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:
  • Canadian government link:
  • 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): 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:
  • 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.

  • How The Great Lakes Formed

    GBF is partnering with CurrentCast to share information that they develop with other partners about water stewardship and sustainability in the Great Lakes and surrounding watersheds. CurrentCast is a project of the Center for Transformative Action based at Cornell University. CurrentCast content is owned by ChavoBart Digital Media, Inc. The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University provides scientific content support and reviews all editorial idea for the initiative.

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    Hockey weekends and the Nottawasaga River

    Like many of you, I spend a fair amount of time in hockey rinks with other parents watching our little ones experience the ecstasy and agony of one of the best sports in the world. Last weekend, I was at a hockey tournament in the Nottawasaga area.

    Sadly, our team didn’t fare too well on the ice, but did happily enjoy being together and having fun. It did give me the opportunity to see the Nottawasaga River, and an excuse to link two great passions – hockey and learning about water that feeds Georgian Bay.



    The Nottawasaga river starts at the Orangeville reservoir and ends at the town of Wasaga Beach where it flows into Nottawasaga Bay, part of Georgian Bay . The water journeys and meanders through Dufferin County, the Niagara escarpment, and the amazing Minesing wetlands, which Ontario has designated as an ” Area of Natural and Scientific Interest”.  According to “Friends of Minesing Wetlands”,  over 221 bird species have been sighted in these wetlands; while 135 of these species use these wetlands as nesting grounds. Home to hundreds of plant species, the wetlands are composed of swamps,fens, bogs, and marshes that link and connect and ultimately act as a giant sponge during spring thaw; that let-offs a constant flow of water into the Nottawasaga River in the summer.



    Reading up on such important wetland, reminded me to keep vigilant about mapping, reporting and controlling invasive Phragmites – which is a fast spreading reed that can grow into dense monostands that reduce habitat for birds and other species and threaten native plant biodiversity. I was glad I didn’t see any of the dead stalks in the quick views of the river from the road – however, I certainly saw this plant along the highways going up. Last summer, GBF and 16 communities worked on removing over 8000 kilograms of this plant and we will be back at it again this summer. The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority was a great partner in helping remove Phragmites from the coastal areas in Collingwood, and appeared with our GBF’s David Sweetnam in this Penny Skelton show to discuss the project.

    If you want to help Georgian Bay wetlands, learn more about the Phragmites workshops Georgian Bay Forever is hosting this April.

    Picture of Winter Phragmites

    I left Nottawasaga with some beautiful winter pictures of the river, and wondering whether it was usually more frozen. On returning back to the city, it was great to see that our backyard rink, which we had not been able to enjoy at all in December,  had frozen over finally for some more practice fun time. We’ll get them next year!

    a Picture of outdoor hockey rinks

    If you are interested in writing about Georgian Bay with a connection to the water, please contact me, Heather Sargeant – the Communications Director. We want to create more posts that share your information about Georgian Bay!


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