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Report: Reed Canary grass Removal in the Komoks Estuary COA-F20-F-3036

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This report outlines the Comox Valley Project Watershed Societys (CVPWS) efforts to control and manage the spread of invasive reed canary grass (RCG) in the Komoks Estuary in the spring, summer and fall of 2019. This work aligned with the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Programs priority action to implement habitat-based actions in the Komoks Estuary as per the CVPWS restoration plan - P1. The restoration plan P1 indicates a need for in-stream habitat enhancement projects in Mallard Creek.

Author:  Jennifer Sutherst, Beatrice Proudfoot

Old Reference Number:  COA-F20-F-3036

Old Reference System:  FWCP - Fish Wildlife Compensation Program Coastal

Date Published:  Mar 2020

Report ID:  58711

Audience:  Government and Public

During the spring of 2019, the CVPWS inventoried and mapped the extent of RCG in three priority areas in the Komoks Estuary: Hollyhock Marsh Conservation Area, Dyke Slough and the lower reaches of Mallard Creek. Specific regions within these areas were then targeted for eradication trials. The following seven treatments were trialed: mowing; mowing and shading; mowing and mulching; mowing, mulching and shading; manual excavation by hand; machine excavation; and machine excavation and live staking with native species. Overall, approximately 1200m2 of RCG was removed and treated across all treatment trials. The effectiveness of these treatments are currently being documented and monitored, and results will inform subsequent control and management efforts in the study area. At the time of reporting, the CVPWS recommends using the machine excavation and live staking technique to control large monoculture patches of RCG along the riparian area of Mallard Creek and in other regions where RCG has formed dense monocultures. This approach is an efficient and effective way to work towards this area and improving the habitat for salmonid species. Key recommendations that resulted from this work include focusing on areas with high habitat value for salmonids such as Mallard Creek and Hollyhock Marsh as well as protecting remaining sensitive plant communities in Hollyhock Marsh. Additional and detailed recommendations are provided in the CVPWSs RCG Control/Management Plan that was produced with this funding. There is no quick way to convert an RCG infestation into a native plant community. However, even highly infested areas can be restored to more desirable and diverse plant communities and much can be accomplished within 2-3 years. As such, efforts should focus on areas with high habitat values and using the results from ongoing monitoring efforts to guide future RCG control and management efforts.

Report Type
  Fish and Aquatic Habitat Information
  Region - Vancouver Island
  Fish and Fish Habitat - Habitat and Stream Assessment
  Fish and Fish Habitat - Impact Assessment
  Fish and Fish Habitat - Research
  Vegetation - Aquatic Vegetation

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