Wow! Already August 14th. Our programs are in full swing, with lots of people out at the Park trying to make the most of these last few weeks. The days are just flying by!
And speaking of flying… a couple of our staff members had the amazing opportunity of soaring into the sky and getting a birds-eye view of Rondeau. From their vantage point in the plane, they were able to take in the state of the Park. The sloughs were very visible, thanks to our unique formation, and they were able to appreciate just how vast our forest is. Sometimes it takes such an amazing view to comprehend just what it means to be the largest tract of Carolinian forest in all of Canada.
Things weren’t all perfectly peachy, unfortunately. Being up so high, they could see quite clearly the effect of one of our most wicked plants: Phragmities. This invader has marched across most of North America from Europe, leaving a swath of destruction in its wake. Also know as Common Reed, we call it by its Latin name, Phragmities australis. It grows up to 4 meters tall, and spreads by underground root systems and seedheads, maximizing its potential to reproduce. ‘Phrag’ affects nutrient cycling within a wetland, is not a major food source, chokes out native vegetation, and can completely alter a shoreline, as we have been seeing in Rondeau’s marsh. Even the dead plants can take up to four years to decompose. We as humans have a role in this too, though! Human activities have helped to facilitate the plants’ sordid plot against total take over. And believe it or not but you can purchase this plant in greenhouses for your gardens at home! But please don’t!!
Rondeau fights back! In our vegetation management plan, we attempt to control the spread of this notorious plant and to minimize its impact. We have a strategy that includes a minimal amount of herbicide spraying, crushing it down, and burning it out. Sounds foolproof! But Phragmities is resilient, and the battle is ongoing.
To keep up with the progress, or to learn more about other botanical atrocities occurring around the Park, check out the Visitor Centre for more information on more plants bent on taking over!