Explore Our Shores Webinar Series
The Georgian Bay Biosphere launched a webinar series this summer in partnership with the Township of the Archipelago! If you missed this series, or want to watch a webinar again, they are available on the Biosphere's YouTube Channel.
Game of Thrones: Septic Health & Best Practices
Learn what every home and cottage owner needs to know about their septic system.
Seeing the Trees & the Forest: Meet Your Forest Pests
We will explore the forest pests currently in the Biosphere and the ones on their way here: Beech Bark Disease, Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, Oak Wilt, and more.
Presented by Barry Davidson and Margaret Scott of Westwind Forest Stewardship.
Birds of the Biosphere
Explore the lives of local birds: what you are most likely to see in eastern Georgian Bay, tips for better birding, identification and bird calls, plus simple ways we can help our feathered friends.
Presented by Kenton Otterbein, Discovery Program Leader at Killbear Provincial Park and Tianna Burke, Conservation Biologist with the Georgian Bay Biosphere.
Managing & Monitoring Muskellunge: A Twenty-Year Retrospective
Arunas Liskauskas takes viewers on a journey across twenty years of study on the infamous muskie in Georgian Bay and the North Channel. What does the past tell us about the future of these great fish?
Arunas Liskauskas is a
management biologist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and
Forestry, Upper Great Lakes Management Unit, Lake Huron Office.
Science Centre which makes all data available online.
2015 Program Report
2014 Program Report
2013 Program Report
2013 Review of Water Quality Results
2012 Program Report
2012 Review of Water Quality Results
2011 Program Report
2011 Review of Water Quality Results
2009 Program Report
2009 Review of Water Quality Results
2008 Program Report
2008 Review of Water Quality Results
2008 Water Quality Survey of Blackstone, Crane, Healey and Kapikog Lakes
2008 Water Quality Survey of Blackstone, Crane, Healey and Kapikog Lakes
To address public concerns about impaired water quality (particularly the presence of algal blooms) and meet commitments to protect ecosystem health under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, Environment and Climate Change Canada initiated the Lake Simcoe South‐Eastern Georgian Bay Cleanup Fund (LSGBCUF) in 2012.
35 research and monitoring projects were funded under the 2012‐2017 LSBGCUF and conducted within the geographic boundary of south‐eastern Georgian Bay.
Calling all Kids in the Biosphere!
- Sign up at www.gbbr.ca/kids-signup to receive your family’s Activity Kit; a reusable bag containing outdoor games, crafts, and a nature notebook.
- GBBR staff will mail your Activity Kit to the address you provide.
- Throughout the summer, check out online Photo Album of everyone’s findings and the Kids in the Biosphere Blog for weekly info on nature’s happenings and answers to your questions.
- Complete activities and keep track on your Summer Scorecard included in the Activity Kit (optional).
- Optional: At the end of the summer, or when you've completed as many activities as possible, email us a picture of your Scorecard. You will be entered to win one of three grand prizes!
Through a partnership with the Township of the Archipelago, Biosphere staff will offer the Kids in the Biosphere program over the next several years.
Families within the Township of the Archipelago register with the program at the beginning of summer and receive a kit with activity instructions and materials. The self-guided activities are designed to last all summer.
Beyond nature observation, the activity kits invite families to conduct science experiments and take actions to help local species at risk. Families can submit photos of their discoveries which are posted on the Biosphere website. Activities are mainly self-guided but there are opportunities for families to interact with Biosphere staff and guest experts.
The success of the pilot program inspired the creation of an activity booklet. The booklet will be available for sale in various retail outlets and is included for families that register for the program. An online blog will share fascinating facts and allow Biosphere staff to answer questions that are submitted.
To support environmental education offered at area summer camps, resorts, and other organizations that work with children, the GBBR offers training workshops for staff that will focus on how to develop and deliver highly successful outdoor education programs that communicate local environmental issues, biodiversity threats and stewardship programs.
To find out more information on the Kids in the Biosphere Program, activity booklet or read our kids blog visit www.gbbr.ca/education/kids.
