:

  • Map/identify locations of invasive Phragmites sites in Matchedash Bay.
  • UPDATE July 2021: Approximately 55 sites have been mapped in Matchedash Bay mainly by canoeing and hiking the surrounding trails of the Marl Tiny Matchedash (MTM) Conservation Authority that are throughout the wetland. This also includes extensions into the Coldwater River and North River that flow into Matchedash.

  • Manage/remove the 49 sites that have already been identified (mapped and location reorcded)
  • Monitor and help turtle populations
  • Advance knowledge to at least 200 people of the risks of Phragmites to biodoversity and species at risk
  • Enlist the help of 50 volunteers like you!
  • Email Nicole Carpenter nicole.carpenter@gbf.org if you wish to volunteer and help with cutting and removing the Phrag.

About GBF’s partners:

Ganawenim Meshkiki (GMI) - GMI is the Trustee of the Eastern Georgian Bay Initiative (“EGBI”), a program to support conservation projects and the advancement of scientific knowledge that will benefit species at risk (“SAR”) and biodiversity in the Eastern Georgian Bay Region. The Henvey Inlet First Nations . Website: www.hifn.ca
Ganawenim Meshkiki

MTM COnservation Association

Marl Tiny Matchedash Conservation Association (MTM) - MTM is is an incorporated, not for profit charitable organization dedicated to managing one Provincial Resource Management Area and two Provincial Wildlife Areas which are Marl Lake, Tiny Marsh, and Matchedash Bay in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Ducks Unlimited Canada. The three public properties managed by this organization constitute approximately 2,500 hectares of Crown land. Website: www.mtmconservation.org

Sewvern SOund Environmental COnservation Authority

Severn Sound Environmental Association (SSEA) - The SSEA is a Joint Municipal Services Board under the Municipal Act (Section 202). It was originally founded in 1997 as a partnership between federal, provincial and municipal partners to support the completion of the Severn Sound Remedial Action Plan (SSRAP) and to provide a local, community-based environmental office in the Severn Sound watershed. The SSEA provides continuing support to the federal and provincial agencies, but particularly to the local municipalities, through a commitment to ensuring exceptional environmental quality and exemplary stewardship of the Severn Sound area through sound science, collaboration and partnerships. The agreement partners include: eight municipalities (Midland, Penetanguishene, Tiny, Tay, Springwater, Oro-Medonte, Georgian Bay and Severn). Website: www.severnsound.ca

The views expressed herein are solely those of Georgian Bay Forever.

Meet GBF’s Nicole Carpenter.

She's looking for volunteers to help her!

Georgian Bay Forever thanks to its funders, and donors has hired Nicole Carpenter to be our Phragmites coordinator and help to manage this project with our partners. She has a Bachelor of Science in Marine and Freshwater Biology, minoring in Geographic Information Systems and Environmental Analysis from the University of Guelph where she developed a strong understanding in the importance of preserving and protecting our Great Lakes.

We need you! Please email Nicole nicole.carpenter@gbf.org if you wish to volunteer and help with this project.
Phragmites coordinator Georgian Bay