London investigating environmental impact of phragmites

London, ON, Canada / 106.9 The X
London investigating environmental impact of phragmites

Photo of phragmites by Francine MacDonald

City staff is investigating the impact an intrusive plant-species could have on London’s capital projects and its biodiversity.

Chair of Environmental and Ecological Planning Sandy Levin says that phragmites are able to spread rapidly and can overpopulate sections of the Forest City, which has put several plant-species at risk.

“It grows quite tall,” Levin said. “It can be a problem of sight lines for drivers as well as a big problem for our wetlands.”

Lambeth resident Sally Weststein says that starting to combat phragmites immediately is crucial.

“Either roads or new construction in the North Talbot community, anywhere where the road is not farmed or the grass is not cut, this stuff is exponentially taking over,” Weststein said.

Photo by Matt Smith, OFAH

Photo by Matt Smith, OFAH

Councillor Jessie Helmer says staff reports will be reviewed to check if phragmites have been identified as an environmental threat.

“[If] we have a phragmites issue here, we need to include it in the reconstruction project,” Helmer said.

Levin says the Transportation and Management departments could allocate some of the resources to combating the plants.

The city will consult with ecologists to determine how the recommendations can be applied to operations taking place in phragmite-infested areas.

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