SUMMER 2008 Inside Lake Simcoe Fishing & Recreation Federal and Provincial Plans to Protect the Lake Page 1 and 2 The Lake Simcoe Watershed Page 2 New committees address fishing and tourism Page 3 2009 Ladies of Lake Calendar Page 3 New Fishing Regulations Page 4 New Watershed Report Card Page 4 Muskie Restoration Project Page 5 Youth Education Program Page 5 Putting the lock on Phosphorus Page 6 Money to give away Page 6 Coming Events Page 7
SERVING THE LAKE SIMCOE COMMUNITY
VOLUME 2, NO. 1
Lake Simcoe’s plight hits governments’ environmental agendas After years of lobbying by environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs) in an effort to draw attention to the negative effects of land use on the health of Lake Simcoe and its watershed, both the federal and provincial governments have responded with a promise of funding and/or protective legislation. The first sign that government leaders were listening came when the federal government announced a $12 million Lake Simcoe clean-up fund in the 2007 budget followed by an additional $18 million announced in February of this year. “After years of inadequate funding, the Conservative government is taking action to improve the water we drink, clean polluted waters, protect our ecosystems and ensure the sustainability of our fish resources,” said Peter Van Loan, Member of Parliament for York-Simcoe. Following these two announcements, the provincial Liberal government stepped up to the plate by proposing a two-pronged approach to address the ecological health and welfare of Lake Simcoe—1. legislation in the form of an Act; and 2. a longterm strategy for the lake through the development of a Lake Simcoe Protection Plan in accordance with the proposed legislation. They also announced immediate interim limits on municipal and industrial sewage discharges into Lake Simcoe together with a five-step plan to help them move forward on developing a Lake Simcoe Protection Act. “Our government is committed to a longterm protection strategy for Lake Simcoe; one that sees everyone doing their part and by lowering the amount of phosphorus going into the lake. In the meantime, we are acting immediately where we can, to
hold the line on phosphorus,” said Ontion, research and monitoring,” Ms. tario’s Environment Minister, John Gerret- McDonald said. Submissions from farmers sen. to support projects to prevent livestock from contaminating rivers and streams The Federal Plan were also received. However, municipal infrastructure programs such as sewer proWith a total of $30 million slated to help jects did not qualify under the parameters clean up Lake Simcoe, the federal govern- of the letter of intent, she said. ment created a committee called PROPEL It is expected that the Minister will ap(Protect and Preserve the Environment of prove the recommended projects as early Lake Simcoe) and charged it with provid- as the summer of 2008. ing advice to the Minister of the Environment on how best to distribute the money. The Provincial Plan PROPEL sent out requests for proposals (RFP) to a number of environmental non- The Ontario government, through the Mingovernment organizations (ENGOs) who, istry of the Environment, released a discusover the years, have been conducting their sion paper in March that outlined the govown projects to address environmental ernment’s path forward to create a longissues within the Lake Simcoe watershed. term action plan. According to this docuAccording to Karen McDonald, a spokes- ment the government proposes to build on person for Peter Van Loan’s office in the findings of recent scientific and comBradford, PROPEL is a volunteer commit- munity planning studies and set strict limtee charged by Environment Canada to its on pollutants such as phosphorus. They review RFP submissions and make recom- also plan to create a new governance strucmendations to the Minister of the Environ- ture based on the work of the Lake Simcoe ment for funding from the $30 million Environmental Management Strategy Lake Simcoe clean-up fund. Working Group (LSEMS) and promote “In the first round, we received over 80 sustainable recreation opportunities while submissions and there will be another op- protecting the health of the lake. portunity for funding more projects in this The discussion paper was posted on the government fiscal year,” Ms. McDonald Environmental Bill of Rights Registry for said. The second round is expected to be- public comment for a period of 36 days gin in September, she said. which ended on May 2. “Because this was a new process and it John Gerretsen, the Ontario Minister of the was done on a tight time frame, we are Environment, said the province will work expecting a lot more projects for funding with the community and stakeholders to for the second round,” she said. develop the legislation and the long-term Of the 80 RFPs received, dozens were in- strategy for action. cluded in PROPEL’s recommendations to He has set up a science advisory committhe minister. tee to ensure the legislation and long-term “We received a number of submissions for protection strategies are based on science phosphorus reduction which included pro- and has created a multi-stakeholder advi jects for tree planting, shoreline remediaContinued on page 2...
