Water levels continue to be well above average and near record high levels. From a month ago the water level on Lakes Superior is unchanged, but Lakes Michigan-Huron, St Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 3, 4, 6 and 3 inches higher, respectively. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie & Ontario are 4, 20, 21, 8 & 8 inches higher respectively than they were at this time last year, and 15, 39, 37, 32 & 20 inches, respectively above their long term January average. Lake Michigan-Huron is currently 5 inches higher than its previous record high for January and is the only lake that currently exceeds its previous record high for January. In a month’s time, the levels of Lakes Superior, and Michigan Huron are expected to be down by 3 and 1 inches, re
Please be careful out on the ice and check with local information sources before attempting any ice surface travel. If you must travel on the current ice surface conditions, it is strongly recommended that you: wear proper survival clothing/suit; take a fully charged cell phone with you; and tell a friend, neighbour or family member of your destination. Further safety suggestions from the Red Cross can be found here. When ice forms early it may look safe but it is likely not yet thick, strong or stable enough to support much weight. Adhering to land-based Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) prescribed trails whenever possible offers the safest snowmobile terrain. The OFSC provide many trail suggestions that avoid water crossings altogether as well as bridges and culverts to p
Safe Quiet Lakes (SQL) is looking for support to restrict excessive boat noise on Canadian waterways. This SQL proposal would mirror successful legislation in place in the EU and the US, which places limits on the decibel levels emitted from boat engines in order to curb excessive noise. - GBA supports this initiative and will assist SQL, garner support, and provide updates as this project moves forward. - For summary details, please see: Safe Quiet Lakes Decibel Project - -
Premier Doug Ford, along with Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure, and Norm Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka, were in Parry Sound last week to announce a $200 million investment in rural community infrastructure. $5.8 million will be dispersed throughout 26 municipalities within Parry Sound-Muskoka. Although this is good news for our coastal municipalities, climate change activists protesting at the announcement made some valid points, some consistent with recent GBA submissions to the Ontario government. Read more about the announcement and the protest here. - Details of the funding and allocations for the Parry Sound-Muskoka area can be found here. Allocations for Manitoulin and North Channel areas can be found here. -
Water levels continue to be well above average and near record high levels. From a month ago the water level on Lakes Superior is down 1 inch, Lake Erie, St Clair and Ontario are 6, 7, and 1 inches higher, respectively, and Lake Michigan-Huron is unchanged. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie & Ontario are 3, 18, 16, 8 & 9 inches higher respectively than they were at this time last year, and 15, 37, 41, 32 & 19 inches, respectively above their long term January average. In a month’s time, the levels of Lakes Superior, Michigan Huron and St. Clair are expected to be down by 3, 1 and 4 inches, respectively, Lake Erie is expected to be unchanged and Lake Ontario is expected to increase by 4 inches. - Outflows from Lake Superior into the St
According to scientists harmful algae blooms (HAB) are on the rise and they are lasting longer and getting larger. These blooms are increasingly linked to a combination of agricultural nutrients making their way into the water and warming temperatures. This supports GBA’s position that the Ontario Government should not be increasing the risk of HAB occurrences in Georgian Bay and the North Channel of Lake Huron by allowing the open net pen aquaculture industry to expand as they intend. The controls in place for farms on the release of nutrients that can cause algae outbreaks are not being applied to these fish farms. Two fish farm sites have already been closed due to pollution, at La Cloche Channel and Grassy Narrows, and a third at Lake Wolsey has caused annual toxic algae outbreaks an
The Canadian Coast Guard's annual icebreaking season on the Great Lakes is underway. On the Great Lakes, icebreaking services are provided by the Canadian Coast Guard and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) working together as one team. Last season alone, both Coast Guards directly assisted 522 ship transits on the Great Lakes. These services are critical to keeping the Canadian economy moving, and facilitating trade on our shared waters year round. Although the St. Lawrence Seaway, Welland Canal and Sault Ste. Marie Locks are closed during the winter months, shipping is still active on the Great Lakes. The Canadian Coast Guard has two icebreakers assigned to the Great Lakes for the entire winter season: the CCGS Griffon and CCGS Samuel Risley. They are also supported by additional Coa
An approaching winter storm will impact the region this weekend with a significant amount of precipitation expected. - Water levels continue to be well above average and near record high levels. From a month ago the water level on Lakes Superior is down 1 inch, Lake Erie and St Clair are 2 inches higher and Lakes Michigan-Huron and Ontario are unchanged. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie & Ontario are 3, 17, 9, 4 & 7 inches higher respectively than they were at this time last year, and 16, 37, 33, 28 & 16 inches, respectively above their long term January average. In a month’s time, the levels of Lakes Superior and Michigan Huron are expected to be down by 3 and 1 inches, respectively, Lake Erie is expected to be unchanged and Lakes St. Cl
John Hansuld, former president of the Bayfield Nares Islanders Association and councilor for Ward 2 in the Township of the Archipelago, passed away on November 26, 2019. John served three terms on council after retiring from a storied career the mining industry. He served as a great resource and a great friend to the GBA. Read more about John's life and work here.
