Georgian Bay Forever and the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority have jointly developed and coordinated a Community Action Plan to protect Collingwood’s Coastal Wetlands of Great Lakes, Canada from an invasive species.
Georgian Bay Forever is a charity that funds and supports scientific research and education that protects and enhances the waters of Georgian Bay, as part of the Great Lakes. The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority is a public agency dedicated to innovative watershed management supporting a healthy environment, communities and lifestyles.
Title of your CEPA activity:
Community Action Plan to Protect Collingwood’s Coastal Wetlands from invasive species Phragmites
What was your key message?
Communities, local government and NGOs join forces to stop the invasion of invasive Phragmites to protect rare coastal marshes.
Brief description of your CEPA activity / material you used
Invasive Phragmites threatens Collingwood shorelines including globally rare coastal marshes. The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) and Georgian Bay Forever(GBF) developed a community action plan for the West Collingwood Shoreline and worked together to find other critical partners and funding support (see below partners). Through a series of educational workshops, media outreach and distributed materials - dedicated and passionate citizens volunteered to be trained to work alongside the partners mapping invasive stands and organizing and executing cuts of Phragmites. The Phragmites were removed with a selective cut process, which works to leave native vegetation intact and does not employ herbicides. Over the two years of the project, about 130 volunteers worked 1100 hours to remove 10 metric tons of Phragmites from Collingwood’s shorelines.
What was your intended outcome from this CEPA activity? (e.g. change in behaviour of target group; volunteer help with a wetland project; newspaper article)
Educate and train the community to become passionate protectors of their coastal wetlands from invasive species. The Collingwood shoreline contains rare coastal marshes that are unique to the Great Lakes and act as transition zones between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. While not the only threat, Phragmites impact marsh plant biodiversity, degrading fish and wildlife habitat and altering wetland hydrology. Through education, training, and collaboration - the community is increasingly managing to control this invasive plant from monopolizing the coastal shoreline and its significant wetlands.
What kind of impact did this activity have on the target audience?
The community and its partners removed over 10 metric tons of the invasive plant Phragmites from many of the targeted areas. Beyond the physical outcome, the project promoted the strengthening of community bonds and citizen’s connection and responsibility to their coastal wetlands. Citizen volunteers became passionate and informed advocates for protecting wetlands from invasive species.
Is there a follow-up activity?
Education, training, and outreach will continue in Collingwood and Wasaga Beach communities to monitor and control this invasive from taking over coastal wetlands in Georgian Bay.
Why do you identify this as your best CEPA intervention? What makes it stand out?
This project stands out for the collaboration among many organizations to support community engagement, and the passion and commitment of the community volunteers in successfully working to control invasive Phragmites in targeted areas
Your Position/Role and Country
David Sweetnam, Executive Director Georgian Bay Forever & Dave Featherstone , Manager Watershed Monitoring for the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, Canada
The Blue Mountain Watershed Trust
Town of Collingwood
RBC Blue Water Project (Royal Bank of Canada Foundation)
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
Key stakeholder group(s) targeted by activity
Citizens of the community
Other like-minded environmental organizations
What was the source of your funding?
The RBC Bluewater Project (The Royal Bank of Canada Foundation)
Environment and Climate Change Canada through the Environment Lake Simcoe/South-eastern Georgian Bay Clean Up Fund