Balancing costs and benefits of invasive species management for endangered wetland reptiles
Invasive species can have major effects on the landscape, but sometimes their effects are assumed to be negative before they are scientifically tested. The common reed is an extremely tall and robust grass that is moving rapidly into wetlands across Canada. Common reed is believed to threaten some reptiles by reducing their access to suitable habitats, but this has not been tested. In this project, we use state-of-the-art tracking equipment to directly test whether endangered turtles and snakes are forced to change their habitat use in areas impacted by the common reed. We also test the impact of current control measures for common reed (application of the herbicide glyphosate) by assessing chemical loads in our study wetland. Our research fills critical knowledge gaps that will allow managers to make informed decisions, balancing the benefits of controlling this invasive plant against the potential costs of chemical control.