Township of The Archipelago - Forest Health Documents
Township of The Archipelago Forest Health Update 2015
Township of The Archipelago Forest Health Update 2014
Trees and Forests of the Township of The Archipelago
In order to identify forest pests we need to have a solid understand of what trees and forests types are typically present. Local information about the types of trees and forest conditions can be found in the Township of The Archipelago's Caring For Property document, which outlines 13 Forest Zones with the prefix 'N' assigned to the north half of the Township (Harrison & Shawanaga) and 'S' assigned to the south half (Cowper & Conger). This information is provided to assist residents and cottagers to identify the types of tree species on your property, as well as any associated potential stresses (e.g. pests). This in turn will allow you to make more informed decisions as to whether there are best practices and/or measures you can take to help maintain the health of your trees/forests.Common Forest Concerns Present in The Archipelago
The following pests are known to occur in the Parry Sound-Muskoka area based on confirmed reports.
||Best Practices & Control|
|Beech Bark Disease(BBD)
- A non-native insect-fungus complex caused by the beech scale (Cryptococcus fagisuga) and the canker fungus (Neonectria faginata)
- Adult beech scale are small, oval insects 1 mm long
- Beech scale is recognizable by the white, wooly wax covering on the body which looks like small white fuzz on the bark
- Fungus is red, appears in circular or lemon-shaped cankers
- Cankers often have raised edges and cracks
- Crown die back, dead branches may be early signs
- Usually larger trees in a stand are attacked and show signs first
|- Strong presence in the Archipelago and Baysville areas
- Spread in Blackstone Lake, Crane Lake, Healey Lake
- Extensive damage in Killbear Provincial Park and Wasauksing First Nation
- As of 2012, BBD has spread throughout the majority of Ontario's beech population
- Satellite disease centres (those far from its main range) may be the result of moving firewood from infested sites
|- Cutting down beech trees may be necessary if trees pose a hazard to people, animals or property
- Gradual and selective removal of defective, diseased trees, plus suppression of susceptible beech regeneration might promote a generation of potentially resistant beech and prove the most effective, long-term approach
- The MNRF is working with Michigan State University to protect trees from beech scale with the insecticide TreeAzin, a botanical insecticide derived from the nuts of the neem tree
- Accidentally introduced to Massachusetts, from Europe, in 1869 by Professor L. Trouvelot while trying to develop a silkworm industry in North America
|- Larvae: full-grown larvae are hairy and range in length from 35-90 mm, pairs of five blue and six red dots along their backs
- Adult Female Moth: winged but too heavily bodied for flight, mostly white, wingspan between 60-70 mm, prominent dark wavy lines cross the forewings
- Adult Male Moth: dark brown to beige, erratic flier, dark wavy lines cross the forewings, wingspan 35-40 mm
|- Confirmed presence in S. Ontario, as far north as Sault St. Marie
- Low levels in the Archipelago, some defoliation near Magnetawan in 2013 and 2014, likely an extension of a persistent outbreak in the Sudbury Area
- Isolated outbreaks in Pointe au Baril islands area
- Prefers oak, basswood, willow, Manitoba maple, white birch, poplar, apple, tamarack, mountain ash, alder, and hawthorn
- Will also predate beech, eastern white pine, white spruce, and eastern hemlock
|- Place a band of burlap around the trunks at chest height on a host tree during the larval period (spring), check under the bands at mid-day and destroy any larvae or pupae found
- New egg (darker in colour) masses can be scraped from trees into a bucket and destroyed, do not leave the egg masses on the ground as the eggs will survive
- Extreme conditions of cold can kill eggs
- Parasites, squirrels and birds feed directly on the eggs or larvae
- The fungus Entomophaga maimaiga can cause extensive mortality under damp conditions, and may persist from year to year in gypsy moth populations
- A naturally occurring virus called nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV) causes the most extensive mortality of larvae at outbreak levels
- Bacillus thuringiensis (Btk), applied by an arborist, to the foliage once the larvae appear in late May is an effective control (foliage should be 40-50% expanded when Bt is applied)
