Update on Wild Parsnip Removal

I would like to supply all residents with a quick update regarding the City’s process for removing Wild Parsnip as this has been an ongoing concern for this 2016 year.

The City of Ottawa has a comprehensive strategy to control the spread of Wild Parsnip. Our strategy includes both herbicide application as well as accelerated mowing cycles. We also committed to testing the effectiveness of these two activities using an agronomist, mapping infestation levels to show the spread of the plant, and finally, conducting an education and public health awareness campaign.

To date, over 800 kms of roadsides as well as over 50 parkland areas have been treated with the herbicide application (Clearview). Accelerated early season mowing cycles have been utilized in areas with medium to light infestation levels, whereas herbicide application has been focused on heavily infested roadsides and in parkland adjacent to active recreational play. The effectiveness of the herbicide is maximized when applied during the early season. Staff, as well as our agronomist, have been diligently monitoring the status of plant growth as staff are well aware that mowing the plant after it has gone to seed could potentially spread the growth of the plant.  The accelerated cutting cycles will continue until which time the plants reach full seed stage.  While Wild Parsnip is a target for roadside mowing operation, the operation must continue throughout the season in order to reduce any other safety hazards related to sightline issues, wild fire risks and wild life threats within the road right-of-way.

Currently, there is no extensive research on the management of Wild Parsnip.  Most municipalities do not have a strategy and existing research has shown that mowing only controls the spread of the weed, rather than decrease the infestation levels.  The Public Works Department conducted research around existing plant management strategies specific to Wild Parsnip, and looked at lessons learned from other municipalities in relation to the management of this invasive plant and used this information to develop the City of Ottawa’s Wild Parsnip Strategy. In addition to this exhaustive research, the Public Works Department worked, and will continue to work, with internal and external stakeholders to explore ways to reduce the spread of Wild Parsnip in the City of Ottawa and put in place strategies to educate the public on the health risks of Wild Parsnip.

The 2016 strategy was developed by the Public Works Department in consultation with the following stakeholders:

  • Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Province of Ontario Pesticides Specialist (MOECC)
  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
  • Ontario Invasive Plant Council (OIPC)
  • National Capital Commission (NCC)
  • Hydro One
  • Hydro Ottawa
  • Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA)
  • Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO)
  • United Counties of Leeds and Grenville
  • United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry
  • Planning and Growth Management Department
  • Development Review Services Branch
  • Land Use and Natural System Unit
  • Emergency and Protective Services Department
  • By-Law Services
  • Ottawa Public Health
  • Corporate Communications Department

Please remember that while the City is working very hard at removing Wild Parsnip, it is still important to report it to 3-1-1(either by phone or 311@ottawa.ca). If you have already reported it and it has not yet been addressed, there is no need to report it again as priority is being given to areas of the City that have not yet been maintained.