Earlier this year, HCA applied for funding from the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund (GLSF) for the management of Phragmites to help restore portions of the provincially significant wetlands adjacent to Spencer Creek.
Invasive Phragmites is an aggressive plant that spreads quickly and out-competes native species for water and nutrients. It releases toxins from its roots into the soil to hinder the growth of and kill surrounding plants. For more information, visit the Ministry of Natural Resources fact sheet.
The Phragmites along the Spencer Creek had started to encroach on a large area of the wetland, which started to degrade form and function and replace valuable habitat with large thick barriers. These new barriers were useless to native wildlife. Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) approached HCA and City of Hamilton this fall about partnership efforts (as RBG has been removing Phragmities for many years). The City facilitated many of the meetings to help move the project forward and met with all of the Ward Councilors surrounding the area and obtained full support. RBG donated their staff and time towards the project, spending 2 full 8 hour days with HCA preparing the site and spraying the plots.
HCA was successful in it's application to GLSF, and with these funds, along with the help of our partners, were able to successfully spray a total of 7709 m² of Phragmites along Spencer Creek over two days.
Spraying is just the first step of removal of this invasive species. This winter, HCA plans to flatten the sprayed plots to help facilitate removal efforts in 2016/17.