Temperatures this past week in the Great Lakes basin were unseasonably warm. Water levels continue to be well above average and near record high levels, but all the lakes are continuing their seasonal declines. Lake Michigan-Huron continues to be below the level it was at this time last year – see first graph below. All the lakes are now lower than they were at this time last year. From a month ago the water levels on Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St Clair, Erie & Ontario are down 3, 1, 4, 3 & 4 inches respectively. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie & Ontario, are lower by 4, 2, 3, 2 & 17 inches, respectively, than they were at this time last year. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St Clair, Erie & Ontario are 9, 31, 27, 24 &
GBA has added their voice to comments submitted to the Ontario government on the proposed Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) project list spearheaded by the Canadian Environmental Law Association. This list inappropriately restricts the application of Comprehensive Environmental Assessments to a relatively small number of major infrastructure projects and, amongst other shortcomings, does not include any objective, persuasive, or evidence-based justification on why the selected projects are on this list in the first place. See the GBA submission here. -
GBA joined the Green Budget Coalition in calling for non-partisan support for a sufficient budget to protect 25% of both lands and inland waters and coastal waters by 2025, and 30% by 2030. GBA's submission can be found here: Protected Areas in Canada GBA submission Nov 7 2020 - Twenty-five of Canada’s largest environmental and conservation organizations form the Green Budget Coalition. Together, these groups have more than a million members and supporters, and decades of experience solving Canada’s biggest environmental challenges. The Green Budget Coalition's report Recommendations for Recovery and Budget Actions in 2020-2021 can be found here. -
A new report by the International Joint Commission (IJC) examines seven of the biggest stressors currently plaguing the Great Lakes to learn how they interact to affect the health of the lakes. An Evaluation of Stressor Interactions in the Great Lakes looks at fish harvest, habitat loss, nutrients, pathogens, climate change, invasive species and toxic chemicals and the compounding effect these problems can have. One of the key stressor combinations identified in the report is the interaction of climate change with nutrient pollution resulting in increased algae blooms. GBA attended this webinar and had a follow up meeting with the IJC at which we asked them to research how stressors caused by open net pen aquaculture in Lake Huron could be causing negative interactions with other stressor
Temperatures this past week in the Great Lakes basin were unseasonably warm. For the upcoming week, temperatures will be more seasonable across the basin, and the next large system will move into the region Saturday night into Sunday, bringing widespread precipitation to the basin. Water levels continue to be well above average and near or above record high levels, but all the lakes are continuing their seasonal declines. Lake Michigan-Huron continues to be below the level it was at this time last year – see first graph below. All the lakes are now either the same as, or lower than, they were at this time last year. From a month ago the water levels on Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St Clair, Erie & Ontario are down 1, 2, 4, 2 & 4 inches respectively. Lakes Super
An innovative Canadian business is helping to cull the invasive Asian carp in a unique way. Wilder Harrier, based in Montreal, is an ethical pet food company that uses non-traditional ingredients in its products. The company plans to import 50 to 100 tons of Asian carp over the next year from fishers in the Illinois River Basin to produce an easily digestible food for dogs. The new dog food has been tested and is now sold in pet supply stores in the province of Quebec and will be available in the rest of Canada at the beginning of 2021. Read more here.
Parry Sound-Muskoka's MPP has added his support to the Archipelago, Georgian Bay Forever (GBF) and GBA in calling for ban on unencapsulated dock foam. Norm Miller has introduced the Keeping Polystyrene Out of Ontario's Lakes and Rivers Act at Queen's Park. This private member’s bill is designed to reduce polystyrene pollution by requiring any foam used in the construction of docks and rafts to be fully encapsulated. - GBA has been working with Georgian Bay Forever on their say no to dock foam committee and this support from Norm Miller is a welcome move forward towards a ban on the use of unencapsulated dock foam for new docks or repairs. Read more here. -
Francis Pegahmagabow, whose First Nation name was Binaaswi (The Wind), was a decorated war hero who called both the Wasauksing and Shawanaga First Nations home. Among the many books inspired by or written about him is Three-Day Road, by Joseph Boyden, and Sounding Thunder, by Brian D. McInnes. - Francis Pegahmagabow is one of eight finalists, selected from a list of 600 eligible candidates, in consideration to be featured on the new $5 bill. Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, will announce the new face of the $5 bill early in the new year. - Read more about Francis Pegahmagabow's life here.
For the month of October, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron has received approximately 20% above average precipitation. Water levels continue to be well above average and near or above record high levels, but all the lakes are continuing their seasonal declines. Lake Michigan-Huron continues to be below the level it was at this time last year – see first graph below. All the lakes are now either the same as, or lower than, they were at this time last year. From a month ago the water levels on Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St Clair, Erie & Ontario are down 3, 3, 4, 3 & 5 inches respectively. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie & Ontario, are lower by 6, 3, 4, 1 & 18 inches, respectively, than they were at this time last year. Lakes Superio
For the month of October, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron has received approximately 20% above average precipitation. Water levels continue to be well above average and near or above record high levels, but all the lakes are continuing their seasonal declines. Lake Michigan-Huron continues to be below the level it was at this time last year – see first graph below. All the lakes are now either the same as, or lower than, they were at this time last year. - From a month ago the water levels on Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St Clair, Erie & Ontario are down 2, 2, 2, 2 & 4 inches respectively. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie & Ontario, are lower by 6, 1, 2, 0 & 15 inches, respectively, than they were at this time last year. Lakes Superi
The Georgian Bay Biosphere, has dropped the word “Reserve” from its name and adopted a bilingual Anishinabemowin (the Ojibway language) place name: Mnidoo Gamii – Spirit of the Water. The UNESCO designated Georgian Bay Biosphere area stretches 200 km along the eastern coast of Georgian Bay and includes territory of at least nine First Nations. Read about how GBB made this choice here.
It would be difficult to find any other scientist who has done more to protect the ecology of Georgian Bay than Karl Schiefer. His professional expertise was immensely valuable to GBA and other Georgian Bay organizations over the years. Karl passed away on September 17, 2019 and his family had hoped to have a celebration of his life in the spring. In lieu of this, Karl's family has put together an online celebration. Please find the tribute to his life here. - Karl delivered a four-part presentation at the GBA 100th Anniversary event in 2016. Entitled Unique Ecosystems of Georgian Bay, these videos exemplify his passion for the Bay. - Unique Ecosystems of Georgian Bay Part 1 - Physical Environment Unique Ecosystems of Georgian Bay Part 2 - Chemical and Biological Unique Ec
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All indications are that water levels are going to be up sharply again this year. GBA is providing timely and accurate information on current and projected water levels and will work with members and municipalities to share information on mitigation measures. Some septic systems, docks and low-lying structures are expected to be severely impacted.Learn more about this priority >>
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