Conservation authority to tackle phragmites for Lambton

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Lambton County will pay the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority $20,000 to step up the fight against phragmites in the region.
Last year, Nancy Vidler of the Lambton Shores Phragmites Community Group came to councillors asking for help.
The community group had been working tirelessly in their communities to clean up the shores of Lake Huron, ridding many areas of the invasive species by hand.
But the problem has grown and the reed-like weed spread and the group didn’t have enough volunteers nor money to win the battle on its own. So, it asked the county to step up. Vidler said the county might be able to persuade the province to act on phragmites, where they couldn’t.
Oct. 18, county councillors approved a plan which will see the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority step up its efforts in Lambton County to control phragmites.
The county will send $20,000 to SCRCA for the project which includes some public education.
Jason Cole, general manager of infrastructure for the county, says he would be “very happy to throw more money into this work” noting the reeds can be seen in every corner of the county.
Cole is hoping the conservation authority will coordinate local efforts and help teach the public about phragmites. He adds the county will continue fighting phragmites on its own, spending $70,000 a year to clean out drains and ditches.
Warden Bill Weber – who is also the mayor of Lambton Shores – is glad the county is stepping up. “These volunteers have been working for seven years…and they’re getting burned out and need help. The question was how can we get this to a more coordinated level. I think it is excellent to have the St. Clair Region partner with us.
“This will go a long way to continue the education in the public because there are still people out there when you say phragmites who say ‘What’s that?’”
The $20,000 is a pilot project. If it is successful, more money may be added into the 2018 budget, says Cole.

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