Working with our water-based communities and other stakeholders to ensure the careful stewardship of the greater Georgian Bay environment.
On June 27, Judge Peter West found David Sillars guilty of impaired operation of a vessel (a canoe) causing death and criminal negligence causing death. The charges were laid as a result of the death of eight-year-old Thomas Rancourt on Muskoka River in April 2017. This case was the first time in Canadian history where a case moved forward to trial where an individual faced charges under the Criminal Code of Canada for impaired operation of a canoe causing death. Judge West made history earlier in the trial when he ruled that canoes are vessels. Sentencing is set for August 15 in an Oshawa court.
A team of scientists from the University of Chicago is undertaking a long term study aiming to better understand what microbes are present in the Great Lakes and what role they play in the environment. Read more about their work here.
Water levels remain high across all the Great Lakes, meeting or exceeding the record high July level. Over the last month, Lake Superior and Lake Ontario have decreased by 1 & 4 inches respectively, Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair have increased by 3 and 4 inches, respectively and Lake Erie is unchanged. Over the next month, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are projected to remain fairly steady, while Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are expected to decline 3, 5, and 10 inches, respectively. Outflows from Lake Superior through the St. Mary’s River, and Lake Michigan-Huron’s outflow into the St. Clair River, are projected to be above average in July. Lake St. Clair’s outflow through the Detroit River is also forecasted to be above average.
Parry Sound 033 last summer has reminded us that living in a wilderness environment does come with the risk of facing a wildfire. The seemingly drier summer conditions we have been experiencing and an ever increasing population of cottagers, visitors, and development activities can only increase the risk of fire. Many of our members want to know what they can do to lower the risks of fire at their properties and in their communities. That’s where the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and their FireSmart program comes in. FireSmart is about living with and managing for wildfire. Preparing for the threat of wildfire is a shared responsibility. From homeowners, to industry, to government, we all have the responsibility to lessen the effects of wildfires. FireSmart edu
The very popular and successful "I Got Caught Wearing My Lifejacket" marine reward program for children was kicked off at 11:00 am June 26, 2019, at the Penetanguishene Town Dock. OPP marine officers were joined by Command staff members from OPP Central Region Headquarters, federal, provincial and municipal dignitaries, our partners in water safety BoatSMART, all area municipal fire chiefs, Boating Ontario and most importantly, the grade 6 class from Burkevale Protestant Separate School. Area event sponsor Broker Link Insurance was also on hand to see the launch of the program, which is solely funded by private and business donations. The program rewards children who are wearing their lifejacket when the vessel they are in is checked on the water by OPP marine officers. Started in
Over the last week, much of the Great Lakes Basin has experienced warmer than average temperatures with the western and southern portions of the basin being the warmest with respect to their normal values. Most of the basin had near normal rainfall with the exception of the Lake Michigan-Huron watershed which saw a significant storm system track west to east along a line from Milwaukee to Toronto. Temperatures for the rest of this week and into the following week are expected to be near locally normal values for most of the watershed. Continued wet weather on the west side of the Great Lakes watershed, notably the Wisconsin and the western half of the Lake Superior, is expected in the next 7 days. Water levels remain high across the Great Lakes. Over the last month Lakes Superior, Michi
GBA has commented on this Act and confirmed our support for the many improvements. However, our submission before the Senate sub-committee also pointed out the extent to which open net pen aquaculture operations in Georgian Bay and the North Channel appear to contravene some of the new provisions that are now in effect. We will be following up with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in this respect. There are many features of this bill that are beneficial to the aquatic biota of Georgian Bay, including the sections on Fish and fish habitat and Biodiversity We also welcome the recognition of the role of Indigenous peoples in this Act, and believe there may now be opportunities for GBA and other stakeholders to work together with our First Nations friends and neighbours to help develo
Strangely at odds with the Ford government’s intention to reduce the cost of government, the addition of new ministerial positions are likely to increase those costs. The several new positions created will increase MPP salary costs, and new support staff will almost certainly be needed. GBA will engage with relevant new appointees as required over the coming months. This is what the new cabinet looks like.
