Mississippi Lake Invasive Plants Monitoring
On July 10th, 2016, members of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists participated in an invasive aquatic plant monitoring exercise on Mississippi Lake. In the morning participants attended a short presentation, at the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority office, on invasive plant species possibly present in the lake. They were also briefed on sampling protocol and were provided with field kits. Participants then split into groups and went to five different locations on Mississippi Lake (Kinch Bay, Kings Bay, McGibbons Bay, McEwen Bay and Innisville Rapids) to search for invasive species. Four species of invasive plants were found, including Curly-leaf pondweed, European frogbit, Purple loosestrife and Invasive Phragmites. This should not be considered an exhaustive list of all invasive plants that occur in Mississippi Lake. The purpose of this monitoring exercise was to increase awareness through community involvement and to hopefully inspire similar initiatives in the future.
Volunteers also returned with samples of native plants, including coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum), northern watermilfoil (Myriophyllum sibiricum), sago pondweed (Stuckenia pectinata), common waterweed (Elodea canadensis), common duckweed (Lemna minor), star duckweed (Lemna trisulca), flat-stemmed pondweed (Potamogeton zosteriformis), water marigold (Bidens beckii), spotted joe-pye weed (Eutrochium maculatum) and pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata). In many instances, northern watermilfoil and coontail were mistaken for European watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), and common waterweed was mistaken for hydrilla.
Special thanks go, to Jim Tye of the Mississippi Lake Association for organizing the event and bringing all parties together; to Cliff Bennett and David Garcia of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, for promoting the initiative within their organization; and to the Mississippi Lake landowners who allowed volunteers to launch canoes from their properties.
Lanark County herbicide spraying not necessarily a good idea
A group of local people, including some MVFN members (and maybe you too!) have a lot of questions about the decision of Lanark County to begin a herbicide spraying program. The County has posted notice that it will begin or has begun spraying county roads (not all roads and not all municipalities within the County have yet been scheduled for spraying) with the herbicide ‘Clearview’ (active ingredient Aminopyralid) in order to stop the spread of the invasive plant, the wild parsnip.
The group is investigating the justification for spraying and the protocol of the ‘trial’ program, with a view to asking the County and local municipal councils within the County to look for alternatives to such a broad-stroked killing of plants and to encourage local governments to better educate the public about wild parsnip.
One problem with this practice is that all virtually all plants are likely to be affected with the exception of grasses. This includes milkweed which has become a common sight in ditches in the area. Milkweed was recently removed from the noxious plant list in Ontario and is the sole food plant of the larvae of the Monarch butterfly, which is a species listed of special concern on the Species at Risk list risk in Ontario. Also at risk are the many other invasive and native ‘weeds’ which are food and nectar sources for many insects during the summer.
To address human health concerns of the herbicide the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit has posted a notice of a meeting tomorrow night in Perth: see the meeting details below. If you can go to this meeting and relay your comments back via MVFN it would be appreciated. Ask them how many cases of wild parsnip they have treated. How much has the county spent on education? If you have comments and questions for your local council or municipal staff about this practice, which may be taking place in your municipality now or in the coming years, we encourage you to please contact them.
NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING: The Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit is hosting a public meeting on Wednesday, July 8 at 6 p.m. to discuss the public health perspective of the controlled spraying of Clearview in Lanark County. The meeting will be chaired by Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paula Stewart at the Lanark County Administration Building in Perth (99 Christie Lake Rd.). The purpose of the meeting is for the health unit to respond to some public concerns regarding the weed-spraying program. It will consist of a welcome and introductions, a review of the purpose of the meeting and an overview of the public health perspective on the importance of controlling noxious weeds and the Public Health Officer report on the health impacts of the herbicide. It will also include an overview of the Health Canada and Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change role, including approval of product with restrictions and MOECC response to any environmental concerns raised by community. For more information, visithttp://www.healthunit.org/
August 13, 2014
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists Conducts Ash Tree Survey in Almonte Ward
As many know now, the invasion of Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilis planipennis) in the Ottawa area is decimating all of the area’s ash trees. Thousands have now died in Ottawa and the invasion is moving our way. Prediction is that we will lose all of our ash trees in ten years.
In order to begin planning and budgeting to cut and replace our local ash trees, the Town of Mississippi Mills Public Works has asked MVFN to assist by conducting a survey of all ash trees on municipal property in Almonte Ward. MVFN has already surveyed all of the parks and other public lands in the municipality and this Saturday, August 16th , the town streets will be done.
Using a blitz format, teams of three or four will fan out to designated sections and count every ash tree on public streets, estimating size and condition. They will not be counting trees on private property nor on the County of Lanark roads passing through town. The blitz begins at 8:30 am with team members assembling in the parking lot at Equator Coffee. Team members are MVFN members who have already registered for the event.
