GBF-Newsletter Fall 2018

2 | FALL 2018 | GBF.ORG CHAIR’S MESSAGE MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR As I write this, we are enjoying the last few days of summer in Pointe au Baril on beautiful Georgian Bay. It was my family’s 40th cottage summer here and it was full of lots of relatives, friends and fun. At the same time, it was a worrisome summer, with the Parry Sound 33 forest fire burning just a few kilometres north of us. We were saddened by the loss of the beautiful mature trees, many homes and precious wildlife. But thankful for the firefighters, many from afar, who fought valiantly to bring the blaze under control. As of mid-August, there were 1028 forest fires in Ontario, an 87 per cent increase over the usual number.1 While the Union for Concerned Scientists notes that wildfire prevalence may not be the same every year due to cyclical weather conditions, they warn that, “As the world warms, we can expect more wildfires.” Wet areas are becoming wetter, and dry areas are becoming drier. Climate change is having an impact around the world, including right here in Georgian Bay. Georgian Bay Forever is helping to evaluate, educate, and mitigate stressors caused by human activity including climate change. We collaborate with partners and communities to do research, education, and restoration projects to protect the water of Georgian Bay. Our current areas of focus are fish farming, microplastics and the ongoing fight against Phragmites, in addition to many others. We hope you can join us for an in-depth look at these issues at H 2 O 2018. An educational conference in Toronto on Oct.20 presented by GBF, Bruce Power, and the GBA. Check for registration details. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH “GeorgianBay is beautiful.” “We love GeorgianBay.” “Georgian Bay is a special place – a treasure.” Sentiments I heard all summer up and down the Bay: on the dock in Parry Sound; at the cottages of caring, generous donors blessed with perfect views; and waist deep in Phragmites stands in Collingwood, Tay, Honey Harbour and The Massasauga Park with dedicated Phragbusters and our fabulous Summer Ambassadors Conor, Katelyn, Jack, Patrick, Tamara, Vicky, Katherine, Christina and Brady. I had to agree. The Bay is special –a unique home to millions of members of thousands of other species who have no voice. But the curse of being a scientist leading a dedicated team of caring volunteers, students, and staff is being aware of what is going on in the water. I need to talk to you about what is going on, what we are doing in many intentional, innocent or naïve ways. It’s not bad enough that we are adding new contaminants to our waste water like microfibres from synthetic fabrics that are so small that 10% pass through the treatment plant into our beautiful Georgian Bay. It is not bad enough that increasingly intense storm deluges caused by fossil fuelled greenhouse gasses are overwhelming our storm water and sewer systems dumping raw sewage into the Bay. It is not bad enough that in those bypasses 100% of whatever went into our drains is washing directly into our special place – including 100% of the microfibres. What is enough, I hope, is that those microfibres…are now in your cool refreshing Great Lakes beer and drinking water. In a recent study of Great Lakes communities, researchers foundmicrofibres in 88%of the sampled tap water and 100%of the Great Lakes beers tested. They say we involuntarily consume over 5800 microfibres per year. Microfibres end up in fish and other organisms. Microfibres attract other chemical contaminants andmay release themwhen ingested. The health effects of human exposure tomicrofibres are unknown. But we don’t need to wait until the research is completed. Microfibres in our water and beer are just yucky. So Georgian Bay Forever is embarking on amulti-year project to reduce microfibres entering our water. It is time to stop saying “they need to” and start saying “I need to”. Read on – we look forward to your help. BY ANNE RANDELL BY DAVID SWEETNAM, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 1 1-000-forest-fires-in-ontario-this-year-116-still- active-1.4049830 Georgian Bay Forever is a community response to the growing need for major research and education to sustain the Georgian Bay aquatic ecosystem and the quality of life its communities and visitors enjoy. We help monitor the Bay’s well being, throughout the seasons, year after year. We fund the research needed to protect the environmental health of Georgian Bay and the surrounding bodies of water. Using our research findings, we inform and educate the general public and governments about threats to environmental health and propose possible solutions. Through workshops, seminars and online, we are educating the Georgian Bay community. By teaming up with reputable institutions, we enhance the credibility of our research and strengthen our ability to protect what’s at stake. Georgian Bay Forever is a registered Canadian charity (#89531 1066 RR0001). We work with the Great Lakes Basin Conservancy in the United States, as well as other stakeholder groups all around the Great Lakes. Deeply rooted and broadly drawn, Georgian Bay Forever is steered by lifelong devotees of the Bay. We are committed advocates, educators, environmentalists, realists, idealists, and of course, residents. DIRECTORS Executive Director David Sweetnam OUR CONTACT DETAILS Georgian Bay Forever PO Box 75347, Leslie St., Toronto, ON M4M 1B3 tel: 905-880-4945 You can reach David Sweetnam, our Executive Director, at or at 905-880-4945, ext 1. Canadian citizens may send their donations to the address above. U.S. citizens wishing to make a donation to support our work can do so by giving to: Great Lakes Basin Conservancy PO Box 504, Gates Mills, OH 44040-0504, USA This newsletter is just a snapshot of our work. For the most up-to-date information on our projects, longer versions of newsletter articles and breaking news about Georgian Bay, please become a regular visitor to our website and Facebook page. GBF.ORG Design by Key Gordon ( Editor: Heather Sargeant Cover Photo: Canadian Wildlife Service Follow us on Helen Bryce Adam Chamberlain Anne Randell, Chair Derek Bowen Doug Heintzman Janet Burt Jennifer Ferguson Laren Stadelman Neil Hutchinson Paul Emond Terry Clark