Water levels remain high across the Great Lakes as June draws to a close. The lake levels are expected to exceed average water levels from this time last year by 10 to 15 inches with the exception of Lake Ontario which is forecasted at 28 inches. The level of all lakes is above the June record high. The levels of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan-Huron are projected to increase by 1 inch over the next month. Lake St. Clair is projecting no net change in lake level by July 28th. Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are projected to see a net decrease of 4 and 7 inches respectively by this time next month. Outflows from Lake Superior through the St. Mary’s River, and Lake Michigan-Huron’s outflow into the St. Clair River, are projected to be above average in June. Lake St. Clair’s outflow throu
Georgian Bay Forever (GBF) has launched a summer long Families For Change (F4C) initiative. Joining as team, your family can complete a variety of tasks in four different categories including: clean up your shorelines, improve daily choices, choose fashion that matters, and preserve wetlands. There is even a contest your family can enter to win a Patagonia prize pack. Find out how to get started here.
Georgian Bay Forever is studying the impacts of microplastics that enter the water from washing machines and synthetic clothing. This pilot project is the first of its kind in Canada and involves resident volunteers in the town of Parry Sound. GBA strongly encourages more volunteers to come forward for this important study. There is no cost and you will be helping to find a solution to microfibre pollution from clothes washers. Read more…
Persistent wet conditions and high outflows have continued to contribute to exceptionally high lake levels. The water levels for all of the lakes are above their highest monthly average record for June, above last month by 2 to 6 inches, and above last year’s levels by 10 to 15 inches, except for Lake Ontario, which is expected to be 28 inches above its level from last year. Lakes Superior, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario’s levels are 3 to 5 inches above their record high June average level, while Lake Michigan-Huron is 1 inch above its record high June average level. In the coming month, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to continue their seasonal rise and rise by 2 inches and 1 inch, respectively. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are forecasted to decline by 1, 3, and 7 i
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is asking motorists to look out for vulnerable turtles on our roadways. Road surfaces provide an attractive source of warmth for these cold-blooded reptiles, particularly in the spring and early summer. During this time, turtles are mating and nesting; in late summer and early fall, newly hatched turtles are travelling from their nests to nearby wetlands. The Nature Conservatory of Canada has an informative video and tips for safely moving turtles. Watch the video and read the tips here.
Here are some things to think about around Fire Safety at the cottage: Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are present and working. Have a list of local emergency numbers posted for all to see. Include all pertinent cottage location information. Have the right fire extinguishers in the right places. Have an individual fire plan for evacuation. Make sure your plan has two escape routes. Respect local fire ratings. Have a fire pump and use it regularly to ensure it is in good working order. At the very least have a list of neighbours to call for assistance. Follow your association’s emergency plan if it exists. Make sure you have insurance. Make sure you understand what it covers and that it is adequate to rebuild and covers contents AND fire de
The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario has just released a useful guide on how to how we can all reduce our environmental footprints. Being a Guardian of the Bay also means doing what we can to reduce our individual consumption of carbon based fuels. - Here is a very good fact sheet and here is a full presentation on this topic. -
What’s your name and what’s your connection to Georgian Bay? Cory Kozmik, Anthony Laforge, Samantha Noganosh, Chevaun Toulouse. We are the Lands and Resource Department for Magnetawan First Nation, in Britt, Ontario. - Source: Magnetawan First Nation Our connection to the Bay is the dense biodiversity that it hosts and the role its ecology plays in our lives, including the environment. It is also where ancestors of the Anishinabek Nation walked and practiced each day what it means to live with the land in reciprocity. The connection to the land and water is sacred to the Anishinaabe culture, and held very close to the communities that inhabit the area. - Why is being a Guardian of the Bay important to you? We take great pride in being “Guardians” because it is our
Large wakes continue to be a bone of contention. They cause damage to docks and shorelines and can be very disruptive to cottagers enjoyment of their docks. What can be done? The occasional disruption and damage caused by excessive wakes are an ongoing source of irritation between boaters and cottagers. Boaters are responsible for their wakes and any damage caused by them. But the OPP tells us that damage caused by wakes is a civil issue. And so what you need to do is be able to identify the vessel and the operator and pursue the matter in small claims court if a reasonable result can’t be agreed upon between the parties on their own. However, if a boater is observed to be operating their vessel in a dangerous or careless way then the OPP should be called. They ideally would like t