|Dutch Elm Disease
- Caused by a vascular
Ophiostoma ulmi which is carried via two species of beetles:
the European elm bark beetle and the native elm bark beetle
|- Leaves wilt and curl
- Leaves turn yellow and brown in summer
- Branches begin to dieback and then result in death
- Brown staining can be seen on the side of the tree when bark is peeled back
|- In northern and eastern Ontario the disease is found in scattered locations
- Can be spread from plant to plant through root grafts between adjacent trees
- Remove dying and recently killed elm trees
- For individual trees of high ornamental value, injecting a fungicide into the roots appears to be effective in disease control, this is available only through specialized tree-service companies
|Introduced Pine Sawfly
Diprion similis (Hartig)
|- Adult: females have a saw-like structure at the tip of the abdomen
- Larvae: up to 28 mm long, black heads, bodies yellow and white spots on black backgrounds
- Defoliation begins in upper crown of trees but in fall can encompass entire tree, branch mortality may occur or, in extreme cases, the whole tree may die
|- Remains at low levels, there are isolated populations, such as the Pointe au Baril islands area
- Eastern white pine is the preferred host, it can be found on all pines, particularly ornamental, nursery, or plantation trees
|- Timing: the following best practices should be applied during both IPS generations/hatchings, typically the first generation hatches in June and the second in Augut/September
- Watering - It's important to water your trees during times of drought. One option is to drill a few small holes in a large plastic barrel and place it next to the tree. So when you leave the cottage, water in the barrel will slowly drain and water your tree. Obviously this can't be done for every tree, so select this option for your 'special' trees and/or those that are located in areas of shallow soil.
- Confirmed larvae should be killed
- On smaller trees, larvae and unhatched pupal cases can be picked off the tree and destroyed
- On larger tress, use a water hose to knock larvae from branches as it may help curtail defoliation. Remember not to power spray too hard (i.e. don't spray off the bark).
- Tree wrapping can be done to mitigate the likelihood of the caterpillars climbing back up it (after power spraying). There are commercially available products, such as Tanglefoot or Pest Stick, that can be used and come with instructions. It's important that these products are not placed directly on the bark. Typically waterproof paper or tape (4 inches in width) is placed on the trunk and then the product is applied. It may be necessary to replace the wrap if it becomes full of debris and/or insects. Remember to remove the product at the end of year.
- Some birds and parasitic wasps are natural enemies
- Fluctuating temperatures or heavy rainfall during egg and larval development can control an infestation
|Forest Tent Caterpillar(FTC)
- often confused with eastern tent caterpillar, however the FTC does not actually make a tent
|- Larvae: black, hairy, about 3 mm long
- Mature caterpillars: black and blue, about 50 mm long, have "key hole" markings on their backs
- Adult: stout-bodied, beige/buff coloured, wingspans 20 45mm, two dark, diagonal lines across the forewings
|- In the past, outbreaks typically occurred on a 10 year cycle
- Prefers trembling aspen, oak, and sugar maple but will attack shrubs and all broadleaf trees, with the exception of red maple
NOTE: Outbreaks of tent caterpillars are important for insect eating birds including many at-risk warbler species. Please use discretion when attempting to remove populations.
|- Prune egg-bands off twigs from August to just before egg hatch in early May
- Tie a metre of burlap around tree trunks at chest height, remove and destroy larvae from under the folds of the burlap daily
- Unfavourable weather in the spring (e.g. late frosts) often reduces the severity of epidemics
- Disease, viruses and fungi often are responsible for large reductions in populations
- The native friendly fly, or government fly, Sarcophaga aldrichi, typically affects FTC populations in year 3 or 4 of an outbreak
- Bacillus thuringiensis (Btk) applied by an arborist to the foliage once the FTC larvae appear in late May is an effective control. Foliage should be 40-50% expanded when Btk is applied.
