- Coastal Protection
- Planning Issues
We all want to protect our properties as best we can over the long winter, but if you use or are considering installing a bubbler to prevent ice damage, there are some import issues to consider. Bubblers are a type of de-icing system that prevent ice from forming around waterfront structures by creating zones of agitated and warmer water. Without careful planning, management and consideration of the nature of your waterfront area, your bubbler can de-ice a significantly larger portion of the water than is necessary to protect your property creating large areas of open water. Legal Implications There is no law against using a bubbler, but Section 263 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada (Duty to safeguard opening in ice) is very clear that those who make or cause to be made
Lake Michigan-Huron continues to be below the level it was at this time last year – see first graph below. - From a month ago the water levels on Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St Clair, & Erie are down 0, 2, 5, & 3 inches respectively, and Lake Ontario is up 1 inch. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St Clair, Erie & Ontario are lower by 8, 13, 15 & 17 inches respectively, and Lakes Superior is up 9 inches, than they were at this time last year. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St Clair, Erie & are 4, 5, 6, & 7 inches above, respectively, and Lake Ontario is 5 inches below, their long term November average. All the lakes remain well below their November record highs. - In a month’s time Lakes Superior & Michigan-Huron are all expected
Yet again the Ford government has tried to stifle public comment on a wide-ranging and impactful Bill by providing a ridiculously short timeline, and an extremely complicated process, for public comment. Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, will significantly undermine environmental protections and remove safeguards in the planning approval process, such as making it more challenging for municipalities to oppose development applications. Nonetheless, GBA, many municipalities, all the relevant NGOs, and others have put together submissions requesting changes to the Bill to preserve vital environmental protections and oppose changes to the planning approval process. Read the GBA submission here. We need your help! The Ford government recently passed Bill 23, however, the consulta
Environment & Climate Change Canada (ECCC) have finally released their long-awaited study on Climate Change impacts in the Great Lakes basin, which includes probability-based projections of potential water levels variability from 2025 to 2095. Great Lakes shoreline municipalities, businesses (particularly marinas), ports, and residents should review this report before making any investments in building or rebuilding structures, proceeding with any shoreline infrastructure, or mitigation/adaptation measures to address extreme high and/or low water levels. The risk of greater extreme highs and lows is significant, with projected water level ranges potentially increasing as follows in each lake: The reasons for the larger potential increase in range for Lake Michigan-Huron are p
Lake Michigan-Huron continues to be below the level it was at this time last year – see first graph below. - From a month ago the water levels on Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St Clair, & Erie are down 0, 2, 1, & 1 inches respectively, and Lake Ontario is up 1 inch. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St Clair, Erie & Ontario are lower by 9, 12, 15 & 18 inches respectively, and Lakes Superior is up 9 inches, than they were at this time last year. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St Clair, Erie & are 5, 5, 8, & 9 inches above, respectively, and Lake Ontario is 5 inches below, their long term November average. All the lakes remain well below their November record highs. - In a month’s time Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St Clair, & Erie ar
Have you or someone you know ever fallen overboard? The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) is looking for boaters who are interested in participating in a study regarding the importance of lifejacket wear in the event of falling overboard and accidental immersion. What was your reaction to this accidental immersion? Were you wearing your lifejacket? What was your attitude towards lifejacket wear before the event? Has it changed your viewpoint? Sharing is learning and by creating a community of interest the CSBC can help boaters across Canada learn from other’s stories and further their efforts to help you stay safe on the water. Get more information and share your stories here.
Every three years the Canadian and American governments set out their priorities under the 10 Annexes of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). GBA is a founding member of the Great Lakes Ecoregion Network (GLEN), which has made a detailed submission on the Annex 10 Science & Action priorities in an effort to hone and strengthen future government action on water quality. GBA was an integral part of the team that provided input on this submission, which can be found here. GLEN was formed in the spring of 2022 to coordinate public input on the GLWQA and GBA will continue to work with GLEN to advocate for Georgian Bay water quality. You can read the government’s draft 2023-2025 Great Lakes Binational Priorities for Science and Action here.
