UXBRIDGE: Invasive species like European Common Reed, Japanese Knotweed, Wild Parsnip, and Giant Hogweed are becoming increasingly present in Uxbridge and surrounding areas.
Derek Connelly and Paul Laporte, of North Durham Nature, Uxbridge Trails and the Scugog Environmental Advisory Committee, gave a presentation to Uxbridge Council, regarding invasive species of plants in the area.
Invasive species like European Common Reed, push plant and animals out of their habitats, and reduce biodiversity in the areas it grows.
“The biggest danger, [of letting Common Reed grow] is a reduction of our diversity. Other plants can’t grow there and other animals can’t move into that location, so the concern is, that it will become a monoculture,” Derek said.
A monoculture is when one type of plant or species takes over an entire area and becomes the only species of plant that can grow in it.
European Common Reed has been spotted at Lakeridge Road along Highway 47, and according to Derek, along the highways is where it’s spreading.
The Township of Uxbridge is working to identify areas of the town where the reed and other invasive species are growing, to work towards lessening the problem.
Derek said the Township of Uxbridge is going to apply for grants in the summer, to help with issue of invasive species and will work to prevent the issue from growing.
“If we tackle it now before it gets out of hand, it won’t cost as much money. But, if we leave it, then it will cost us thousands to deal with it. If the climate increases, as we expect it should, then the temperature will be up for these plants to grow, and we will have a bigger problem than we have now,” advised Derek.
The town is currently accepting calls from residents reporting areas with Giant Hogweed, an invasive species, with a dangerous and toxic sap.
The sap from the plant is phototoxic, so when it contacts exposed skin and the contacted skin is exposed to sunlight or ultraviolet rays it can cause severe skin inflammations and burns.
Anyone interested, in helping identify invasive species in their town, can download the EEDMapS app, which allows the tracking of invasive species in real time.
The app allows its users to take a picture of the invasive species they would like to report, which is then sent to plant experts, who can determine if the plant is in fact an invasive species. If the expert determines the plant to be an invasive species, the location of the reported area with invasive species will appear on the EEDMapS map, so, for the Township it becomes a great management tool.
Derek hosted an invasive species cleanup, at a pond by his home in September, and hopes to do more cleanups when the weather warms up in the spring.
Anyone interested in volunteering with Derek, to remove invasive species from Uxbridge and the surrounding areas, can contact him through email, at email@example.com.