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Eagle Lake gets grants to fight Phragmites

For six years, volunteers have been cutting this vegetation and safely transporting it to the municipal landfill where it is burned

Eagle Lake Conservation Association of Machar,  60 km south of North Bay, was awarded a grant from the Green Shovels Collaborative’s Invasive Phragmites Control Fund to combat the invasive plant, Phragmites.

It joins 20 others from across Ontario that were supported through the granting program made possible by $250,000 from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Invasive Phragmites is an aggressive plant that spreads quickly and poses a considerable threat to Ontario’s environment and economy.

Phragmites outcompete native species for water and nutrients. Growing up to 5 metres in height and up to 1 metre below the ground, Phragmites form dense stands that generally provide poor habitat and food for wildlife, including several species at risk.

Once established, Phragmites can degrade local environments including reducing biological diversity, and impacting infrastructure, agriculture, recreation, tourism, and public safety.

Eagle Lake Conservation Association identified suspicious vegetation growing in the Lake as invasive Phragmites.

For six years, volunteers have been cutting this vegetation and safely taking it to the municipal landfill where it is burned.

"Cutting and disposal of shoreline populations of Phragmites on Eagle Lake is an ongoing, collaborative project using proven strategies to control invasive Phragmites, " says a news release.

The funding provided through the Green Shovels Collaborative has financed buying much of the equipment required by volunteers and has enabled them to remove all of the Phragmites growing in, or near, the Lake for the last five years. They intend to continue this program until this invasive plant no longer represents a threat to Eagle Lake.

“Over the past few years, funding provided through the Green Shovels Collaborative has been instrumental in supporting the efforts of volunteers organized by the Eagle Lake Conservation Association which has resulted in the removal of all invasive phragmites growing in, or near, Eagle Lake,” said Michael Mitchell, Eagle Lake Conservation Association.

A 2021 study estimated total economic benefits realized by controlling Phragmites could exceed $113 million annually in Ontario. An investment in scaled Phragmites control would pay dividends in preventing the many costs of Phragmites to Ontario through reduced agricultural production, reduced public access to water, increased flooding, and lost tourism revenue.

You can learn more about the Invasive Phragmites Control Fund here.