GBF Annual Report 2018

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Preservation. Sustainability. Conservation. Life. These are just a few of the core drivers that inspire Georgian Bay Forever’s board, volunteers and staff to serve as one of the key voices for the Bay’s aquatic species and their life-giving habitats. The growing threats to our water are potentially catastrophic—but not insurmountable—for life as we know it on the Bay. While toxic chemi- cals, raw sewage overflows, climate change and invasive species all threaten to decimate the water and iconic shorelines we love and cherish, we have demonstrated time and again how a small, locally based charity like ours can deliver big impact. Science has undeniably proven that man-made climate change is happening. We are already seeing long climate signals in Georgian Bay leading to decreases in ice coverage, increasing wind speeds and water temperatures that all directly affect fish and other aquatic organisms. Ground-breaking tools like the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), will drastically improve water quality measurement in the Bay. GBF, thanks to mutually beneficial partnerships, now has the ability to measure the impacts of climate change, water levels, increasing development, industrial or municipal spills, sewage overflows, septic failures, aquaculture operations, nuisance bacterial contamination and, in coming years, the success of conservation activities and restoration projects. Our innovative Divert & Capture Program aimed at capturing microfibres before they enter our water has generated keen interest on both sides of the border. The results of this one-of-a-kind pilot project could have far-reaching impacts for water preservation in our Bay and around the world. Over the past six years, GBF has been highly successful in mobilizing communities across Georgian Bay in the fight against invasive Phragmites. Our efforts have already led to the removal of more than 103,000 kilograms of the monstrous reed-like plant that threatens aquatic species in the Bay’s sensitive coastal wetlands. Building partnerships, creating citizen-science opportunities and leveraging donor dollars are all areas where GBF excels. As the only charitable organization wholly dedicated to preserving and protecting the waters and aquatic ecosystems of Georgian Bay, fulfilling our mission is vital to ensuring that our water remains safe and healthy for future generations. We could not do what we do without the support of many passionate people. We are indebted to GBF’s generous donors, strategic partners, dedicated board and committee members, committed community volunteers and enthusiastic staff, all of whom contribute immeasurably to our successes. Their efforts are second to none and greatly appreciated. Please join us in 2019 as we continue our work to protect the water of Georgian Bay…forever! Anne Randell Board Chair David Sweetnam Executive Director