Now they get it—but do we?
Editor Karen Wolfe (705) 437-1216 firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Sales Karen Wolfe (705) 437-1216 email@example.com Distribution Inquiries Karen Wolfe (705) 437-1216 firstname.lastname@example.org Publisher Wolfe Communications 17 Otter Cove Pefferlaw, Ontario L0E 1N0 (705) 437-1216 Some editorial content in Lake Simcoe Fishing and Recreation News has been developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources (fisheries articles), the Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. The publisher and collaborative editorial partners assume no responsibility or liability for claims, statements, opinions or views written or reported through paid advertisements. This publication is published by Wolfe Communications, publishers of the Pefferlaw Post and Lake Simcoe Fishing and Recreation News. As the only news publication serving the entire Lake Simcoe community, Lake Simcoe Fishing and Recreation News provides news and information on the environment, fishing opportunities, regulations and remediation programs in addition to the broad range of recreational activities that Lake Simcoe has to offer. Twenty thousand copies of Lake Simcoe Fishing and Recreation News are distributed to communities around Lake Simcoe for visitors and residents alike. Printed in Canada. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced either in part of in full without the consent of the copyright owner. Lake Simcoe Fishing and Recreation News accepts no responsibility for claims made for any product or service reported or advertised.
There are a lot of environmental nongovernment organizations (ENGOs) out there that have been working diligently to draw attention to the plight of Lake Simcoe and it seems their messages have been getting through—to the political audiences at least. Both the provincial and federal governments have seen fit to shine a light on the environmental woes of Lake Simcoe and it remains to be seen what will become of the money, the energy and the political will that has been offered. The federal government has thrown some money at the problem and the provincial government is willing to pass legislation that will offer this environmentally sensitive region some relief. But the flurry of political activity has raised a lot of questions in the minds of residents and key among them is, who will be minding the store? In my mind, there needs to be a coordinated effort between the federal government and the province. One central body needs to know what the left hand and the right hand are doing to make sure there is no duplication of effort or resources. Right now, I don’t think that body exists and I’m not comfortable with the underlying current of attitude these two governments have toward each other. For example, the federal Conservatives think the time for studying the problem is overdue since a number of studies
have already been conducted and they say now is the time for the provincial government to pony up with a cheque. The provincial Liberals, on the other hand, acknowledge the money the feds have offered but say they prefer to have a plan in place before they throw any money at a problem. That kind of talk doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in me that these two will play together nicely and this isn’t the time for party line politics. I have heard that York Region has sanctioned a suggestion to have the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority designated as the lead agency which would give them governance responsibilities that speak to the issue of coordination. I think that is a good call since they were an active and founding partner of the Lake Simcoe Environment Management Strategy (LSEMS) working group and they authored the final report on the LSEMS findings and have verbalized a clear path forward. A number of municipalities around the lake have already banned the use of pesticides in non-commercial applications and the Ontario government won’t be far behind with theirs. With all of this activity, there is just one faction left that needs to step up to the table to ensure a truly coordinated effort—the public. The Lake Simcoe watershed encom-
passes an area of approximately 3,303 square kilometers and is home to 350,000 people—a number that is expected to double in less than 25 years. It also harbours provinciallysignificant wetlands, woodlands, prime agricultural areas and supports 50 different species of mammals, 141 bird species and 36 reptilian/amphibian species. For those of us that live in the watershed, adopting a lifestyle that includes the use of environmentally friendly products and services that will have a positive impact on the lake and its ecosystem should now be at the forefront of our purchasing decisions. For visitors to the lake, it is our hope that you will treat the area as you would if you were a guest in our home. We all need to be mindful of everything from litter to responsible boating and recreational practices if the collective will and vision for Lake Simcoe’s future is to be realized. Sustainability is a three-legged stool— environmental, cultural and economic— and all three of these interests need to be addressed in the strategic plan to preserve and protect Lake Simcoe. We as humans have control over the sustainability stool and it behooves us all to make sure it stands straight and sturdy. Karen Wolfe, Editor.
