Working with our water-based communities and other stakeholders to ensure the careful stewardship of the greater Georgian Bay environment.
From a month ago water levels on Lake Michigan-Huron are unchanged, Lakes Superior, St. Clair, and Erie are 4, 1 & 2 inches lower respectively, and Lake Ontario is up 2 inches. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are 1, 16, 9, 4 and 17 inches, respectively, above their levels of a year ago. In a month’s time all the Lakes are projected to be 3 to 4 inches lower. - Outflows from Lake Superior into the St. Mary’s River and Lake Michigan-Huron’s outflow into the St. Clair River are predicted to be above average for November. Lake St. Clair’s outflow through the Detroit River and Lake Erie’s outflow through the Niagara River are also forecasted to be above average in November. In addition, Lake Ontario’s outflow through the St. Lawrence
Warmer water temperatures are reducing the effectiveness of the chemical 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol (TFM) to fight sea lamprey. TFM has been applied to streams since 1980 at an annual cost of over US $20 million and does not impact other aquatic life. Given that sea lampreys are probably the greatest threat to native fish species if uncontrolled, this is a major problem. GBA is currently monitoring the issue. Read more about the situation here. -
From a month ago, water levels on Lake Ontario are unchanged and Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 1, 1, 4 & 4 inches lower respectively. The lakes are 2 to 18 inches higher than they were at this time last year. In a month’s time, Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair and Erie are projected to be 2 to 3 inches lower, while Lake Ontario is forecasted to fall 5 inches. Outflows from Lake Superior into the St. Mary’s River and Lake Michigan-Huron’s outflow into the St. Clair River are predicted to be above average for November. Lake St. Clair’s outflow through the Detroit River and Lake Erie’s outflow through the Niagara River are also forecasted to be above average in November. In addition, Lake Ontario’s outflow through the St. Lawrence River is
A conflict surrounding a proposed gravel pit development and a densely populated habitat for Blanding's turtles could be a major test of species protection in Ontario. This precious habitat for the endangered species is located in the township of North Shore on the North Channel of Lake Huron as noted on the map. The North Shore's municipal council is expected to approve rezoning of the area for mineral extraction. If approved, it will then be up to the province to make a decision between development or species protection. Read more about the situation here. GBA recently expressed concerns on the Provincial Policy Statement Review with regard to the removal of environmental safeguards in favour of new aggregate developments. Read the GBA submission here.
Bi-partisan support and the efforts of Georgian Bay Great Lakes Foundation (GBGLF) helped with the recent approval of U.S. federal government funding of $1 million to establish a grass carp population management program in the Great Lakes. Grass carp are one of the four invasive species know collectively as Asian carp, and are notorious for their voracious appetites. Read more about the program here.
The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) sets out details for Ontario's land use and planning. The revisions proposed by the Ontario government included several reductions in environmental protections in favour of development and business interests. GBA therefore submitted comments on a range of topics including aggregates extraction, wetlands protection, climate change directives, sewage systems, and flexibility for municipalities to address local planning issues. See the GBA submission here: GBA online ERO submission 019-0279 PPS Oct 21 2019
On October 25, 2019, the Ontario government announced it will not impose any municipal realignment in the province, but instead will work with municipalities to improve their effectiveness and efficiency. GBA is posting this update on the status of the municipal review issue and on GBA’s actions relating to municipal structures on the east coast of the Bay since the government’s initial announcement of its review last year. Also posted are several reports and papers issued over the years since GBA’s first involvement with the issue more than 40 years ago. See: https://georgianbay.ca/government-affairs/municipal-structure-and-protecting-the-coast/
From a month ago water levels on Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are the same, Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 3, 4, and 4 inches lower respectively. The lakes are 4 to 18 inches higher than they were at this time last year. Over the next month Lake Ontario is expected to be unchanged, and Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair and Erie are projected to each decline 3, 2, 4, and 3 inches, respectively. Outflow from Lake Superior into the St. Mary’s River is forecasted to be above average for November. Lake Michigan-Huron’s outflow through the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair’s outflow through the Detroit River are also projected to be above average in November. Moreover, Lake Erie’s outflow through the Niagara River and Lake Ontario’s outflow through the St. Lawr
The recent issue of GBA Update (Vol. 29 No. 3, Fall 2019) contained outdated events from our sister organization Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve (GBBR) on page 14. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused to GBBR or our readers. The following list contains the most up to date GBBR Events that you can attend: Films that Make You Think: Albatross Tuesday November 11, 7pm Museum on Tower Hill Suggested donation $10 State of the Bay Conference November 19, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Stockey Centre, 2 Bay Street Parry Sound, Ontario Canada Annual General Meeting November 19, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Stockey Centre, 2 Bay Street Parry Sound, Ontario Canada Climate Changes Everything: Food for Thought November 21, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Mary Street C
On Saturday October 19th Georgian Bay Association (GBA) and Georgian Bay Forever (GBF) jointly hosted H20 2019 at Ryerson University. Over 100 people came out to the event and were treated to a plethora of topical information delivered by our dynamic speakers. The presentations provided many great takeaways on: climate change impacts on high water levels and water quality; municipal overflows and other climate change impacts on municipal structures; the state of private septic systems in Ontario and Georgian Bay and how to look after yours; the current status of the seasonal hydro rate class and background to electricity pricing; the ins and outs of solar systems for your cottages; and the financial and environmental advantages of switching to an electric car. The pr
The proposed Macey Bay trailer park, located off Honey Harbour Road in the Township of Georgian Bay, is in the midst of some significant and ecologically important Georgian Bay wetlands and extensive habitat for species at risk. GBA has made a submission under the Environmental Bill of Rights that addresses each of the components of the project, together with some general comments. Read the GBA submission here: GBA response to MECP on ER posting Oct 12 2019
New York State has finally launched their long threatened lawsuit against the International Joint Commission (IJC) claiming that the IJC has caused the flooding there in recent years (read the rationale behind the lawsuit here). However the science does not appear to support their contentions. GBA has worked closely with the IJC for most of our 103 year history and we value our strong relationship with them. Our interpretation of the science is that precipitation levels and evaporation are the main drivers of changing water levels. Almost all evaporation occurs in the cold months whenever there is little or no ice cover, and the water temperature is higher than the air temperature. Flow rates between the lakes and down the St Lawrence have a limited impact, which is particularly apparen
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