2022 OIPC Conference

2022 ANNUAL ONTARIO INVASIVE PLANT CONFERENCE

The 14th Annual Ontario Invasive Plant Conference is taking place virtually on Thursday, January 13th, 2022.

Registration is now closed. We hope to see you there!

This unique event is offered in conjunction with our Annual Ontario Phragmites Working Group Meeting which is occurring virtually on Tuesday, January 18th, 2022. Together, these two meetings result in a fantastic two-day event which brings together professionals and passionate citizens from across Ontario and beyond.

For the second year in a row, we’re going online using our industry leading virtual outreach and networking software, Remo!

This year, the OIPC Conference theme is Community of Knowledge! Whether referring to the experiences of practitioners or community groups on the ground, to the findings of researchers, or to the traditional ecological knowledge of Indigenous peoples and land stewards, this year’s theme will focus on showcasing the diverse community of knowledge within the Ontario invasive plant community. This year’s conference will offer an opportunity to explore the strategies, programs, technologies, partnerships, research, and worldviews which shape current and future measures of controlling invasive plants.

The Event

Earn CECs towards your Integrated Pest Management Accreditation

What is the Integrated Pest Management Accreditation Program?
The IPM Accreditation program is a program administered through the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus, which certifies Integrated Pest Management Agents. The certification process involves both an examination and obtaining continuing education credits (CECs). Certified IPM Agents and IPM certified applicators require a minimum of 6 CECs per year to maintain their certification within the IPM Accreditation program (IPMAP). We are pleased to announce that attendees of our OIPC and OPWG conferences can now earn up to 7.5 CECs!

How to earn CECs?
It’s simple! To earn your credits, you must attend the conference day and achieve a passing grade of 70% or higher on the quiz. Each day will have its own quiz. Attending all of OIPC Day will earn you 4 credits and attending OPWG Day will earn you 3.5 credits. The links for these quizzes will be emailed to all registered attendees the day of, and shortly after the conference. If you do not receive these emails, please feel free to send us an email.

Keynote Speaker

Photo of Dr. Jennifer Grenz wearing red, with her hair pulled over her shoulder.

Dr. Jennifer Grenz is a researcher and Indigenous (Nlaka’pamux) Scholar, currently working in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia. She has worked professionally in invasive species management for almost two decades and has recently completed a PhD, which focused on applying an Indigenous worldview to invasion biology and ecology. Dr. Grenz’s work challenges us to think differently about our role in ecosystem management, something very important as we face a rapidly changing climate. Dr. Grenz is a science communicator, weed chaser, textile artist, farmer, and proud Indigenous woman in STEM.

Embracing Relational Science: What an Indigenous worldview offers complicated issues in Invasive Species Management

Jennifer B. Grenz
Sessional Lecturer, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia
Principal, Greener This Side Invasive Plant Management

Indigenous perspectives on invasive species are largely unknown. Informed by Western science, the specific impacts of invasive species are often generalized and not well understood. Common approaches to ecological restoration are rooted is the native versus non-native dichotomy which equates native species with evolutionary fitness. Integration of Indigenous ecological knowledge in land management while increasingly popular, may not provide the full benefit that the application of the Indigenous world view can. The application of Indigenous research methodology to invasion biology reveals new insights into species assessment and ecological restoration. The acknowledgement of values and relationality plays a vital role in guiding land management decisions reflective of an Indigenous worldview, cultural values and allows us to redefine and reclaim practices that protect food security and sovereignty for generations to come.

Supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada


Presentations

Phragmites at CAMI Assembly

Brooke Sampson; GM CAMI Assembly

GM CAMI Assembly of Ingersoll has been monitoring Phragmites growth in four key areas on site since 2015. The pilot project initiated the measurements of density in a 1m2 area, tallest height and representative height with three samples from each of the four monitoring sites. This data is compiled annually to project trends. Along with this, Interns at CAMI maintain Phragmites growth by organizing removal projects each growing season. This presentation will cover the monitoring and maintenance plan, schedules and methods used at the CAMI Assembly Plant since the Phragmites program began in 2015. Success stories and learning opportunities will be shared to hopefully help listeners with their own Phragmites maintenance.