Lake Simcoe hits government environmental agenda Continued from page 1. sory committee to advise on the best approaches to ensure the future sustainability of Lake Simcoe. According to published reports, these advisory committees are incorporating the interests of the agriculture, tourism, fisheries, community development and environmental communities. Consultation will also be conducted with the First Nations and groups with cultural, economic and heritage links to Lake Simcoe. To date, five public consultation sessions have been held in an effort to gather input from all parties interested in the health of Lake Simcoe. A partnership of environmental groups at the fore-front of the fray to protect Lake Simcoe from further ecological harm is Campaign Lake Simcoe. Chief among the groups’ concerns is that the province’s strategy is overly focused on phosphorus. “Phosphorus is a symptom of what is negatively impacting the health of the ecosystem, not the only cause,” said Robert Eisenberg, co-Chair of Campaign Lake Simcoe and a founder of the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition. Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defense agreed by saying, “You won’t save this lake if you allow the wetlands and forests around it to be paved. Similarly, you won’t save the lake if the new rules don’t apply to land that is 500 metres away from the lake, as is the case near Barrie. The Lake Simcoe Protection Act should apply to an area larger than the watershed, given that sources of atmospheric phosphorus pollution extend beyond the watershed boundary.” In a written response to the discussion paper posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights website, Campaign Lake Simcoe, supported by 42 local group members, identified a number of weaknesses they felt needed to be rectified in the final Act. 1. The act and the plan must recognize phosphorus as the symptom and not the only cause of the lake’s problems; 2. The act must be the vehicle to deliver a protected natural heritage and agricultural system as promised
by the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe; The plan needs a stronger emphasis on improving land-use planning, both within the watershed and in adjacent areas on the west side of the lake where development pressures are greatest and the watershed is narrowest; The establishment of a Lake Simcoe Protection Act and plan must be accompanied by adequate provincial government funding to advance the goals of this initiative; The plan must also ensure that the new governance structure is inclusive, representative and independent, with direct line reporting to the Ontario government; The comprehensive strategy should aim to put in place stimuli to make the Lake Simcoe watershed a leading sustainable community; Large scale developments and marina resorts such as Big Bay Point
must be consistent with the act and must not allow grandfathering of projects lacking final permits or regulatory approvals. In addition, the groups believe it is critical that the proposed Act apply to the full South Georgian Bay-Lake Simcoe Source Protection Region as established in the province’s Clean Water Act. “A healthy Lake Simcoe depends on a healthy watershed. This means comprehensive land use planning that sets and sticks to clear targets for protecting key agricultural areas and a natural heritage system of woodlands and wetlands," said Caroline Schultz, Executive Director of Ontario Nature whose members include seven conservation organizations within the watershed. At the April 16 Public Information Forum in Barrie, Ontario’s Environment Minister John Gerretsen said he hoped the act would be passed before Christmas 2008 and that the entire process would not take more than a year.
More than just the lake... The issues facing Lake Simcoe’s ecosystem do not pertain strictly to the lake itself and its shoreline. An area of approximately 3,303 square kilometers of land which surrounds the lake is known as the Lake Simcoe watershed. All of this land, which crosses no less than 23 municipal boundaries from the Oak Ridges Moraine in the south to Kawartha Lakes in the east, to Barrie in the west and to Orillia in the north, all drain into Lake Simcoe either di-
rectly or indirectly through streams and rivers, often referred to as subwatersheds. The entire watershed is home to approximately 400,000 residents and the lake provides clean drinking water to eight municipalities. Fourteen water pollution control plants assimilate waste. As a result, everyone within this watershed can play an active role in determining the future health and prosperity of this resource.
