by Michelle St-Germain
The Dog-strangling Vine (DSV) management project was proposed as a volunteer-based pilot to the Alta Vista Community Association (AVCA) Board of Directors. Permission was obtained from the City of Ottawa and a Consent to Enter Agreement was in effect from 1 April to 30 November 2022.
- Control the spread of DSV in two ecologically significant areas of Alta Vista.
- Raise community awareness about the detrimental effects of DSV and the importance of native species.
- Acquire community-wide knowledge, experience, and expertise needed to develop and implement a long-term invasive plant management plan for Alta Vista that could also serve as a model for other neighbourhoods across Ottawa.
- Generate support for a comprehensive City of Ottawa Invasive Plant Management Strategy.
- Pulled down dried DSV from branches and trunks of young planted trees. Placed cardboard over DSV stems immediately under the trees and covered it with collected organic debris.
- Cleared open areas of mainly DSV monoculture of branches, rocks, and other protrusions. Flattened DSV stems to ground level and covered with tarps.
- Dug up DSV roots and stored plants in garbage bags for 2 weeks before discarding in garbage collection.
- Filled in newly dug areas with native plants.
- Where DSV began to flower elsewhere, it was cut at root base, collected, and piled on thick layered cardboard.
- Where missed flower heads developed into seed pods, they were carefully removed and stored/discarded as with uprooted plants.
- 55 volunteers signed up and worked over 2000 hours between 1 April and 30 September.
- Approximately 100 square metres of DSV-contaminated land was restored with native plants, trees, and shrubs, and approximately another 500 square metres was prepared for full restoration the following year.
- Over 1000 pounds of DSV roots and 500 pounds of seed pods were removed and bagged.
- Over 25 City-planted trees were saved from DSV.
- Approximately 100 new native trees and shrubs were planted.
- Over 2000 native wildflowers were planted, of which 1500 were grown by volunteers themselves.
- Remediated areas saw a visible increase in pollinator activity (including Monarch butterflies).
- 7 articles were published in VISTAS, the local community newspaper, and shared via the AVCA email distribution list and social media.
- An information pamphlet was created, and approximately 300 copies were handed out or distributed to interested community residents.
- 2 on-site information sessions were presented to the public, with a turnout of 20 people (separate from weekly work bee information sessions).
- Volunteers staffed a community outreach booth at the AVCA Farmers Market, handing out pamphlets, answering questions, and showcasing DSV plant samples to help the public identify DSV in home yards.
- The AVCA leveraged the project to encourage other community associations to join it in pressing the City of Ottawa to create a dedicated position to work with community groups on invasive species removal.