MVFN Opposes Roadside Spraying to Control Wild Parsnip
MVFN has written a letter of concern to Lanark County, expressing our opposition to their plans to carry out herbicide spraying in 2017 of approximately 350 km of roadsides along County (and Township) roads, in an effort to control the presence and spread of wild parsnip, as well as other noxious weeds. This letter follows from a similar letter sent in 2016. A map and table showing the roads where spraying is planned or has been completed can be found on the Lanark County web site at http://www.lanarkcounty.ca/Page1875.aspx.
MVFN is concerned that spraying, particularly boom spraying, of a general herbicide (Clearview) to control wild parsnip will detrimentally affect many other species of flowering plants that provide food for insects and birds. We also feel that, even with careful application, there is a risk of the herbicide entering streams and wetlands where it is known to be highly toxic to aquatic organisms. An active ingredient of Clearview (aminopyralid potassium) cannot be considered readily biodegradable and so may persist in the environment and transport into groundwater.
MVFN is of the opinion that the County should focus its efforts on wild parsnip control through non-chemical means, particularly mowing at appropriate times of the year, and carry out a more comprehensive public information campaign that will lead to risk reduction through education. No matter the scale of our efforts, wild parsnip, like poison ivy, will always be with us and we should deal with its presence through education and mechanical control, not through the widespread application of herbicides.
To learn more about wild parsnip, and how property owners can control it, please go to this Mississippi Mills link:
Here is the MVFN Letter of Concern that was sent to all Lanark County Councillors: MVFN-letter-to-LC-spraying-2017.pdf
Photos below are of wild parsnip plants at various stages of development. Learn to recognize the plants and avoid them.
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 .