Two new committees address Lake Simcoe tourism and fisheries issues Interest in Lake Simcoe as one of Ontario’s most important fishing destinations has spawned the creation of two new stakeholder committees—one to promote and coordinate fisheries stewardship and the other to attract more tourists and anglers to the lake. The new Lake Simcoe Fisheries Stakeholder Committee will provide advice and recommendations to the Midhurst and Aurora District managers on topics related to fisheries management on Lake Simcoe, Lake Couchiching and their watersheds. “Taking a holistic approach to the management of Lake Simcoe, this committee will consider the social, economic and ecological values of the resource and its use to assist the ministry in better managing this important fishery, “ said Larry Wickett, Interim Chair of the committee. The committee membership represents 18 stakeholders with diverse interests in the fishery resources of Lake Simcoe and include the following: Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority; Muskies Canada Inc.; Bait Association of Ontario; stewardship councils; Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters; Ontario BASS Federation Nation; competitive fishing industry; Chippewas of Georgina; Chippewas of Mnjikaning; Ontario Nature; Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition; tourism industry; hospitality industry; Federation of Ontario Cottages Association; outdoor media; unaffiliated angler; and a watershed contractor. The group has identified two co-chairs who will oversee monthly meetings and set agendas. The MNR chair is Peter Waring, manager of the York, Durham area team for MNRs Aurora office. The interim nongovernment chair is Larry Wickett who is a past president of the Beaverton District Conservation Club.
The second committee, charged with promoting Lake Simcoe as a premier tourist and fishing attraction, is the Fish Lake Simcoe Tourism Alliance (FLSTA). This group represents ice hut operators, the hospitality industry, tourism departments of various municipalities, the Ontario Tourism Ministry and the Ministry of Natural Resources. Together they work on initiatives that will boost fishing-related tourism in a sustainable manner around Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching. To date, the FLSTA has met several times at different locations around the two lakes and has identified a list of key issues affecting local fishing related tourism. Of various influencing factors ranging from gas prices to the strong Canadian dollar, it was “public access” that stood out as the number one issue negatively affecting angler related tourism. “We determined that the declining public access around Lake Simcoe and Couchiching is the single greatest intimidating factor facing visiting anglers,” said FLSTA member Jerry Kucharchuk. “Our group is determined to look at ways to work with municipalities and others to sustain and enhance the public access we currently have and to look for opportunities to increase the number of sites where anglers can launch their boats, walk out onto the ice or fish from a public pier. Of course, access without nearby parking is counterproductive so we need to look for ways to increase parking areas for anglers as well.” Recreational fishing is a multi-million dollar industry for Lake Simcoe and Couchiching communities and the FLSTA wants to ensure that this important revenue is not lost because anglers/tourists cannot find adequate public access to enjoy one of the finest fisheries in North America, Mr. Kucharchuk said.
Ladies of the Lake announce 2009 in-the-buff calendar After successfully selling 12,000 Naked Truth calendars in 2006 to help draw attention to the declining health of Lake Simcoe, the Ladies of the Lake are baring it all again in hopes of raising money to support the group’s research and education agenda. “The 2009 Ladies of the Lake calendar will celebrate Lake Simcoe’s natural gifts and the goal is to raise awareness and another $250,000 in funds to help rehabilitate, protect and enhance the Lake and the lands that have an impact on it,” said Annabel Slaight, co-founder of the Ladies of the Lake. The calendar, called “Enlightened Teachers”, captures a native thanksgiving theme as the models pose amid 12 natural elements inspired by traditional native “gifts” such as mother earth, the sun, moon, wind,
water, plants, animals, etc. “This calendar, being a gratitude prayer to the elements, was an opportunity to say why we are thankful. It’s about honouring nature’s intelligence,” said Hilary Van Welter, a Ladies of Lake board member. Ms. Van Welter says the 2009 calendar comes with a set of cards that explain each element depicted in the calendar as well as identifying a series of behaviours on the back of each card. “The 2006 calendar was the first step in leading us to education. Now this calendar does what the original one did, which was to bring awareness, but at the same time educate,” Ms. Van Welter said. In July, 20,000 copies of the 2009 calendar will be available around the lake through cooperating retail outlets and charitable organizations.