- In the tiger moth family
- Description is for northern species version
|- Larvae: head usually black, cream-coloured body with rows of black or orange bumps with groups of stiff, white hairs extending out of them, some hairs quite long
- Adult: a pure white moth, emerge in mid-June, orange markings on the body and legs, wings have some black spots and an expanse of 30 mm
- The tent covers the ends of branches of hardwood trees like a shroud
|- Often seen starting in August in the Georgian Bay area
- Fall webworm has many hosts but is most common on birch, black walnut, ash, cherry and apple
|- Although fall webworm is not aesthetically pleasing, and the infested trees look to be in poor health, it is highly unlikely that healthy trees are killed. High populations do not generally persist for more than 2 or 3 years. Natural control factors, including a host of parasites and predators will help to control these outbreaks
|- Larvae: dark, mottled, gray when young, various colours varying from yellow to black when mature, full grown 30 mm long
- Adult: a poor flyer, will stay on lower 3m of trees, tan-greyish in colour
- mid-July defoliation of new and old foliage will be evident in the crown
- Silk webbing will be abundant in the defoliated stands
|- In 2002, it was found on several islands in The Archipelago
- Defoliation was found on Shawanaga Is., in Johnny Bay area, in Five Mile Narrows area, in Menominee Channel area, in Kapikog Lake area, and Woods Bay area
- Present in the Lake Muskoka and Lake Joseph area
- Present at low levels at the following TOA in-land lakes: Blackstone, Crane and Healey
- Prefers eastern hemlock and balsam fir but recorded on white pine, white spruce, eastern white cedar and trembling aspen
|- Be watchful in case the Muskoka situation signifies a rise in looper populations in Parry Sound District
- Smaller infestations can likely be managed by landowners by using a high pressure water hose to knock the larvae off the trees and kill confirmed larvae
- Spraying of a natural (biological) insecticide known as Btk has been proven to be the most effective at controlling and eradicating hemlock looper infestations. The bacterium used in the spray is naturally occurring, in fact Btk is certified for use in organic farming. It lasts for about four or five days. An arborist would have the specialized equipment to spray with Btk if the pest population is high, or occurs in the crowns of tall trees.
- There are two fungi that appear to be the primary natural cause of decline:
Entomophthora sphaerosperma and E. egressa
- Parasites and birds may contribute to population reduction
|Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)
Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire
- a small, shiny emerald coloured beetle
Adult: beetle is shiny emerald or coppery green-coloured, narrow bodied
(max. 3 mm x 8 mm) large eyes bronze or black, and kidney-shaped
- Wide variety of signs on ash trees including defoliation, bark deformity, markings under bark, yellow foliage, dead branches and abundant seed production
- D shaped exit holes in tree bark
|- An EAB insect was found both in Bracebridge and near Gravenhurst in 2018
- The EAB continues to spread out of southern Ontario by natural means and through movement of ash products such as firewood, nursery stock, and logs
If you think you have found EAB, record the location and record the
signs and symptoms. If possible, collect an adult specimen, keep it in a
container in a freezer (to kill and preserve it), and contact the MNRF
- If you plan to move ash firewood, nursery stock or logs, inspect them for signs of emerald ash borer and other pests
- Read about insecticide options here
|Red Pine Cone Beetle
Conophthorus resinosae Hopkins
|- The adult beetles are black, cylindrical and about 3mm long
- They enter the second-year cones at the base, boring into the cone centre. They lay their eggs there from May to the middle of July. The white larvae with a yellow head feed on seed and scales and when fully grown pupate in the cone. The new adults emerge in late July and bore into small shoots and tunnel towards the bud. During late August to September, these mined shoots (containing the beetle) break off, fall to the ground where the beetle overwinters in these tips (when pulled apart, the adult beetle can be seen)
|- Damage from the red pine cone beetle often goes
unnoticed. However, it is often seen throughout The Archipelago wherever
red pine trees are found.
||- Watering - It's important to water your trees during
times of drought. One option is to drill a few small holes in a large
plastic barrel and place it next to the tree. So when you leave the
cottage, water in the barrel will slowly drain and water your tree.
Obviously this can't be done for every tree, so select this option for
your 'special' trees and/or those that are located in areas of shallow
- Collect the mined shoots scattered on the forest floor and burn them
|- Mature twig beetles: 3 mm long, dark brown with rounded rear end in most species (a pair of short spines in a few species)
||- Confirmed on white pine in the TOA
||- Almost always considered a secondary pest which attack trees that are stressed for another reason
- Populations may build up in stressed wood (fire, drought, considerable logging debris) and then move to healthier stands.
- Seldom cause widespread damage or mortality to healthy, vigorously growing trees.
