Lake Huron, ON - Chelsea Antoine
Hello, my name is Chelsea Antoine. The water body I picked is at Sandy Bay and it's part of the water body of Lake Huron. Sandy Bay is located on Cockburn Island, which is an isolated island near Manitoulin Island.
My Watermark took place in summer of 2016. The reason this water body is important to me is because my community has land on Cockburn Island and we go to this beach all the time when we are on Cockburn Island. We use the beach for swimming and bathing, the community's land on Cockburn island has a place to swim but it’s not suitable for the elders. So the Sandy Bay is very important not only for swimming but also for the bathing of the elders in the community.
In the summer of 2016 I was on Cockburn Island with a team of environmentalists to study rare species of plants on the island and gather information on the growth of the plants, but during this study we found out that there are phragmites on Sandy Bay. Phragmites are invasive species that dry up water bodies like swamps and shore lines of beaches. So, when we were walking on the shore of the sandy beach, we found an area with them taking over on the beach. Then when we traveled on the road, we had also found some parts of the road side had phragmites growing. Phragmites are a form of a very invasive plant because they also grow very quickly and multiply easily. Also, this species can travel on tires of quads and vehicles, when they drive on an area with pharamitties and pieces of the plant end up on the tires or under the vehicle, they can fall off and cause the phragmites to grow in a new location.
It is assumed those quads may have accidentally transferred the phragmites in other locations and they can be all over the island which is very dangerous because of what they do and how hard they are to remove.
We know that those phragmites are on the island. The next steps would be making a plan to remove them from the island. Then have a search to try to find all other locations that may have them to prevent any more outbreak from this species. The only thing is that the invasive phragmites is similar to the native phragmites so an expert is needed for this so it’d be a costly removal but a beneficial one for the island beaches and swamps and other wetlands.
This place is very important not only to me but my community and other people that live or have cottages on the island because it’s such a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the day. I haven’t been to that location where the outbreak was since 2016 to give an update if it was removed but this coming summer of 2020, I hope to walk the shoreline and see if it was cleared or if it has gotten worse, but the environmentalist was talking about how horrible the species is and how something needs to be done.