Turkey Point residents want action on phragmites removal

George Anger and Darlene VanDepoele, members of the Turkey Point Phragmites Action Alliance Committee, set up a table at the Turkey Point Summerfest on Saturday to voice their concerns regarding the area along Ordnance Drive. Handout/Postmedia Network

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A group of dissatisfied Turkey Point residents set up shop at the lakeside community’s Summerfest on Saturday to talk to the public about phragmites.

Phragmites has been a topic of concern across the country and Norfolk. The invasive plant species wreaks havoc on the local ecosystem, impacting other plants and wildlife.

The Turkey Point Phragmites Action Alliance Committee is a group of residents that came together in July 2016 in the hopes of returning the wetland along Ordnance Drive back into a beach.

The area is owned by the province through Ontario Parks and is currently considered a provincially significant wetland, which is an area identified by the province as being environmentally valuable.

“Ordnance beach is considered to be provincially significant, due to the presence of provincially and regionally significant plants, important waterfowl and fisheries habitat, and rare beach sand ecosystems,” Jeff Pickersgill, Turkey Point Park superintendent, said in an email to Postmedia.

The goal of the action alliance group is to have the phragmites removed from Ordnance Beach, and for the area to be returned to the beach front it used to be.

Removing phragmites from an area includes three steps, which are spraying, rolling, and burning. The Ordnance area was burned in late March this year.

“Since October 2018, Ontario Parks has applied an approved herbicide treatment, conducted a small prescribed burn and brought in a contractor to mulch the area,” said Pickersgill. “Ontario Parks will continue to monitor and is working towards approvals for any necessary retreatment in 2019.”

He added that they expect their efforts will lead to a natural resurgence of native vegetation.

Members of the alliance committee are not happy with the quality of the beach along their cottages and homes, or the speed at which the removal process is going.

“They could have burned in October, November, December, January, February, even the beginning of March when it was still frozen,” said George Anger, a member of the alliance. “They said the conditions weren’t right. I taught too many kids over the years, if someone is lying to me I can pick it up.”

Alliance members were handing out sheets at Summerfest asking people to join their cause. Having the area re-evaluated to possibly remove the provincially significant wetland title will cost $10,000, and they have currently raised $2,000.

They are asking anyone that would like to join the group or donate to their cause to email poeles@kwic.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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