Resources | Coastal Flora and Fauna
Biodiversity is the variability within species, between species and between ecosystems. We have produced a number of publications related to coastal wildlife and how it interacts with our specific waterfront environment.
Garlic mustard is considered to be one of the most invasive exotic plants in Canada. It thrives in rich, moist upland forests and wooded stream-banks. It is shade tolerant, and readily invades deciduous woodlands, hedgerows, disturbed areas such as roadsides, trail edges and gardens.
Common Reed, or Phragmites australis, is an alien, invasive plant with origins in Europe and Asia. While there is a native variety, it appears to be much less aggressive and harmful than its alien counterpart. Common Reed has recently found its way to some of Lake Huron's beaches and has raised much concern amongst the public and the scientific community.
The term Common Reed used here refers to the invasive plant. Scientists are beginning to use the term European Reed, to distinguish it from the native Phragmites. For the purposes of information on this site, Common Reed = European Reed, unless otherwise noted.
An alarming trend is being observed as more and more lakeshore development occurs along Lake Huron. Endemic plants are being replaced with lawns and gardens, comprised primarily of non-native species. This â€˜urbanization' of the shoreline is occurring with significant costs to the ecosystem.
The Huron Fringe Forest includes the wooded areas that parallel the shoreline of Lake Huron. It is a remnant of what used to be part of the great forests of pre-European settlement that covered about 90% of the landscape in southwestern Ontario. Today, because of clearing for agriculture and development, the forests have been reduced to patches and strips of woodlands.
For thousands of years, this thistle has coped with blowing sand, low soil nutrients, and herbivorous mammals and insects. Today however, the Pitcher's Thistle's greatest threat is human activity.
If we manage our activities wisely, we can ensure that the ecology of the beaches at Oliphant remain intact for future generations, and the special habitat they provide for rare and at-risk species can continue to be sustained.
Is there really a problem with driving a vehicle on a beach? The use of vehicles in beach areas is a practice that is being challenged throughout the world as a better understanding develops of beach ecology and the environmental consequences of allowing vehicles on beaches.