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Township of Tay: Phragmites Management Project

Municipal Profile

The Township of Tay is a ‘strong, cohesive rural community’ located in the North Simcoe region on the shores of southern Georgian Bay. Tay has a strong history of partnerships in the Township, and they are committed to building upon and using these partnerships to promote their unique history, natural heritage and recreational amenities as the cornerstone of their quality of life. The population in 2011 was 9,736, which comprises the villages and rural hamlets of Ebenezer, Elliots Corners, Melduf, Mertzs Corners, Ogden's Beach, Old Fort, Paradise Point, Port McNicoll, Riverside, Sturgeon Bay, Triple Bay Park, Vasey, Victoria Harbour, Waubaushene and Waverley, which cover 139.00 km2 (53.67 sq miles) with a population density of 70.0/km2 (181/sq. mi).

Project Name and Description

The Tay Township Phragmites Project is an invasive species cutting program undertaken by the Township in 2016 after a visual inspection of multiple Tay Township shorelines in 2014 documented areas with significant Phragmites infestation. This information was brought to the attention of Council, along with concerns from the broader community regarding the spread of the plant and decreased access to the shoreline.

Township staff and Council met with the Severn Sound Environmental Association to discuss best practices, and attended an event in December 2015 hosted by Sustainable Severn Sound (SSS) and the Ontario Invasive Plant Council (OIPC) to discuss and learn about management methods. In December 2015, the Township submitted an application for funding under the Land Stewardship and Habitat Restoration Program offered through the Ministry of Natural Resources in Forestry to support the implementation of the project, and was awarded $5,890 to assist with project expenses related to administrative requirements, human resources, equipment purchase (STIHL Kombi System KM 130R), removal materials (disposal bags, volunteer equipment) and travel costs.

The project provides a learning opportunity for both municipal staff and community members on how to best manage invasive Phragmites. This experience empowered volunteers to take action on their own properties and transfers the knowledge to multiple areas of the community to enhance stewardship of the Township’s natural environment. Training assistance on removal and cutting techniques was provided to volunteers from staff of Georgian Bay Forever who assisted in the removal of 0.87 hectares of Phragmites from six (6) parks within the Township:

  • Mackenzie Beach Park,
  • Magnus Park,
  • Eplett Park,
  • Calvert Park,
  • Pattersons Park, and
  • Richards Beach Park.

For the six (6) parks, before and after photographs were taken, and the height and density of the Phragmites stands were also recorded. On-going monitoring of each site is incorporated into the project plan to monitor the success of the management program, and to determine if additional interventions are needed to manage and additional regrowth of the stands.

Project Contact (Staff)

Bryan Anderson

Manager of Parks, Recreation & Facilities

E: banderson@tay.ca

P: 705.534.7248 x.235

Date of Implementation

July 2016

Project Goals

The spread of invasive species is recognized as one of the major factors contributing to ecosystem change and instability. An invasive species is a ‘non-native species whose introduction does, or is likely to cause, economic or environmental harm or harm to human, animal, or plant health.’ Invasive species, and Phragmites, have the ability to displace or eradicate native species, and reduce the economic or recreational value of the landscapes. By removing the plant, the Township will show leadership in invasive species management, providing both a volunteer and a learning experience for participants, and improve the ecological health of the local shorelines.

List of Project Partners

(i.e., other municipalities, businesses, organizations or community groups)

The Severn Sound Environmental Association (SSEA) worked closely with the Township, providing expertise, guidance and support for the project.

Georgian Bay Forever has also been a key supporter of the project, hosting a Phragmites workshop with the Township in June, 2016. This workshop and provided practical technical training on cutting and removal prior to the scheduled pulls.

List of Key Stakeholders

  • Broader community
  • Park and waterway/lake users

Drivers/Champion

What was your municipalities’ main reason for moving this project forward? Who was the biggest champion for the project?)

As a member municipality of Sustainable Severn Sound (SSS), the Township supports the collective goals of the Severn Sound Sustainability Plan to, specifically ‘to protect, restore and enhance biodiversity’ and ‘promote environmental education to encourage respect for natural areas and habitats. As per the South-Eastern Georgian Bay Stewardship Guide, the Township was concerned about the damage that Phragmites was inflicting on the watershed’s streams and shorelines, as it damages the habitat needed for healthy breeding populations of fish, amphibians and birds. Plus, Phragmites decreases recreational opportunities and destroys the aesthetics of a natural stream or shoreline.

The Township of Tay is also a member of the Great Lakes Cities Initiative, and in June 2016, Mayor Scott Warnock chaired a panel on Phragmites at the annual meeting, resulting in an action to call on both the Federal and Provincial governments to declare Phragmites a noxious weed which would provide assistance to municipalities in developing their eradication strategy’s going forward.

Challenges/Obstacles

Summarize 2-3 points of frustration faced with this project, and describe how you or the project team developed solutions to those challenges.

  • Access to funding
  • Determining and selecting best practice for management and removal
  • Need for technical training

Financial Considerations

What was the cost of the project? How was the project funded? Internally or externally? If externally, where was the support acquired (i.e., grant program, community donations, multiple methods)?

Total Project Cost: $12,640

  • Township funding of $5,000
  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry - Land Stewardship and Habitat Restoration Program Grant $5,890
  • Severn Sound Environmental Association in-kind contribution of $500
  • Georgian Bay Forever in-kind contribution of $1,250

Measures of Success/Impacts

How has the project helped your municipality or department achieve its sustainability goals? What specific metrics can you share about the impact it has had?

  • Volunteer Hours Contributed to Date (+35)
  • Community Partners Involved (3)
  • Approximate Attendees at the June Workshop (22)
  • Area of Land Managed for Improved Biodiversity (0.87 hectares)

Project Rationale (Summary)

Why would you encourage other municipalities to adopt/implement a similar practice?

Phragmites australis (Common reed) is an invasive perennial grass which causes significant damage to streams, wetlands and shorelines. Invasive Phragmites is currently sold as an ornamental plant and spreads rapidly by wind and water. Stands of Phragmites decrease biodiversity and destroys habitat for other species, including Species at Risk, as it grows and spreads easily, quickly out-competing native species for water and nutrients. Invasive Phragmites releases toxins from its roots into the surrounding soil which impedes the growth of and even kills off neighbouring plants (OIPC, 2011). Proactive management is needed by municipalities to limit the spread of the plant and reduce its negative environmental, social and economic impacts.

Document Link or Attachment

Resources

Type of Case Study

☒Education and Outreach

☐Policy Adjustment or Development

☒Partnerships & Collaboration

☐Enforcements & Incentives

☒Implementation of Programs & Services

☒Facilities & Infrastructure Improvements

Website: Visit Site


Photos



450 Park Street, PO Box 100
Victoria Harbour, Ontario, L0K 2A0