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Invasive Plant Monitoring in Carden… It’s Working!

Map to track Invasives
A map of the Carden region where volunteers and staff monitor for invasive species and species at risk using Avenza Maps.

Many eyes allow for the coverage of a lot of ground. And when that ground is about 4,000 acres in size, the more eyes the better! Such is the invasive plants program that occurs on the Carden Plain, especially within the boundaries of Carden Alvar Provincial Park.

Volunteers are trained and deployed through the Couchiching Conservancy Land trust, and their discoveries are tabulated and mapped in their office to assist with field management.

Training includes learning to identify invasives such as dog-strangling vine, phragmites reed, and garlic mustard, all of which are putting pressure on the alvar habitats. This training also covers the ability to map your route and findings on a cell phone using the Avenza program; this app allows for photos of suspicious plants to be immediately sent in for verification while recording their exact location.

As the study area is very large, a series of zones have been established, with volunteers patrolling one or more zones, seeking out the presence of invasive plant species. While it is actually very good news NOT to find these plants while searching, it is equally valuable to know which areas have been searched.

In late 2017 two patches of dog-strangling vine (DSV) were found by Ginny Moore on Windmill Ranch, and this past June the DSV control team were able to walk right to the patches and deal with them, rather than spending hours traversing the landscape.

The program will continue this autumn, with several hundred more acres to be surveyed. If you would like to assist please contact Dorthea Hangaard at the Conservancy office.