For more information, please contact Cliff Bennett, 613-256-5013 or email at
Calling all volunteers for ‘The Great Ash Tree Survey Blitz’!
Saturday morning, August 16, 2014
If you can identify an ash tree, we need you!
MVFN will conduct a survey of approximate location and number of ash trees around Almonte Ward streets for the Town of Mississippi Mills Public Works department, as they prepare to deal with Emerald Ash Borer. Earlier this spring, MVFN conducted a similar survey of trees located within municipal parks in Almonte.
Meet at the Equator Coffee parking lot in Almonte, 8:30 am. We will divide into teams and the work should take no more than two hours. Please bring a clip board.
If you can help with the survey, please register with Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or .
Mississippi Mills Parks Ash Tree Survey Workshop
by Ken Allison, MVFN
On Wednesday, April 9, 2014, about a dozen members of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists gathered at Gemmill Park in Almonte for a refresher on identifying ash trees in the winter. The club has been asked to survey for ash trees in municipal parks in Mississippi Mills to assist the municipality in planning for the expected arrival of Emerald Ash Borer beetles in our community. As it was important to do this survey as soon as possible, surveyors needed to be comfortable with identifying ash trees before they leaf out in the spring.
Brian Anderson, who is with the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority and serves as County of Lanark Forester, kindly agreed to conduct an open-air workshop for us. We started with a small ash tree that still had fruits hanging on it (see photo below).
Brian Anderson, County Forester, explaining identification tips as the group looks at a small ash in Gemmill Park (photo Ken Allison).
We then walked into the park, identifying ashes of many ages, plus a number of other important forest species, as we went. Particular care was taken to separate ash from maples, as both have opposite branching. During the summer, the two genera are easy to identify by the leaves, but it is not so obvious when all you have are bark and buds to examine. Not all the ash trees were so obliging as to keep some of their keys to make the recognition easier. One thing we learned is that there are a lot of ash trees in Gemmill Park, as in many Lanark County forests.
Brian did a great job as a teacher and the exercise was very worthwhile. The weather cooperated after all the rain the previous day and I think all the participants enjoyed working together.
My thanks to Cliff Bennett for initiating this workshop and to Brian for taking the time to help us out. It was also great to have Calvin Murphy, Recreation Co-ordinator, and Abby Barclay, Environmental Compliance Coordinator for the Town of Mississippi Mills, join us.
For information on the potential impact of Emerald Ash Borer, visit the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources website: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Forests/2ColumnSubPage/STEL02_166994.html
OMNR: The emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, is an invasive insect species that was first found in North America in June 2002. Shortly after the Detroit, Michigan discovery, forest health monitoring staff from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) and Canadian Forest Service (CFS) determined the beetle was also present in Windsor, Ontario. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) was immediately notified. Surveys conducted in Canada and the U.S. found the beetle was well-established in the Detroit and Windsor areas.
Little information was known about the beetle at the time. Arriving in North America through improperly treated wooden packaging material from Asia, the insect didn’t even have a common English name. Despite substantial research and control efforts, the beetle has continued to spread to new areas. Some of this spread has been natural dispersal, but the long distance spread has been helped by people, especially through the movement of nursery stock or infested firewood from infested areas.
Emerald ash borer is now found throughout much of Essex County and part of Chatham-Kent in Ontario. In Michigan, the beetle is concentrated in the southeastern portion of the state, but has also spread to multiple locations in the Lower Peninsula and as far north as the Mackinac Bridge. Spot infestations have also been found in Ohio and Maryland. Researchers, regulators, and urban foresters are in a race to halt the spread of the insect long enough to develop effective control measures to save native ash trees, an important hardwood species in North America.
OMNR: The Threat
- The emerald ash borer is able to attack and kill healthy trees.
- All native ash species are at risk.
- Ash trees of all sizes are susceptible to attack, from 5 cm DBH (diameter at breast height) to 90 cm DBH or greater. Larvae have been found in branches as small as 1.1 cm in diameter.
- Ash trees are widespread in Canada and the United States, both in natural and urban settings, and green ash is one of the most commonly planted species in the urban forest.
- Emerald ash borer is very difficult to detect early. When infested trees are found, it’s often 1 year or more after the attack occurred. In addition, there are several other factors affecting ash health in Ontario which may disguise its presence.
- Estimates show the emerald ash borer has killed several hundred thousand ash trees in Essex County, Ontario, and 8 to 10 million ash trees in southeastern Michigan. Tree loss includes ornamental, rural and woodlot trees.
- If not effectively controlled, the emerald ash borer is expected to spread across the entire range of ash, causing widespread tree mortality.