Brooke Sampson is the current Environmental Engineering Intern at the General Motors CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. She has completed her 3rd year of Civil Engineering at Queen’s University and will return to finish her 4th year in September 2022 once her internship is complete. At the CAMI Plant, an important role of the intern’s is to monitor and maintain the spread of Phragmites on site. This is essential to maintain working storm-water ponds and protect our on-site wetland.

Effects of invasive Phragmites australis removal on avian species diversity in Long Point coastal marshes

Marissa Zago; University of Waterloo

Marsh bird populations in the southern Great Lakes coastal wetlands have been declining since the mid 90s. One factor contributing to this decline is the expansion of the invasive grass European Common Reed (Phragmites australis ssp. australis). The Canadian Wildlife Service aims to remove 90% of P. australis in two National Wildlife Areas in Long Point, Lake Erie by 2025. We undertook a Before-After-Control-Impact study to determine the short-term response of marsh bird communities to the removal of P. australis. Throughout the 2019 marsh bird breeding season, Autonomous Recording Units (ARUs) were used to record bird vocalizations in areas where herbicide treatment of P. australis was planned for fall 2019, and in P. australis-invaded areas where no treatment was planned (statistical controls). These sites were resurveyed in 2021 to compare to baseline recordings. We determined the optimal transcription effort required to maximum avian richness estimates from ARUs. Recordings comprised three 15 min segments spread across the dawn chorus on one day within the breeding season. We observed 52 species in 2019 and 46 species in 2021. Preliminary results show an effect of treatment on total bird richness, as well as a change in community composition within control and treated sites, both of which warrant continued monitoring. Our results also highlight the importance of maintaining statistical controls in a Before-After-Control-Impact design to accurately interpret effects-based monitoring results and avoid confounding results with changes in environmental conditions.

Marissa Zago is a Master’s student in the Department of Biology at the University of Waterloo in Dr. Rebecca Rooney’s wetland ecology lab. Her thesis work investigates the important outcomes of wetland restoration efforts in the Long Point Walsingham Forest: Ontario’s Priority Place for Species at Risk conservation. Marissa’s research will elucidate the consequence of European Common Reed removal on marsh breeding birds, which will help inform management of the invasive grass species across the Great Lakes basin.

Point Pelee National Park Marsh Restoration

Andrew Laforet and Tarra Degazio; Point Pelee National Park, Parks Canada

Established in 1918, Point Pelee National Park is located in Southwestern Ontario and consists of 15 km2 mainland peninsula as well as Middle Island (18.5 hectares). The Park is home to over 60 federally listed species at risk. Approximately 72% of the park’s mainland is comprised of marsh habitat and 19 species at risk are dependent upon its continued presence. Since the late 1950s, the overall percentage of open water habitat in the marsh has decreased by 10 percent (100 hectares) due to habitat alterations, reducing overall habitat biodiversity for all marsh species, including species at risk.

The objective of this project is to increase open water and edge habitats in the marsh through removal of invasive floating cattail mats and invasive Phragmites to restore habitat diversity for species at risk where the park can influence recovery. Planning involved an Open Standards workshop to review threats to the marsh and develop a Community of Practice on marsh management, as well as contacting wetland managers from various organizations within Canada and the USA to discuss management methods. This process provided a foundation for the project’s conservation and restoration planning.

The Park is using an aquatic vegetation cutter and aquatic weed harvester to recreate open water areas, and use “cut to drown” techniques and herbicide application for treatment of Phragmites in species at risk areas of concern. Cutting Phragmites to drown with hedge trimmers began in the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Heavy machinery has been field tested. The restoration team has adapted to rising challenges within the project, learning much along the way, and work with hedge trimmers, herbicide and heavy machinery will resume in 2022.

