Working with our water-based communities and other stakeholders to ensure the careful stewardship of the greater Georgian Bay environment.
GBA continues to closely monitor the impacts on water quality from the fish farm operation at Lake Wolsey, an embayment of the North Channel on the north coast of Manitoulin island. We received photographs taken on the August Civic Holiday weekend by a local resident of the nasty blankets of algae in this bay, which prohibited normal enjoyment and impacted the safety of the waters. View the photos here: Algae on Lake Wolsey The same embayment has had annual toxic blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) outbreaks as seen in the photo. These outbreaks pose a threat to humans, wildlife and pets. Public Health warnings are issued when this occurs. There appears to be a rise in dog deaths in North America from ingesting water containing cyanobacteria. Read more about it here.
High water levels are expected to continue on the Great Lakes despite the fact that all of the lake are expected to decline over the next month. Lakes St. Clair and Erie are 2 and 3 inches, respectively, above their highest monthly average August levels. Lake Ontario is 4 inches below its highest monthly average August level. All of the Great Lakes are forecasted to decline over the next month as follows: Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario by 2, 3, 5, 6, and 12 inches, respectively. Lake Superior’s outflow through the St. Marys River and the Lake Michigan-Huron’s outflow through the St. Clair River are predicted to be above average for August. Outflows from Lake St. Clair through the Detroit River, and outflows from Lake Erie into the Niagara River, are als
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has directed Hydro One to eliminate the seasonal rate class affecting secondary and seasonal use properties, but Hydro One is recommending an alternative approach - read about it here. Eliminating the seasonal rate class means that the majority of current seasonal rate customers would be reclassified into one of two other rate categories depending on their location: R1 class for properties located in medium density areas, or R2 class for properties in low density areas. Customers moving to the R1 class would see a slight decrease in their monthly distribution charges because R1 designates an area of higher population and concentration and is therefore easier to service. These customers would see a decrease in their annual hydro bills estimated at $7 - $9 p
A $2.2 million investment from the federal government is ensuring that rural communities in the Parry Sound area will receive new or improved high-speed internet connectivity. Read more about the program and which communities will benefit here.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has just announced 26,514 acres, or approximately 60 percent of Cockburn Island, just west of Manitoulin Island, have been protected. The island contains hardwood forest, wetlands and inland lakes that provide habitats and migratory stops for a wide variety of plants and animals. Read more about the acquisition and the island’s ecological significance here.
Although Great Lakes water levels are beginning their seasonal declines, they remain near record high levels. Over the last month Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie have declined 2 to 4 inches, Lake Superior is unchanged and Lake Ontario has declined by 10 inches. The projected net change in levels over the next month show water levels declining by 2 inches on Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron, by 5 to 6 inches on Lakes St. Clair and Erie, and by 12 inches on Lake Ontario. Lake Superior’s outflow through the St. Mary’s River and the Lake Michigan-Huron’s outflow through the St. Clair River are predicted to be above average for August. Outflows from Lake St. Clair through the Detroit River, and outflows from Lake Erie outflow into the Niagara River, are also projected to be
UPDATE: The Wasauksing Swing Bridge is now back up and running. Further to the article below, the bridge is now operating on it's regular schedule. Wasauksing Swing Bridge Is Currently Unable To Open To Traffic The historic Wasauksing Swing Bridge to Parry Island is currently stuck in road traffic-only position. Large sailboats, the Island Queen and all other vessels that require the bridge to open for them will not be able to use the south channel around Parry Island from Parry Sound until the problem is fixed. Read more about the issue here. For the latest updates on the bridge, check the Government of Canada website.
Water levels across the Great Lakes remain high. Lake St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are forecasted to exceed their highest recorded monthly average for August by 2 to 5 inches, Lake Superior is projected to meet its record, and Lake Michigan-Huron will be 2 inches below its record. Lake levels exceed last year by 8 to 15 inches on all lakes except for Lake Ontario, which is 27 inches above. The forecasted levels for September 9th for Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are 1, 2, 4, 6 and 12 inches, respectively, below their current levels, in accordance with the usual seasonal declines. Outflows from all lakes: Lake Superior’s through the St. Mary’s River, Lake Michigan-Huron’s through the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair through the Detroit River, Lake Erie
With support from the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, municipalities around Georgian Bay have signed onto the Partners for Climate Protection program (PCP) to work toward the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at the local level. Read more about the initiative here.
[caption id="attachment_8553" align="alignleft" width="188"] Enjoying ice cream on Craganmor docks[/caption] https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/great-lakes-water-problems-1.
The Great Lakes basin precipitation was 17% below average in July, the first month since March that the Great Lakes experienced below average precipitation. The water levels of the Great Lakes continue to be considerably above average. Lakes Superior, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are above their record high August monthly mean levels by 1 to 6 inches, while Lake Michigan-Huron is 2 inches shy of its record high August monthly mean. The Great Lakes are either nearing their seasonal peaks or have already started their seasonal decline. Lakes Michigan-Huron, Erie, and Ontario are 1, 3, and 7 inches respectively, below their levels of a month ago. Lake Superior’s level is an inch above what it was a month ago, whereas Lake St. Clair is near its level of a month ago. Looking a month into th
Intuitively we know how valuable our Georgian Bay environment is, but this report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) places a dollar value on all nature and biodiversity. This should help frame how governments make decisions on environmental protections and the need to strengthen them. Read more about the economics of nature here.
As nominated by Heather Sargent 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 B
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