Sturgeon Bay Water Quality
Environment - Water

Sturgeon Bay Water Quality

The purpose of this memo is to provide an update on the state of activities that are being undertaken to understand and monitor the issue in Sturgeon Bay and indeed, along the entire eastern coast of Georgian Bay. Specifically, ongoing research and monitoring has occurred on eastern Georgian Bay that has increased our understanding of this complicated and diverse coastline.

At September’s Committee and Council meeting (September 22, 2017) Council again affirmed its position that no new data has come forward to cause them to amend their position that a viable remediation option does not exist but that support of monitoring and research should continue.

As you are no doubt aware, Sturgeon Bay has had algae blooms throughout both the north and the south basin. The blooms in the north have been determined to consist of Cyanobacteria (Blue-Green algae) and as a result the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit has issued its standard Health Advisory.  We understand that while this year appears to have been a ‘bad’ year for algae, that algae blooms have been present pretty much annually. This year may have been worse because of weather conditions; increased rain resulting in increased nutrients to the surface waters of Sturgeon Bay.

The work undertaken on Sturgeon Bay, first to understand the issue and then to determine if a remediation option was viable provided a good foundation of knowledge on increased nutrient dynamics in more enclosed embayments of eastern Georgian Bay. When Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) announced its Lake Simcoe and Eastern Georgian Bay Clean Up Fund, considerably more attention was brought to eastern Georgian Bay to better understand what was happening and why?

Over the past 5 years the following has occurred to support our understanding of Sturgeon Bay:

- ECCC funded research exploring the dynamics of the near shore embayments of eastern Georgian Bay;
- Stewardship assessments (Love your Bay) determining that there are opportunities for improved shoreline stewardship to
  mitigate further introductions of nutrients to Sturgeon Bay;
- Ongoing water quality monitoring guided by Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve and undertaken by volunteers;
- Ongoing work to monitor algae in partnership with ECCC.

You can find a summary of the ECCC funded research at Lake Simcoe South‐Eastern Georgian Bay Clean Up Fund 2012‐2017It is a broad review that encompasses a diverse range of work ranging from government and university-lead science to community group work such as that lead by GBBR. It also summarizes work done beyond eastern Georgian Bay in Nottawasaga (another focus area of the Clean Up Fund).

Historical Reports: Sturgeon Bay Project

2008 Gartner Lee Study Final Reports:

  Phase 1
  Phase 2
  Phase 3

Water Sampling in North Basin of Sturgeon Bay – Schiefer, 2008

Evaluating Remedial Strategies to Control Bluegreen Algal Blooms – Gartner Lee, 2007

Sturgeon Bay Action Group, 2005

Phoslock Application:

Environment Canada's Position on Phoslock Application (Aug 2014)

DFO Regarding Sturgeon Bay Phoslock Application

Sturgeon Bay Phoslock Proposal - Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Response

Sturgeon Bay Phoslock Application MNR - Next Steps