Common Forest Pests Potentially in the Archipelago
||Best Practices & Control|
|Pine Shoot Beetle
Tomicus piniperda Linnaeus
|- Adult: 3-5 mm long, black or dark brown in colour, cylindrical in shape
- Tree evidence includes 2 mm bore holes in the trunk and stem, resin encrusted bore holes, and shoots that have been bored out
- Confirmed population was found in Bracebirdge in 2000 and an eradication attempt took place in 2003
- May be a population in Parry Sound district however monitoring has mainly been focused above northern boundary of the regulated area
Watering - It's important to water your trees during times of drought.
One option is to drill a few small holes in a large plastic barrel and
place it next to the tree. So when you leave the cottage, water in the
barrel will slowly drain and water your tree. Obviously this can't be
done for every tree, so select this option for your 'special' trees
and/or those that are located in areas of shallow soil.
- Known infected counties are under a quarantine restricting the movement of pine lumber, Christmas trees and nursery stock
- Potential brood material must be removed from known infestations
- an aggressive disease which attacks primarily red, but also white oak
|- Rapid leaf discolouration, loss and wilting over the summer
- Leaves wilt from the crown downward
- Leaves take on a bronze colour
|- It is anticipated that it is just a matter of time before oak wilt arrives in Ontario, as it is presently in the state of Michigan
||- Once an oak wilt infection is confirmed, there is no treatment to save individual trees but there are treatments to save surrounding oaks and stop the spread
- DO NOT prune oaks during growing season
- If you need to prune oaks, DO NOT prune them between April 15 and July 15
- DO NOT purchase or source firewood from other districts
- For confirmed cases, trenching an area around the infected tree can help reduce the spread to other oaks through the roots
- Tree removal for confirmed cases will help stop the spread from vectors such as insects
|Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA)
- an aphid-like insect
|- Presence of white cottony masses on twigs and at the base of the hemlock needles is strong evidence of an infestation
- The insect and eggs are difficult to see as they are protected with their mass of fluffy white secretion
|HWA has been found in two locations in Ontario to date:
- first was in Etobicoke in 2012. An arborist found it when working on a residential property. Trees were removed. This infestation likely arrived via infested nursery stock. CFIA attempts to trace back to nursery did not yield any further detection.
- second find was in Niagara Gorge -- natural area, large hemlocks, on slope. Population has since been destroyed.
- Monitoring for new infestations continues in this region
HWA has also been found in Nova Scotia (Digby, Yarmouth and Shelburne counties) in the summer of 2017
|- Look for masses of white wool, which the insects create on the twigs of hemlock trees
- Putting bird feeders in or near hemlock trees is NOT recommended
- Hemlock nursery stock should be closely inspected for white wool on the twigs
- Native lacewing and predatory fly larvae feed on HWA ,they are not effective control
- Populations have shown decline following extreme and extended winters
- Horticultural oil (2 % or lower) or insecticidal soap sprays applied in spring suffocate HWA on accessible trees, applications are costly and impractical for large scale
- Soil drench imidacloprid applications can be available for homeowner use
|Asian Long-horned Beetle
|- Adults: 2-4 cm long
- Shiny black with prominent, irregular white spots
- Distinct bluish-white legs
- Long, black and white banded antennae, 1-2x its body length
- Adults leave a round exit hole, approximately 1 cm across in trees
|- Under eradication in Mississauga and Toronto after it was re-discovered there in 2013
||- Cottagers who reside in the south are reminded that moving firewood, pallets, or other waste wood from southern Ontario to the cottage can transport invasives
Forest Stewardship Best Management Practices & Resources
What you can do:
Know Your Species and Your Property
- Take the time to get to become more familiar with your property and the types of trees growing on it
- Understand the current and possible threats to your trees
- Monitor your property during different seasons
- You may want to familiarize yourself with relevant legislation and funding opportunities regarding woodlot management (see links provided below)
- Check out the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve's Life on the Bay Guide. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book a workshop.
- Familiarize yourself with invasive plants in your region (see A Landowners Guide to Managing and Controlling Invasive Plants in Ontario)
- Prevention! Locate and address pathways of introduction on your property
- Do not collect or purchase firewood from a different region or district
- Plant local species on your property instead of introduced ones (see Grown Me Instead Guide)
- Check nursery stock for signs of invasive species and pests before making a purchase
- Remove confirmed invasive species using an appropriate control method (see A Landowners Guide to Managing and Controlling Invasive Plants in Ontario)
Report invasives species:
- EDDMapS Ontario is a fast and easy way to map invasive species without any technical expertise. Users simply take a picture with their mobile device and report from where they are standing.
