Hilliardton Marsh Rangers Bend Their Backs for Purple Loosestrife Control for Temiskaming Shores
August 13, 2014
A few weeks ago the marsh rangers were installing tree swallow boxes in the sewage lagoons in North Cobalt when we noticed some purple loosestrife growing in a field just beyond the border of the fence. While purple loosestrife is a very pretty flower it is an invasive plant that was originally found in Europe and it has a tendency to spread in wetlands and chokes out natural vegetation. While there have been a few biological controls such as introducing some non-native insects to eat the plants which makes me really really nervous.
The best method for removing purple loosestrife is to take a shovel to their shallow roots and pull them out. Loosestrife by its nature likes to have wet feet so pulling it out is not too difficult but it just takes time. Just for some added fun today the crew enjoyed perhaps the heaviest downpour of the summer and they did not have to worry about breaking into a sweat.
The marsh is enjoying this new partnership with the town and we have over 100 swallow boxes in the Newliskeard and North Cobalt sewage lagoons which are fantastic feeding and nesting areas for swallows. The tree swallow population has dropped by over a third in the last 25 years so we really appreciate the opportunity to have nest boxes up in an area that produces so much food for the young.
We anticipate that we will have to go back into this area again next year to pull up the remaining loosestrife and hope we can continue to build on the goodwill we are creating with the town of Temiskaming shores as they are making their lagoons even more bird friendly. Indeed if there is another municipality that would be interested in learning how to become more bird friendly we would love to hear from you.
As for the marsh rangers I am sure they will never forget what purple loosestrife looks like
but they have the added bonus of always being on the lookout and perhaps they will have the chance to pass along what they have learned and help save our wetlands. Yes Virginia a sewage lagoon is definitely a wetland and they are used by many wetland dependent species of birds, insects, and amphibians. So thank you to Temiskaming shores and to our hard working marsh rangers they have a lot of pull!!