Andrew Laforet began with Parks Canada in 2012 as an interpreter. In 2016, he moved into the Interpretation Coordinator role for Point Pelee National Park where spent much of his time both learning and teaching about Point Pelee’s rich marsh habitat. In 2020, he took on the role of Project Coordinator for the park’s resource conservation team. He currently manages the marsh restoration project, as well as the prescribed fire project at Point Pelee. Andrew holds an honours degree of mathematics from the University of Windsor.

Tarra Degazio is s Resource Management Officer at Point Pelee National Park. She began her career with Parks Canada in July 2013. Since then, she has been heavily involved in a number of the park’s resource conservation programs and projects including American Water-willow monitoring, water quality monitoring, tree and seedling monitoring, Southern Flying Squirrel monitoring, Eastern Foxsnake monitoring, snake/turtle telemetry, and invasive vegetation management. Tarra holds BSc in Ecology from Laurentian University.

Biological control of invasive knotweed: How post-release research can contribute to the success of a weed biological control agent

Dr. Ian Matthew Jones; University of Toronto, Institute of Forestry and Conservation

Knotweeds species are among the most serious invasive plants in Europe and North America. The knotweed psyllid, Aphalara itadori, has been approved as a biological control agent on both continents, and releases began in the UK in 2010, in Canada in 2014, and in the United States in 2019. Despite widespread releases, across a range of habitats and conditions, no field population of A. itadori has been confirmed to survive for multiple growth seasons. We describe research designed to identify the obstacles preventing the establishment of A. itadori, as well as efforts to overcome them. Additionally, we describe recent advancements that show great promise for finally providing successful biological control for invasive knotweeds.

Dr. Ian Jones is a postdoctoral research fellow working with the Smith Forest Health Lab and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). His research focuses on the ecology of insect-insect and insect-plant interactions. Ian received a Masters degree in Applied Entomology from Imperial College London, and completed his PhD at Florida International University. Ian’s postdoctoral work focuses on classical biological control of invasive plants. Through an understanding of the ecology of biological control insects, and their interactions with native species, Ian seeks to improve the release strategy and establishment of these beneficial organisms, contributing to more effective and sustainable control of invasive weeds.

Severn Sound Environmental Association – Tackling invasive species on a watershed scale

Tamara Brincat; Severn Sound Environmental Association

The Severn Sound Environmental Association (SSEA) is committed to ensuring exceptional environmental quality and exemplary stewardship of the Severn Sound area through sound science, collaboration, and partnerships at a watershed scale. Since invasive species do not respect private, municipal, or regulatory boundaries, the SSEA initiated the Invasive Species Program in 2017 to support municipal partners, providing expertise and a coordinated local approach to invasive species education, detection, monitoring, and management.

The goal of the SSEA Invasive Species Program is to reduce the ecological, economic, and social impacts of invasive species, through mapping and data collection, providing education and outreach to municipalities and the public, linking with regional, provincial, and federal invasive species initiatives, as well as working with local organizations and volunteers. The SSEA Invasive Species Program includes developing and periodically updating a cross-municipal strategy, promoting partnerships and cooperation between municipalities, residents, and community groups, and coordination of a multi-partner working group to share information and lessons learned at a local level. Through the Program, over 70 different invasive organisms have been detected within the Severn Sound watershed area to date, including a wide range of terrestrial and aquatic plants, invertebrates, fish, mammals, algae, and micro-organisms. The presentation will provide insight into how the SSEA developed a coordinated approach with eight partner municipalities to reduce the impacts of invasive species across jurisdictions through communication, monitoring, mapping, and management. It will highlight some of the challenges and successes of a watershed scale invasive species initiative.

Tamara Brincat (BSc, CERPIT, EPt) graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biological Science and completed a Graduate Certificate from Niagara College in Ecosystem Restoration. Tamara began with Severn Sound Environmental Association (SSEA) in 2020 as a seasonal Invasive Species Technician and has advanced to the role of Invasive Species Program Coordinator. Over the past year within the Severn Sound watershed, Tamara has developed an invasive species citizen science program, facilitated invasive species monitoring and management projects, delivered training and outreach to local municipal staff and community groups and hosted a multi-partner working group.

