The Green Shovels Collaborative’s (GSC) Invasive Phragmites Control Fund has awarded Georgian Bay Forever (GBF), an organization based in the Township of Georgian Bay, $9,820 to combat the invasive plant.
“We expect to remove at least 20,000 m2 of Phragmites to restore approximately 220 km or more of shoreline, and we will educate over 200 individuals about the threat invasive Phragmites pose to wetland ecosystems,” said Nicole Carpenter of GBF.
Officials with the organization explain Phragmites are an aggressive plant that can spread quickly, adding they “pose a considerable threat to Ontario’s environment and economy.”
According to them, the problem is the plant outcompetes native species for water and nutrients. Phragmites can grow to be 15 ft. tall and up to 3 feet underground. Once they establish themselves and begin growing, the plant can create a poor habitat for surrounding food sources and, in turn, wildlife. Over time, officials say Phragmites can reduce biological diversity, impact infrastructure, agriculture, recreation, tourism, and public safety.
Officials say GBF’s mission “is to protect, enhance, and restore the aquatic ecosystem of Georgian Bay by funding accredited research on water levels, water quality, and ecosystems, educating the public and governments on issues regarding the environmental protection of the Georgian Bay area, and by enhancing the public’s appreciation for their environment.”
GBF joins 20 other groups doing similar projects thanks to funding from GSC. The organization recently received an investment of $250,000 from Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.