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Friends of Wye Marsh

Wye Marsh Phragmites Management Project

Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
Eastern musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)

wye marsh logo

Project Details

Project Title: Wye Marsh Phragmites Management Project 2021
Funding Recipient: Friends of Wye Marsh
Funding Awarded: $250,000 over 5 years
Project Partners: Severn Sound Environmental Association
Targeted Species at Risk: Blanding’s turtle, and Eastern musk turtle
Project Status: Ongoing (Five-year duration, 2020-2024)

Project Summary

In 2020, the Friends of Wye Marsh (FOWM) received the first of five years of Ganawenim Meshkiki’s (GMI) Eastern Georgian Bay Initiative (EGBI) funding to support prevention, detection, and management efforts of the highly invasive European Common Reed, commonly known as Phragmites, which is prevalent in eastern Ontario’s Wye Marsh. The Wye Marsh describes ~1,215 hectares of Provincially Significant Wetland and surrounding upland in the Severn Sound Watershed of eastern Georgian Bay. In this region, Phragmites monocultures degrade habitat and outcompete natural food sources for Wye Marsh wildlife, including Eastern Georgian Bay species at risk (SAR): the Blanding’s turtle, and Eastern musk turtle. More broadly, Phragmites monocultures threaten the overall health of the marsh ecosystem and other species, both aquatic and non-aquatic, that inhabit the area.

2021 marked year two of GMI funding to advance Phragmites management and control efforts in the Marsh. With the help of project partner, SSEA, FOWM staff and volunteers progressed Phragmites detection and management efforts through the following actions:

  • Identification and mapping of seven populations of Phragmites using a combination of aerial photograph interpretation and ground-truthing exercises,
  • Revisions to the Phragmites Management Plan report prepared in 2020, to incorporate results and findings from 2021 field surveys and mapping, site specific management plans, and updated monitoring protocols,
  • Pre-treatment assessments, in which FOWM staff and partners noted Phragmites characteristics that help identify traits of the stand that have implications for how control measures are implemented,
  • Removal/Management activities, whereby project staff manually cut down, removed, and disposed of the invasive biomass to protect the Wye Marsh ecosystem and wildlife,
  • Post-treatment assessments, whereby project staff determined efficacy of the management activities at each of the controlled sites, and
  • Outreach, training, and technical support, in which project staff produced an educational training video to teach staff and volunteers how to identify, manage, and dispose of Phragmites in ways that ensure participant safety and optimal results.

Project staff plan to build upon progress made in 2021 with the help off ongoing funding from 2022 through 2024. Anticipated project activities during that time include plans to: providing training and technical support, complete pre-treatment assessments, assist with Phragmites removal, conduct post-treatment assessments, and update the management plan as needed.

2021 Project Presentation

Further Details

For more information on the Wye Marsh Phragmites Management 2021 Project, please visit the links below.

Friends of Wye Marsh website
Severn Sound Environmental Association website


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