CENTRAL MANITOULIN – The Municipality of Central Manitoulin enters the third consecutive year for enhancement activities as part of beach and boardwalk maintenance at Providence Bay. Once completed, the municipality will scale back its work to just maintenance for the next five years.
Activities began in 2016, as outlined in the issued Permit Under Clause 17(2)(c) of the Endangered Species Act by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Work will be done by the municipality this year before taking a break as scheduled in the permit.
A press release from the municipality explains that the permit sets out conditions that allows the municipality to remove and control invasive species while protecting species at risk and enhancing their habitat. These activities include: removing vegetation that has overgrown on the access paths to the boardwalk, dune crossings and areas set aside for beach-goers; and removing shrubs that restrict sand movement by the water’s edge, as well as trees that invade the dune area. Non-native dune plants and invasive species will also be methodically removed.
“Our efforts so far have increased sand movement which helps the dune ecosystem remain dynamic and will be monitored throughout the 25 year-term of the permit,” says CAO Ruth Frawley. “The municipality continues to partner with Winter Spider Eco-Consulting and the Manitoulin Phragmites Project to host Beach Action Day and Phragmites Week, in July, to provide education and awareness.”
“The municipality advises that action by the general public is not permitted,” Ms. Frawley continues. “In the past, unauthorized actions taken by well-intentioned individual(s), such as cutting back shrubs, may have encouraged their spread and promoted stronger root systems. This has also made it difficult to locate the shrub roots for removal. The Municipality would like to stress to the public that proper beach management considers the benefit of having dune grasses rather than denuding the entire area. It is our hope that other waterfront owners will look to our work and see a balance between sand and vegetation that they can also achieve on any beach across the municipality.”