September 26, 2017

Guest blog post by the City of London, Ontario

The City of London, Ontario is pleased to announce the formation of the London Phragmites Working Group (LPWG), who are developing a City-wide strategy for the control of Phragmites australis. The London Phragmites Management Strategy (LPMS) will be the first strategy of this scale to be initiated in the Great Lakes Basin. London is located in the Carolinian Life Zone of southwestern Ontario, Canada, which has a great diversity of flora and fauna including many species not found elsewhere in Canada that are threatened by  invasive species, including Phragmites. Phragmites is known to be the worst invasive plant in Canada and requires management to limit its impacts on local habitats, as well as to protect local residents.

The City of London (the City) is an identified leader among other municipalities and levels of government in demonstrating a proactive approach to the management of invasive species in parks, woodlands and Environmentally Significant Areas (ESAs) since 2006. Phragmites control is already underway in London’s ESAs through work funded by the City, and implemented by the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) since 2013. The City and UTRCA are participating in the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF) program and have co-hosted a Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative PAMF workshop in London, in 2017.

The City collaborated with the Ontario Invasive Plant Council (OIPC) to develop the London Invasive Plant Management Strategy (LIPMS) in 2017, following the OIPC’s strategic municipal framework. The LIPMS represents an overarching approach which identifies the management of Phragmites and development of the LPMS as a top priority.

The City has retained Dr. Janice Gilbert, Wetland Ecologist and leading Phragmites expert in Ontario, to assist with the LPWG and development of the LPMS. The LPWG membership includes staff from the Provincial Government, local Conservation Authorities, multiple City departments and Advisory Committees of Council, who will develop the LPMS document to be completed in early 2018.

The goals of the LPMS document include Phragmites eradication through prioritizing locations for control, collaborating with local stakeholders, education, and developing an interactive mapping tool to encourage residents to report Phragmites sightings in the City from their smartphone or computer. Gabrielle Nichols the Ecological Technician with the City is the Project Lead. Please contact Gabrielle at [email protected] or Linda McDougall, City Ecologist at [email protected] for more details.