GBF.ORG | WINTER 2018 | 3 CHAIR’S MESSAGE MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR OUR GOAL MUST BE NBI By Anne Randell By David Sweetnam, Executive Director Happy 2018, the year of water. Actually, at GBF, every year is the year of water! Water is who we are. Nbi is a First Nations word for water — specifically clean water. Nbi is the water that constitutes us. The meaning of Nbi provides a more holistic perspective, instead of merely making water the molecular sum of one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. Nbi sayswearetheconfluenceofwaterandourselves. Raw sewage flooding into our Bay, impacts of climate change increasing our water temper- atures and pollutants entering our water from global sources all change the word for Georgian Bay water to Nbish —dirty, sick water. Despite our impression of the pristine nature of the waters of Georgian Bay and our enjoyment of the beautiful sun-sparkled surface and delicious reflections of sunsets we adore, for most of us around Georgian Bay, Nbish is all we have ever seen. Centuries of overfishing, raw sewage releases, toxic waste sites and sawdust and bark dumped into bays from the lumber industry have left our ecosystems at about one percent of what they historically were. We have learned what the impacts of historic mistakes has been, but In this issue, we provide some possible actions for you to take. Our 2018 focus will be on helping our municipalities build the case for accessing funding for climate resilient water infrastructure improvements. This will directly benefit the ecosystems and citizens of the Great Lakes. And GBF will continue to: • add to our scientific baseline inventory of all life forms who call the Bay their home, • begin to answer the research questions found through our detailed look at the impacts of new industries like aquacul- ture on our ecosystems and • investigate adaptive solutions to mitigate the long term impacts of climate change on our waters and wetlands. GBF is also working to revolutionize the water quality testing on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes, to catch up with the tools available on the US side. GBF is working hard to get the “sh” out of Nbish . Our goal must be Nbi . In December, Georgian Bay Forever’s Execu- tive Director, David Sweetnam, and I attended the Great Lakes Executive Committee (GLEC) meeting in Toronto. GLEC was established by the governments of Canada and the United States as a requirement of the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. GLEC meetings take place twice a year, once in Canada and once in the US, and focus on planning and action related to water quality concerns throughout the Great Lakes. Georgian Bay Forever has been granted Observer Status to attend and participate in these meetings — a great privilege for our organization in order to maintain its focus on potential water quality issues in Georgian Bay. The two-day meeting covered many topics including Areas of Concern, Chemicals of Mutual Concern, Nutrients, Discharges from Vessels and Aquatic Invasive Species, among others. The meeting was informative and helpful and we were pleased to receive commendation from IJC Commissioner, Gord Walker, for GBF’s work on Phragmites and the resulting benefits to our local water quality. The GBF Board is reviewing our Strategic Plan to ensure that our priorities and deliverables continue to be aligned with the organization’s Mission, Vision and Values. The updated Strategic Plan will be finalized at our next board meeting and we look forward to sharing it with you in the spring. I wanted to share with you that — for the first time — we spent Christmas at our Pointe au Baril cottage with our kids and grandkids. Thankfully Santa had no trouble finding us, and it was a magical experience for everyone! The ice coverage in front of the cottage was thicker than the recommended safety standard, so there was lots of skating and hockey. How special to be able to enjoy the water of Georgian Bay in such a different way than we do in the summertime! In closing, thank you to the many donors, supporters and volunteers who make the important work of Georgian Bay Forever possible. Together we are able to protect the pristine waters of Georgian Bay that we all love so much, ensuring it will be there for future generations to enjoy throughout the year. With heartfelt gratitude to all of you! we are continuing to make new mistakes that we have to ad- dress immediately.