Protecting Nature Where you Live. The Power of Community Involvement

Beatriz Gomez-Canizo; Oakvillegreen Conservation Association

Invasive Species are one of the mayor threats to ecosystems in Ontario; urban ecosystems are not the exception. Southern Ontario is the most densely populated area in Canada and home to extremely valuable ecosystems, this is one of the main reasons why Oakvillegreen has been involving the community in hands-on stewardship and effective actions to improve local biodiversity and invasive species monitoring and control. With great results, this community involvement has provided residents with the knowledge and tools needed to take action in their own neighbourhoods and contribute to invasive species management plans.

Since 2015 and in close collaboration with the Town of Oakville and Conservation Halton, Oakvillegreen has involved businesses, schools, youth groups, seniors and general citizens in workshops, webinars, walks and invasive species removal events, tackling species like garlic mustard, buckthorn, Phragmites, dog strangling vine, LDD moth masses and others.

Our programs are about empowering the community by introducing the notion that we can all do something positive about the ecosystems surrounding us, which has not only increased citizens’ participation but reduced the complaints received by the Town of Oakville when removing invasive species from public property.

Beatriz Gomez-Canizo has dedicated her professional life to natural resources’ conservation. With studies in Biotechnology Engineering, postgrads in Natural
Resources Management and Education and a Masters in Water Management. She has over 17 years of experience in the non-profit sector with international experience managing projects in sustainability, water management, community
development, environmental education and public awareness. Beatriz Gomez is  part of Oakvillegreen Conservation Association, where she manages outreach and stewardship programs like the OCA Ready for Rain, local
Depave Paradise projects and OCA Youth Stewards.

Aggressive Native and Near-Native Plants. Unintended consequences?

Stephen Smith; Urban Forest Associates Inc.

Many of us have been asked what we should do about aggressive native plants in our projects; whether they are unwanted vines that carpet the site, shrubs that invade our prairie plantings or plants from other parts of North America that act like invasive species. Our discussions to date have centered on the problems of alien species but many North American natives can interfere just as much with our project goals. During this session, we will discuss this conundrum and offer some solutions.

Stephen Smith is a forester and certified arborist with the firm Urban Forest Associates (UFA) Inc., a small firm in Toronto. As a restoration practitioner, he has designed and supervised hundreds of ecological restoration projects throughout Ontario, working with many partner groups, and is the author of the invasive plant species list for Ontario. He is a founding member of the Society for Ecological Restoration Ontario and a member of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council (OIPC), and the Forest Gene Conservation Association (FGCA). Stephen and his company have been active in managing Toronto ravine forests for over 30 years, working for many private homeowners, institutions, non-profits, and the City of Toronto and Toronto Region Conservation. Stephen organizes volunteer planting events and stewardship work days for many groups across the city every year.

The Role of Science Communication and Journalism in Invasive Plant Management

Frederick Schueler; Fragile Inheritance Natural History

Using articles he has written for the North Grenville Times about invasive plants as examples, Fred Schueler will make the pitch that if ecological and natural history events are to be properly represented in popular media, naturalists and scientists must write articles and get them published in various media.

Fred Schueler is an unemployable nomadic peasant scholar, who having learned, as an undergraduate, the lesson that “ecology is the science of where organisms are found”, has spent half a century finding and documenting where organisms occur. He was brought up on the theory that climax continental floras were so well integrated that they were unsusceptible to invasion by alien species, but was triggered to concern about invasive species in 1985 when Frangulous Buckthorn showed up on his land in Bishops Mills, Ontario. While he has surveyed native & invasive Phragmites, White & Yellow Sweet-clovers, Broad- & Narrow-leaved Cattails, and Dyssodia papposa all across southern Canada, he hasn’t formally written up or analyzed these surveys, and will discuss a series of popular articles prepared for a local newspaper.

Our 2022 Sponsors


Sponsorship Opportunities

Would you like to sponsor the 2022 OIPC and OPWG Conference Days? Our events attract a wide range of attendees including municipalities, government agencies, NGO’s, academics, students, and citizen scientists! We offer a variety of benefits to help get your organization in front of our attendees. Please click below to learn more about becoming a sponsor!