New fishing regulations for 2008/2009 Anglers picking up the 2008-2009 Fishing Summary will notice a few changes from the previous publication. First and foremost, the number of Fishery Management Zones (FMZ) has been reduced throughout Ontario to 20. Lake Simcoe falls into FMZ 16 but has been designated as a “Special Designated Water” (SDW) which allows for regulatory management options that are outside the FMZ wide regulations. The SWD is defined as the waters of Lakes Simcoe, Couchiching, Green River and their tributaries, the Trent Canal system and its tributaries— downstream from L. Couchiching to Lock 42, the Trent Canal System in Brock and Ramara Townships and the Severn River and its tributaries (excluding the Black River) downstream from Lake Couchiching to Wasdell Falls, all within the Regional Municipalities of York, Durhan and Simcoe and the District of Muskoka. With the “Special Designated Waters of Lake Simcoe” class, anglers holding a valid Sport Licence or a Conservation Licence and fishing Lake Simcoe should be aware of regulations that may be separate from the rest of Fishery Management Zone (FMZ) 16. 2008/2009 Highlights Sanctuary:
for a conservation licence (this is the only change from last year). Muskellunge and ciscoe (lake herring) will continue to be closed all year in Lake Simcoe but will now apply to all the waters within the defined area of the Special Designated Waters (SDW)for Lake Simcoe; Catch and Possession Limits for yellow perch will remain the same at 50 daily, 100 possession with a Sport Licence and 25/50 for a Conservation Licence. This will remain but will now apply to all the waters within the defined area of the SDW for Lake Simcoe; Walleye catch and possession limits are reduced to four and only one can exceed 46 cm (18.1 inches); Crappie now have a limit of 30 with a Season, Catch and Possession: Sport Licence and 10 with a Conserva Lake trout and whitefish will remain tion Licence; as a split season January 1 to March 15 Sunfish now have a limit of 50 with a and the second Saturday in May to SepSport Licence and 25 with a Conservatember 30 but will now apply to all the tion Licence; waters within the defined area of the Winter walleye season remains closed SDW for Lake Simcoe. on March 15. Catch and Possession limits will be the same as 2007. For lake trout, the catch Anglers are allowed 120 bait fish and 120 leeches in their possession. This and possession limit is two for a sport possession limit applies whether the licence and one for a conservation libait fish and leeches were caught under cence. For white fish, the catch and possession a sport fishing licence or purchased limit is two for a sport licence and one from a dealer. Beaver River Sanctuary: Thorah Twp. From the CNR railway bridge in the town of Beaverton upstream to Hwy. 12/48—fish sanctuary—no fishing from March 1 to Friday before the second Saturday in May. Pefferlaw River Sanctuary: in the Town of Georgina from Hwy 48 upstream to the dam in the village of Pefferlaw—fish sanctuary—no fishing from March 1 to Friday before the second Saturday in May. Talbot River Sanctuary—Talbot River and its tributaries excluding the Trent Canal system in Thorah and Mara Twps upstream to the dam at Lot 6, Conc. X1 in Thorah Twp.—fish sanctuary—no fishing from March 1 to Friday before the second Saturday in May.
New Lake Simcoe Watershed report card published The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) has published a report card which grades the health of eight tributary indicators across 18 subwatersheds within the Lake Simcoe watershed. The report grades ranged from A to E and were applied to the following indicators: streamside vegetation, forest cover, forest interior, phosphorus concentration, fish community, benthic invertebrates, hardened surfaces and storm water in each of the subwatersheds in Figure 1. Of the 18 subwatersheds monitored, Hawkestone Creek (6) and the Uxbridge Brook (16)—each received five As out of the eight indicators monitored. The Pefferlaw River (13), Oro Creeks North (11) and South (12) and the Black River (3) each received 4As. The subwatershed with no As but receiving three Cs and four Es, was the Barrie Creeks. “This report card represents an important benchmark that we can use to monitor change, evaluate our progress and identify the issues that require our attention,” said Ken Neale, Director of Communications for the LSRCA. “By taking all factors together in a watershed approach, we can monitor our collective effort to protect the environment and find a balance for the Lake Simcoe watershed.” Fig. 1
