They’re toxic, they have a negative impact on coastal wetlands and dunes along the Lake Huron shoreline, and they spread like wildfire.
Phragmites are also extremely flammable and ignitable. They’ve been known to send flames 50 ft up into the air and burn very hot when ignited.
One volunteer based group in Lambton Shores is taking their fight against invasive phragmites to the next level by working to cut and control these pesky plants.
Nancy Vilder, board chair of the Lambton Shores Phragmites Community Group, says they’ve developed a new tool for cutting phragmites in the water thanks to a $205,000 grant through Environment and Climate Change Canada.
“We came up with a cutting platform and a transporting barge and we’ve been using that to cut phragmites in the water,” says Vilder.
While the cutting does help, the best way to eradicate phragmites is through the use of certain chemicals which Vilder says is not something they have at their disposal.
“It cost $3,000 to get the phragmites managed in Grand Bend, spading and other techniques do not work and we really desperately need the chemicals to get on top of it,” adds Vilder.
Phragmites are not only affecting areas in Lambton Shores like the 59-hectare coastal meadow marsh at 9191 Wood Dr., but at many locations along the Lake Huron Shoreline including further north in Goderich and Kincardine to name a few.
Vilder notes they’re at a crossroads when it comes to getting the help and support needed to combat phragmites.
“The government has to get more involved and help groups like ours, and groups like the ones in Kincardine and up our shoreline; all these pockets of people who are fighting this wit their hands tied behind their back,” says Vilder.