Skip to content

Volunteers needed to help remove invasive species

Phragmites is an extremely fast-growing, invasive, non-native grass that continues to take over Georgian Bay shoreline
File photo of volunteers cutting down phragmites on the Collingwood shoreline. Photo by Duncan Bristow

The date is set and we need volunteers for this year’s massive cull of Phragmites Australis, an invasive grass that grows so thick that turtles can become trapped and die.

This Aug. 24 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., the Blue Mountain Watershed Trust, the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority and other partners will be going head-to-head with phragmites, a grass that grows up to 10 feet high. The effort this year is made possible in large part to a financial contribution by the W. Garfield Weston Foundation.

"Phragmites is an extremely fast-growing, invasive, non-native grass,” says George Powell, a member of the Blue Mountain Watershed Trust. “It continues to take over Georgian Bay shoreline, invade wetlands and threaten our most precious ecosystems, like wetlands.”

If left unchecked, Phragmites will cause serious damage to the biodiversity of our area. It out-competes native wetland plant species, creating a monoculture that compromises desirable habitat for all manner of wildlife. Phragmites also releases toxins from its roots into the surrounding soil, which impede the growth of and even kill off neighbouring vegetation.

Where and when

Everyone is welcome to come and volunteer next Saturday, from children to seniors, for an hour or for the entire morning. At noon, volunteers and family are invited to join in a complimentary BBQ lunch. There are two locations for cutting.

The rallying points are the north end of Hickory Street where it terminates at the parking lot of the Collingwood Arboretum, and at 49 Huron Street in the parking lot just east of Sobeys in front of the Iron Skillet. The lunch BBQ will be held at 49 Huron Street at noon.

Volunteers are asked to please register here. They should expect to spend the day outside and in the water/muck, and should bring sunscreen, a hat, drinking water, clothes that can get wet/dirty, gloves (if possible) and sturdy footwear. This event is eligible for high school volunteer hours, so don't forget to bring your forms. 

Sign up here

Those interested can learn more and are asked to please sign up here.

Funding for this year’s project is provided by the W. Garfield Weston Foundation, WWF’s Loblaw Water Fund, Environment and Climate Change Canada EcoAction program, and the Town of Collingwood.

More information on Phragmites can be found on the NVCA website ( To report a sighting of Phragmites, contact the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711 or use your smartphone to report at