Students Help Communities Restore Coastal Wetlands and Shorelines By Removing Invasive Phragmites

Phragbuster students

Read on to meet 4 students and the new Phragmites Coordinator who are helping to protect shorelines and coastal wetlands from the invasive plant Phragmites. If Phragmites are left to grow with no management action, small stands quickly grow into 'walls' up to 15 ft high and up to densities of 200 stems per metre, threatening plant diversity and habitat for many species including those at risk. And, it can quickly impede your enjoyment of the shoreline by making it difficult to access the water or enjoy the biodiversity of a natural wetland.

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Bill 279: Environmental Protection Amendment Act (Microplastics Filters for Washing Machines), 2021

Ontario Members of Parliament Ian Arthur and Jessica Bell have tabled Private Member's Bill 279: Environmental Protection Amendment Act (Microplastics Filters for Washing Machines), 2021. "The Bill amends the Environmental Protection Act to prohibit the sale or offering for sale of washing machines that are not equipped with a specified microplastics filter and to provide for corresponding penalties in case of non-compliance with the requirement."1.(Status: First reading has carried, the bill must pass thru 2nd and 3rd readings.)

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Unencapsulated Polystyrene Foam Bill 228 (Dock Foam)

Ontario Member of Parliament Norm Miller has tabled Private Member's Bill 228: Keeping Polystyrene Out of Ontario's Lakes and Rivers Act. "The Bill requires persons who sell, offer to sell or construct floating docks, floating platforms or buoys to ensure that any expanded or extruded polystyrene in the dock, platform or buoy is fully encapsulated."1. Thus prohibiting unencapsulated extruded or expanded poystyrene for docks, buoys, or platforms. (Status: Second reading has carried, the bill must pass a third reading to become law)

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Helen’s book pick: We Are the Weather

Title: We Are the Weather, Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast. Author: Jonathan Safran Foer

Reviewed and recommended by Helen Bryce, GBF director and chair of the Education Committee

In this unsettling and uncertain COVID-19 environment, we are thankful that the majority of society practices “social isolation/physical distancing", that the medical profession bravely carries on treating the infected, that businesses retool to produce what society needs and that governments step up to the challenge of protecting us all. Why then, can we not do the same things to save our planet before we reach “runaway climate change” and nothing can save us?

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GBF and COVID-19

We want to assure you, our community, that we are taking every precaution in light of the current circumstances of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019).

GBF has postponed or cancelled public events and site visits to avoid risk to public health, volunteers, and staff members. For instance, the April 25th talk and electric vehicle testing event, Energy Rights and Wrongs, Can we more right? has been moved to the Fall (date TBD).

We will continue to be your environmental ally, but like so many of you, we are working from home to advance projects as possible, and all of us are practicing social-distancing.

Thanks to all the frontline and essential workers who are at the forefront for all of us, and to all of you for your responsible community care.

How to protect yourself and what to do. GBF is not the authority, but these contacts may be able to help you.

Georgian Bay Forever is a charity and our mission is dedicated to scientific research and public education on Georgian Bay's aquatic ecosystem. We continue to serve this mission during this pandemic.

We are very concerned about you, the Georgian Bay community, but we are not the right authority for guidance or information as it relates to COVID-19. 

There are several organizations and governmental agencies whose responsibility it is to provide guidance in these times, or may be able to provide you with local information around closures etc. Here are some links or potential contacts to provide some assistance:

  • Ontario government link: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus
  • Canadian government link: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
  • Check with your local municipality to see what may be open or closed.
  • Call your local marina to see if they are open.
  • Contact your local community or cottage association.
  • The Georgian Bay Association (GBA): https://georgianbay.ca/. The GBA also has contact information for more that 17 cottage or community associations.
  • Some ideas to consider while you are physical distancing and isolating

  • See if there is a webinar you can register for on Georgian Bay Forever's Event page:  GBF Events/Webinars link: https://georgianbayforever.org/upcoming-events/
  • Shoreline cleanups with social and physical distancing in mind. See the process :  Click here.
  • There is all kinds of great information on this website - but here are three recent tips and reports: 1. Shoreline cleanups 2019 - the report. Click here for the shoreline cleanups report.     2. Invasive Phragmites 2019 report Click here for the invasive Phragmites report.     3. Get 10 tips on what you can do to reduce microplastics: Click here for the microplastics tips.
  • Peruse video presentations from the H2O 2018 events. Topics include climate change,  microplastics, and more. Click here for the main H2O 2018 page
  • Check out this 1/2 hour presentation on septics from H2O 2019 on YouTube. A little about it: I bet you don't think septic maintenance can be interesting. It "can", pun intended. We learned at H2O 2019, that Rick Esselment is a great speaker who can break-down what is needed for septic maintenance that challenges the notion it is always about doing a pump out. He keeps you watching, and it's important for potentially saving you money and certainly helping the environment in the long run. Check out the 1/2 hour presentation on YouTube: Click here.