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On-Site Conservation Projects

European Common Reed Control Project at the Toronto Zoo

The Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme is taking on a formidable invasive wetland species! European Common Reed (Phragmites australis subsp. australis) has become one of Southern Ontario's worst invasive plants. This invasive is native to European and Asian countries but was introduced to North America through the horticulture trade. European Common Reed forms tall, dense, monoculture stands, most often in wetland ecosystems. The plant's establishment in ecosystems leads to a decrease in biodiversity and destroys critical habitat for Ontario's native wildlife - like our Species at Risk turtles!

Adopt-A-Pond has surveyed the Toronto Zoo property for European Common Reed, as well as a one kilometre buffer area surrounding the Zoo, and assessed the stands on their severity and density. Controlling the spread of European Common Reed will involve management practices including repeated hand pulling and cutting of the stems. The task to completely eradicate European Common Reed from Toronto Zoo property is a big one, but Adopt-A-Pond is up for the challenge if it means creating more suitable habitat for our Species at Risk wildlife!

Wetland Restoration in Zoo Natural Spaces

Our visitors are often amazed by the sheer amount of natural space throughout the Toronto Zoo. Being located in the Rouge river valley means those natural spaces provide important habitat for a diverse selection of native wildlife, including turtles, frogs and salamanders! Over the years, some of the wetland areas that occur on-site have been changed, and others only hold water for short periods of time in the spring. The Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme is working to improve these local wetlands to enhance the quality and quantity of habitat available for our native species. Our projects will include creating berms to help increase the amount of water in a wetland, planting native vegetation to create a more diverse plant community, and monitoring amphibians with the FrogWatch programme to ensure we have created good wetland habitat for unique frog and salamander species.

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