A student selectively removing invasive Phragmites along Wymbolwood Beach. Image courtesy of WBA.

The WBA does not have formal authority over the beach, but provides an avenue for members to connect. One resident serves as the volunteer program coordinator for the non-native Phragmites student work program. The coordinator trains and supervises the students, gains verbal permission from the students’ parents and the landowners requesting work, and coordinates scheduling with the students and landowners. The coordinator also advertises the program by writing an article for the WBA’s annual publication to both encourage residents to manage non-native Phragmites on their own properties, and to invite high-school students to participate in the summer work program.

Individual property owners, unable to manage non-native Phragmites on their own, are able to directly pay students $12/hour CAD for management to be conducted on their property.  The cost per resident depends on the size of the property and the amount of Phragmites present. The initial cost for removal on a 75 foot wide lot might be between $300 and $500 CAD. This cost is usually reduced to $100 to $200 CAD over a couple of years and eventually most residents take the job over.  Student participants benefit from this program by securing summer jobs, typically three-hours/day, and learning about beach ecology, biodiversity, and ecosystem management, while also providing a valuable service to area residents. The students also model good management practices for neighbors in the area, and help build community ties around the issue. Because many of the property owners are seasonal residents, it can be challenging to engage enough students to handle the task.

One initial challenge of the project involved securing enough tools for the student teams. The WBA and several residents funded the purchase of additional tools, which, combined with those brought by the students and the project coordinator, have been sufficient.

Not all area residents manage the non-native Phragmites on their properties, and the Township does not control non-native Phragmites at their beach access points.