Gord Walker worked tirelessly on the International Joint Commission (IJC) for four years as a Commissioner in the 90’s and more recently five years as Canadian Chair. As a long standing Cognashene cottager, Gord has a deep understanding of Georgian Bay issues and continues to be of invaluable help to GBA and others. Noting his seven year tenure as an Ontario government minister, the Member of the Order citation read: Gordon W. Walker, Toronto. For his civil service as a parliamentarian and for his commitment to protecting transboundary waters between Canada and the United States. This award is richly deserved.
Unseasonably warm temperatures have continued throughout the basin, but are expected to return to normal ranges shortly. Precipitation in the Great Lakes basin was close to average levels in December. - Water levels continue to be well above average and near record high levels. From a month ago water levels on Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron and St Clair, are down 1- 2 inches, Lake Ontario is unchanged, and Lake Erie is up 1 inch. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie & Ontario are 3, 16, 5, 3 & 9 inches higher respectively than they were at this time last year, and 15, 37, 31, 27 & 17 inches, respectively above their long term January average. In a month’s time, the levels of Lakes Superior and Michigan Huron are expected to be down by 3 and 1 inches, re
There have been unseasonably warm temperatures over the last week throughout the basin. - Water levels continue to be well above average and near record high levels. From a month ago water levels on Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, are down 4 & 1, inches respectively, Lake Ontario is unchanged, and Lakes St. Clair & Erie are up 1 to 2 inches. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie & Ontario are 2, 16, 8, 3 & 10 inches higher respectively than they were at this time last year, and 11, 35, 30, 27 & 19 inches, respectively above their long term December average. In a month’s time, the levels of Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to continue their seasonal decline, while Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are forecast to be 1 to 2 inch
What’s your name and what’s your connection to Georgian Bay? Sheila Williams and I (Celesta Bjornson) are the co-presidents of the Bay of Islands Association (BICA) and have been enjoying our summers in the Bay of Islands since we were toddlers. My family is from Pittsburgh and we originally found the Bay of Islands in the 1950s by vacationing at a fishing lodge called Moredolpton Lodge. Sheila's family is one of the founding families of the Bay of Islands. Her grandfather discovered the Bay of Islands in early 1900s while working on the lakers, travelling from southern Georgian Bay to the North Channel, transporting lumber back south. He fell in love with the area and purchased an island around 1924 and began building a cottage. Why is being a Guardian of the Bay important to yo
Luc Voorn is a cottager in the South Channel and a passionate advocate for Georgian Bay. He currently serves as the Membership Chairperson for the South Channel Association (SCA), Editor of the SCA “On the Waterfront” newsletter, and as Director, Friends of the Massasauga Park. This past summer (2019), he was nominated as a Guardian of Georgian Bay for his ongoing enthusiasm and efforts to protect and preserve the Bay. Note from Jamie Drayton, GBA Chair of Guardians of Georgian Bay Committee My Dad used to take us camping. His lure to get us to bathe was to promise us ice cream if we ran into the water first thing in the morning for a swim. I recall the water being absolutely freezing at 7 o’clock in the morning… I don’t recall ever getting any ice cream. A few years l
Boating in the fall offers colourful views, solitude and excellent fishing. It is a truly great time to be on the water. But fall boating also requires extra attention to detail and the ability to be self-sufficient given that there are fewer boaters around should you require assistance. Here are some helpful tips from the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and the Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters to make fall boating safer for you. Check the weather forecast. The weather can change quickly and storms can be more violent. Fog is also more common. Ensure that your boat and engine are in good working order. Ethanol-based fuel can allow water contamination in the tank. The use of a fuel additive prevents water in the fuel line from freezing. Having a backup gas tank onboa
As nominated by Heather Sargeant My Phragbuster Hero About 5 or 6 years ago, at an event jointly put on by the Georgian Bay Association, Georgian Bay Forever, and featuring Dr. Gilbert, an ecologist with Phragmites expertise , I first learned about invasive Phragmites and the harm it can have on wetlands. I decided to investigate if Phragmites was a threat in Woods Bay (my favourite area of Georgian Bay), and that’s when my journey tackling this plant began. I wasn’t sure if a plant across from the family cottage was indeed the invasive type, and so I was nervous and queasy about leading people to help me cut it. What if it was the native plant, and I’d taken all these people out to cut down something benign? One of my neighbors told me there was a hero on Georgian
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