This past summer there seemed to be a search & rescue operation happening and it left many cottagers confused about what was going on. The questions were about what to do in a situation like that - where to get information, and potentially how to help. When involved in a current investigation the OPP generally will not disseminate info through the media. They most often feel they have the resources to adequately conduct a search. Note that, if the OPP does ask the public for assistance, they are civilly liable if a member of the public gets injured while searching, and so tend not to involve the public. If the OPP is not successful then they will ask the public for assistance through media channels. If people have questions they can call the OPP non emergency ( 1 800-310-1122 ) num
My name is Eileen Maynard; I am 10 years old and the eldest of the 5th generation in my family at our cottage in Cognashene, part of the Georgian Bay Archipelago. Georgian Bay is so special to me. It is where I spend my summers and any weekend we can get free of our crazy life in the city. In the summer you can go swimming and tubing or out to islands for picnics. In the fall, it is so pretty with all of the colorful leaves and trees and a great time to go for a walk on Beausoleil Island. Being a Guardian of the Bay is important to me because Georgian Bay is vital to us and the animals around us. Being a Guardian of the Bay is a responsibility that we all have for keeping it healthy for the next 5 generations. Last year, with my grandfather, I applied for and was accepted as a vo
Sticking it to Garbage Along the Shoreline What’s your name and what’s your connection to Georgian Bay? My name’s Chloe Drayton and I’ve been going to Georgian Bay with my family since I was born - I’m only 7! It’s a nice, peaceful place and it’s nice to go swimming, look for turtles, go exploring on the rocks along the shore and spend time with my family. - Why is being a Guardian of the Bay important to you? Because I want to help all the animals and plants in nature and because it’s nicer to enjoy the cottage when there isn’t garbage lying around. I also want to enjoy Georgian Bay for a long, long time so we have to keep it nice and clean. - What’s your story that helps to show your Guardian of the Bay values? Every year we walk around the shoreline of ou
Go Wild and Protect the Bay What is your connection to Georgian Bay? I came from a family of campers. We didn’t have a cottage. This was back in the 1960s and early 70s and Killbear Provincial Park was one of my favourite campgrounds. It’s where I saw my first rattlesnake and caught my first smallmouth bass. I was introduced to the South Channel in the early 1980s when my wife, Beth, invited me to her family cottage. We bought our own property in the late 90s and have made the annual trek from Alberta to Georgian Bay every year since. - Why is being a Guardian of the Bay important to you? I believe that an individual’s actions are as important as government regulations for protecting Georgian Bay. We are the guardians of our property’s ecological health. Collectively, Guardi
Don’t Let Them Catch a Ride is part of Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program see www.invadingspecies.com. In partnership with the Federation of Anglers and Hunters, the Federation of Ontario Cottagers Federation (FOCA) created a new aquatic invasive species sign for outdoor installation at marinas and boat launching sites. Signs are available to all FOCA members including Georgian Bay cottagers’ associations.
Do you know what your boat insurance covers? I just found out that mine doesn’t cover environmental damage/clean up charges. If there is damage done to the environment from your boat in any way ( spills or collisions or whatever ), the government, whether they clean it up or bring in a private contractor, will bill the owner of each boat involved. Under the Marine Liability Act the responsibility for costs associated with spill clean up resides strictly with vessel owners. And that can be expensive. My wake up call about environmental coverage serves as a reminder that it is a good thing to review the coverage you have on your boat. The following are some of the points you might want to consider. But remember these are general points only. You must discuss and confirm you have the
Summer 2015 Early in the summer we had David Sweetnam from Georgian Bay Forever give a presentation on Phragmites to our community. We advertised through our webpage, newsletter and madmail. 14 people participated including 2 children. Overall the presentation was received well and opened a few eyes to the concern with Phragmites. All attending signed up for the Phrag email and were ready to go out and locate any unmapped locations and then ready for the word to cut in early August.I talked with a group of 16 sailing school students outlining our concern and initiated a contest in that anyone finding a new location of Phrag in the bay would receive a gift card. I did show them some Phragmites, invasive and natural and also indicated an area where they might find some not yet m