Rapid response best remedy for invasive plants
By Jenn Watt
Published Oct. 16, 2018
Three invasive plants top the county weed inspector’s list of potentially troublesome plants: phragmites, wild parsnip and Japanese knotweed.
James Rogers, county forest conservation officer and weed inspector, came to speak to the members of Dysart et al’s environment and conservataion committee at their meeting on Oct. 4.
He gave an update on how the county handles calls about invasive plants and how they can be removed.
Anyone – municipal staff or members of the public – can report findings of invasive plants on the website eddmaps.org. The website features detailed maps that show previous findings of various invasive species.
Rogers said that when the county finds invasive plants on county property, it’s being removed, but not everything is easily eliminated. For example, phragmites grows in wetlands and therefore you can’t use herbicides to kill it. To use herbicide you have to wait for the area to get dry.
Tamara Wilbee, Dysart et al CAO, asked about private property.
Rogers said there wasn’t much that could be done when found on private property, other than to encourage the landowner to deal with it. He said in larger municipalities with greater financial resources, incentives have been offered to the landowner.
Environment committee chairman Dennis Casey asked Rogers what plant he would say people should be most concerned about.
Rogers said he was keeping an eye on Japanese knotweed, but that so far it’s not widespread.
The best thing to do, is develop a practice of dealing with invasive plants quickly.
“If you’re catching it early and you act quickly the cost can be a small fraction of coming to the situation 10 years later,” he said.
He gave the example of a private landowner on Halls Lake who found Japanese knotweed. By the time Rogers got in touch with him, the man had already treated the plant with herbicide.
Plastics are piling up around the globe and ending up in water bodies including the Great Lakes and oceans at an alarming rate. The environment committee considered materials from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, which advocated moving to “full producer responsibility” for plastics as well as national action on single-use products with bans or recycled content requirements.
Rob Camelon, director of public works, said tire producers will be moving to the producer responsibility model in 2019.
For plastic recycling, investment in facilities and new technology is lagging, Dysart et al environmental co-ordinator Mallory Bishop said.
“There’s still a lot of uncertainty which leads to a lot of bigger issues because we have old sorting facilities which no one wants to invest in right now,” she said.