Ipperwash Swale

And the work continues

On July 13, 2020 the Ipperwash Phrag Phighters hired Dr. Janice Gilbert, with the Invasive Phragmites Control Centre, her Truxor, and her Manual Control Crew to assist us in clearing the swale between West Parkway Drive and Tanner Road. What was accomplished in one day would have taken us months to achieve using raspberry cane cutters, a Stihl saw and local volunteers. The cost for this day was just under $3000.00. We now have this whole section of the swale open.

Since then, a steady group of volunteers have been clearing biomass from the edges of the swale, and in the open water so that the swale will become healthy again. We are currently working in the centre of the swale to remove the thick layer of Duck Weed that is encouraging Phragmites regrowth, and is holding an abundance of small biomass left behind after the cutting done on July 13th.

The restoration work we are doing is both physically intensive, and costly, but the results are so very important for providing a healthy habitat for the native vegetation and species that have become endangered. In 2016 the (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) MNRF provided funds to begin an Educational Pilot Project in the swale closest to Beachway Drive. It was a dry year, so a licensed contractor was able to use a herbicide to spray and kill the massive Phragmites monoculture. It was then rolled and left to decompose. The cost, for this method was over $4000.00 for less than an acre. In 2017, the MNRF paid for the (St. Clair Region Conservation Authority) SCRCA to backpack spray the same area to kill off the regrowth. Local volunteers have been monitoring and removing regrowth along the banks and in the water.

In the Winter of 2019 two local property owners began clearing the centre area of the swale. The Ipperwash Phrag Phighters held two massive cutting days to clear more of the swale. Since the swale was wet, a manual control crew, through the IPCC was hired to cut to drown the standing dead and new growth Phragmites. These two days were more labour intensive and showed far less progress. The cost was just under $3000.00. No herbicides were involved.

We now have two areas of the same swale, with two different methods of Phragmites control used, to study for educational purposes. We are excited to see a wide variety of at risk turtles, frogs, birds and plant life re-establishing. This Fall, we are hoping to hire the SCRCA to back pack spray the new growth Phragmites along the banks where it is dry. We need your help. Younger volunteers are needed to keep up with ongoing maintenance. We rely on grants and donations for funding for specialized services for our work. Sources for grants are becoming harder and harder to obtain. Our funds are depleted. Donations would be greatly appreciated. If you are set up for Interac banking you just need to set us up as a payee at [email protected]. No password is required. Your donation will go directly into our IPP account at the CIBC.

Anyone interested in seeing the swale, or learning more about Phragmites eradication at Ipperwash can contact Sandra at [email protected], visit our Facebook page at Ipperwash Phrag Phighters, or go to centreipperwashcommunity.ca Click on Links, then click on Ipperwash Phrag Phighters. Come out and get involved in your community!