Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Long Overdue Update

So much has happened at Riverdale Park East since I last posted over 6 years ago. The site has seen so many changes that it's almost unrecognizable. First of all, we now have a new wetland right in the front of the site and extending in the park itself where there used to be only a lawn.
The fence around the site was also extended to include the new area and protect the wetland.
Over the last couple of years, a lot of plantings have taken place and it's growing fast. We moved the toolbox further in the forest and got a brand new metal box too, much better than the old wooden one that was really falling apart.
The site itself like many others in the city contains a lot of ash trees which were infested by the emerald ash borer. Most of the trees were taken down 2 years ago because they were all dying and were deemed a hazard. As a result, where we used to have a forest, the site is much more open now which is not a bad thing because we can see a lot more vegetation now that simply couldn't grow before as it was too dark.It's actually nice to see more flowering plants now thriving with a lot more sunlight.
While the team is still very busy with the site proper and the rest of the forest with all the usual invasives to remove, we also started tackling the phragmites patch located in the middle of Riverdale Park on the east slope. We started using a different spading method developed by a professor at Humber College. It's very labour intensive and must be done over several summers in order to see some results. After 3 summers, we start to see improvements. There has also been lots of planting in order to try to outcompete the Phragmites.
The phragmites patch was also the subject of a research study by members of EcoSpark,
an environmental charity connecting people to their local natural environment through education, monitoring and stewardship.
The research involved taking samples and measurements of the area to further study the plant. The research took place over 2 years.
Unfortunately, with the pandemic since last year, we haven't been able to do much stewardship work. We were able to go on site last year for a few weeks and did what we could in this short period. As for this year, there is still a lot of uncertainty and we'll have to see if and when we can resume our work.

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