Since arriving in ballast water in the 1980s invasive mussels have literally been sucking the life out of the Great Lakes. Their voracious nutrient filtering has altered the ecology, the food web and is changing the chemical composition of the lakes. Whereas zebra mussels prefer warmer water temperatures and attach to hard surfaces in shallower water, quagga mussels thrive in cooler water and can live deep down on soft, sandy lake-beds. Quagga mussels now number in the quadrillions throughout the Great Lakes, including Georgian Bay. Freshwater ecologists are trying to find ways to control the impacts of these invasives on multiple fronts and are experimenting with pesticides, parasites, physical removal methods and other techniques that may help restore the balance to the Great Lakes.
Members of GBA’s Floating Cottage Strategy Group are highlighting your concerns about the need for appropriate regulation of floating cottages. Citing safety, environmental and licensing concerns, several members of the committee spoke to CBC recently to discuss the need to property regulate pop-up floating cottages. Transport Canada’s designation of floating cottages as “vessels” is a major concern as it exempts these structures from building codes, municipal zoning regulations and taxation. GBA formed the Floating Cottages Strategy Group earlier this year to include local governments, the community, and other stakeholders. We anticipate that the floating cottage issue will require long-term advocacy and a coordinated effort across multiple government agencies to ensure that
So far, November continues to be unusually warm but precipitation is near normal levels. Lake Michigan-Huron continues to be below the level it was at this time last year – see first graph below. - From a month ago the water levels on Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St Clair, Erie & Ontario are down 1, 1, 3, 3 & 1 inches respectively. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St Clair, Erie & Ontario are lower by 8, 12, 16 & 19 inches respectively, and Lakes Superior is up 7 inches, than they were at this time last year. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St Clair, Erie & are 4, 7, 10, & 9 inches above, respectively, and Lake Ontario is 7 inches below, their long term November average. All the lakes remain well below their November record highs. - In a
So far, November has been unusually warm and dry. Lake Michigan-Huron continues to be below the level it was at this time last year – see first graph below. - From a month ago the water levels on Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St Clair, Erie & Ontario are down 2, 2, 6, 4 & 2 inches respectively. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St Clair, Erie & Ontario are lower by 9, 14, 17 & 18 inches respectively, and Lakes Superior is up 6 inches, than they were at this time last year. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St Clair, Erie & are 4, 7, 11, & 10 inches above, respectively, and Lake Ontario is 7 inches below, their long term November average. All the lakes remain well below their November record highs. - In a month’s time Lakes Superior, Mic
On July 5, 2022 Carling Township Council declined a zoning bylaw amendment application that would have allowed a controversial cottage on Morlock Island to stand. The property owner removed the former cottage and built a new cottage without planning permission and without making any attempt to comply with township planning regulations. The owner has appealed this decision to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) and the hearing is on November 8, 2022. GBA, West Carling Association and the Pengally Bay Ratepayers Association have written in support of Carling Township. If the decision is upheld the property owner will have to remove the new cottage. Read GBA’s Letter to the OLT here. The joint letter from West Carling Association and Pengally Bay Ratepayers Association can be found here.
GBA will continue to work with government and non-government agencies in the US and Canada to determine if and how a better job can be done to improve coordination between the different control structures that affect our water levels. The aim is to do the best we can to mitigate and address the impacts of extreme high and low water levels which are expected to worsen if climate change impacts unfold as expected. We will also be surfacing any issues on the accuracy and completeness of water levels data and exploring how water levels data can be enhanced to improve ease of interpretation and better inform decision making including adaption strategies.Learn more about this priority >>
The message from traditional Indigenous teachings is that catch and release is disrespectful to the fish (it can also harm their ability to eat properly after they are released) and one should only fish respectfully, which includes eating the fish we catch. Now it seems there is another reason to question this practice. Some bass are smarter than we might think, learn to avoid lures and can pass that knowledge down through the generations! Who knew! - Read more here. -
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 from October through June offers a very different experience steeped in solitude and excellent fishing. It is a beautiful time to be on the water. But boating during this season 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 off-season 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 f
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