Q: What happened the day of the prescribed burn?
A: On the morning of Saturday, March 12th, 2016, machines were used to roll the Phragmites australis down. After waiting for the fog to burn off and the relative humidity to drop, the burn started. The first flame occurred at about 4:00 pm. Before dark the relative humidity dropped, the wind picked up and the controlled burn increased. The result: most of the western block was treated. We have not burned the east block yet.
Q: Who conducted the prescribed burn?
A: The prescribed burn was conducted by wildlife specialists under an agreement with the Long Point Waterfowlers’ Association and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
Q: Where did the prescribed burn occur?
A: The prescribed burn took place in the Long Point Crown Marsh situated on the north side of Long Point in Lake Erie.
Q: Why did the prescribed burn occur?
A: One of the biggest pressures facing coastal marshes in the Lower Great Lakes region is the inundation of Phragmites australis. Phragmites australis outcompetes native vegetation, colonizes and overtakes open water areas.
In order to control Phragmites australis, Best Management Practices have been developed, which have shown to restore water levels and return open water in shallow wetlands. These practices involve applying an herbicide treatment by a licensed contractor during the dry fall season, followed by rolling the Phragmites australis and a final prescribed burn treatment to destroy existing seed heads. This allows for native vegetation communities to begin to re-generate.
This article is courtesy of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry – Aylmer District, published in the Port Rowan Good News, Spring 2016. Photos provided by Claire Paller, MNRF Aylmer District.