- Download the mobile App for Android and Apple devices.
- Call the provincial Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711
Develop a Management Plan
- On your property identify those features or high priority areas that you want to protect or preserve
- Identify and document overall objectives for your property
- Develop and implement management activities
- Click here for more information on the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP)
Life on the Bay Guide - Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve
Westwind Forest Stewardship Inc.
A Landowner's Guide to Managing and Controlling Invasive Plants in Ontario Ontario Invasive Plant Council
Best Management Practices Library
Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP)
Forest Restoration Trees Ontario
Forest Health Conditions 2012 MNRF
Forest Management Plans MNRF
Caring for Your Woodlot
Caterpillar ID Guide
Smaller infestations can likely be managed by landowners by using a high pressure water hose to knock the larvae off the trees and kill confirmed larvae.
Spraying of a natural (biological) insecticide known as Btk has been proven to be the most effective at controlling and eradicating hemlock looper infestations. The bacterium used in the spray is naturally occurring, in fact Btk is certified for use in organic farming. It lasts for about four or five days. An arborist would have the specialized equipment to spray with Btk if the pest population is high, or occurs in the crowns of tall trees.
Explore Our ShoresJoin the Biosphere at one of the Explore Our Shores events during the summer months.
Georgian Bay Biosphere ResourcesThe Life on the Bay Stewardship Guide covers a range of topics including how to live with wildlife, how to use landscaping to improve water quality, best practices during construction, how to store chemicals and garbage and many more. The guide is designed to be used by waterfront property owners on Georgian Bay and inland lakes. Digital copies of the guide are available for download on GBBR's website.
The Life on the Bay Stewardship Program is a free program designed to help homeowners interested in decreasing their ecological footprint learn how to make the most of the Stewardship Guides. The workshops are typically two hours long and suit a group size of 8 or more. Knowledgeable staff from the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve will lead participants through an environmental review of the hosts property and provide additional information to help undertake any property changes.
If you are interested in hosting a stewardship party, please contact the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve at: 705.774.0978, or email email@example.com.
Caring for our Waterfront Property for Future Generations - 2008
Sewage System Re-Inspection Program Summary
Septic Smart - Understanding your Home's Septic System
The Archipelago contributed to the Eastern Georgian Bay Stewardship Council's work to the rehabilitate spawning beds and fish habitat.
Invasive PhragmitesInvasive Phragmites (Phragmites australis subsp. australis) is a European reed that is spreading in North American wetlands, causing negative environmental and economic impacts. Phragmites grows in dense stands, crowds out native plant species and cuts off access to waterways.
Georgian Bay has both invasive Phragmites and a native species of Phragmites (Phragmites australis subsp. americanus). It is important to learn the difference, as native Phragmites does not pose a risk for waterfront properties or local species.
- up to 5 metres tall
- stem base is usually rough, rigid and bland in colour.
- up to 2 metres tall
- stem that is shiny, smooth and reddish-brown
What can I do?
Several lakes and bays in the Township of the Archipelago (TOA) were assessed in 2015 and 2016 as part of the Love Your Lake program developed by Watersheds Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Federation, and delivered in the Township of The Archipelago by the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve. The Love Your Lake program promotes shoreline stewardship and helps shoreline property owners protect and restore their shorelines, thereby improving the health of their lake. Trained surveyors assess the health of shoreline properties using the standardized Love Your Lake Shoreline Assessment Method. Results are subsequently reported back to property owners and ratepayer associations.
The Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve has prepared a high level summary of the findings for all of the lakes and bays assessed in the Township.
To view the individual summaries for each of the waters assessed, please click on the links below:
Blackstone Lake Summary
Crane Lake Summary
Healey Lake Summary
Kapikog Lake Summary
Skerryvore Bay Summary
Sturgeon Bay Summary
Blue-Green Algae: Information for Drinking Water System Owners and Operators
Ten Common Myths about Toxic Cyanobacteria
Visit Health Canada for more information
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 2012‐2017. It 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:
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 - Minutes from September 7, 2005
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