In addition to the eight tributary indicators graded, the report card looked at six lake indicators: oxygen, phosphorus, water clarity, benthic invertebrates, aquatic plants and the fish community. Although these indicators were not graded, the report card identifies the findings and provides a short description of their status. Consequently, the report found that oxygen levels in Lake Simcoe have been increasing in recent years and were higher than the 5mg/L objective established by the Lake Simcoe Environmental Management Strategy during the 2005-2007 period. In general, the report found that phosphorus concentrations (with the exception of Cook’s Bay station) are declining. Most results over the past four years were better than the target, the report card said. The report card also identified the increase in water clarity in recent years and suggested this may be an indication that constant filtering by zebra mussels is removing organisms and upsetting the balance of the lake. The results of aquatic plant life monitoring in the lake were consistent with expectations. The existence of a small number of wild lake trout was an encouraging sign and suggested that a limited number of new young fish are surviving to adulthood. A copy of the complete 22-page Lake Simcoe watershed report card can be acquired by contacting the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority at (905) 895-1281 or by visiting their website at www.lsrca.on.ca
Muskellunge restoration project continues In an effort to restore a population of mus- Mr. Boxall said the goal of the restoration kellunge in Lake Simcoe, Muskies Canada project is not to create a “put, grow and Inc., in cooperation with Fleming College, take” fishery that will continually require the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources ongoing stocking efforts. According to Jason Borwick from MNR, (MNR) and local Ontario Federation of the stocking of fall fingerlings of a quality Anglers and Hunters member clubs have supported a number of restoration projects size, balances the need for these fish to survive and the projects’ need for them to throughout the past year to improve this reproduce. once vibrant fishery. “We have no way of assessing our stockThe muskellunge fishery in Lake Simcoe ing success until these fish sexually mature has been closed since 2005 and will continue to be until at least 2010, giving fish- around age five and return to potential ery managers an opportunity to assess the spawning locations,” said Mr. Borwick. “At that time, netting programs targeting success of 10-year stocking and habitat restoration program. In 2007, the Lake Simcoe Muskellunge Restoration Project constructed a $60,000 dedicated facility at Fleming College to raise fall fingerling muskellunge. In the fall, over 1,600 fall fingerlings, averaging seven to 10 inches in length, were stocked in five habitat locations in Lake Simcoe and Over 1,600 muskie fingerling were stocked in five separate habitat the fishery manlocations in Lake Simcoe in 2007 with hopes they will survive and agement team is reproduce. eagerly awaiting these habitats will be used to assess the results that indicate the fingerlings have success of the program.” survived. “We are asking anyone who may inciden- While the restoration project to date has cost approximately $51,000, all of which tally catch a muskie over the next few has been borne by Muskies Canada Inc., years to report it to the MNR,” said Dave Jason Borwick from MNR, one of the orBoxall from Muskies Canada, ganizations that have provided considerAccording to Mr. Boxall one of the difficulties associated with successfully stock- able “in-kind” support, says the project is not about a cost/benefit analysis. ing a muskie population that will reproduce is knowing the optimum size that will “It is about restoring a native species and survive but yet is young enough to imprint. potentially re-establishing a world class fishery,” he says. “We want these stocked fish to return to appropriate spawining habitat and reporduce,” Mr. Boxall said.
Placing the future (of the lake) in their hands “Children growing up in the watershed around Lake Simcoe need to understand the value of the lake and the role that they have in protecting and restoring it,” says Dana Eldon. A former public school science teacher with the York Region District School Board, Eldon gives environmental presentations in classrooms and school gyms around the Lake Simcoe watershed. Between January and June this year her road show pitching for the health of Lake Simcoe has put her in front of more than 3,500 children. Eldon’s outreach significantly enhances the education program of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority. Part of her presentation promotes school use of the Scanlon Creek Conservation Area near Bradford, where almost 8,000 school visitors every year attend one-day and three-
day outdoor education programs. Working with a see-through 3D plastic model, Eldon shows students in Grades 7 and above how water travels over and under the ground. Added food colouring dramatically shows how contaminants can enter ground water through wells, septic systems or simply by soaking into the ground. “The students really get the idea of how a watershed works,” Eldon says with satisfaction. “That understanding leads very naturally into an opportunity to engage them about issues in their local environment. Then we work at developing ideas about how they can make changes in their everyday lives that will positively impact on the world around them.” For more information on how you can book a presentation for your group, contact her at 905-895-1281 ext. 242.
Georgina Island First Nation offers something for every season… ~ Year round fishing ~ Arts and crafts ~ Hiking ~ ~Aboriginal events ~ Cottage rentals ~ Food and drink ~ ~ Camping ~ Horseback riding ~ Contact Georgina Island Tourism Company (866) 340-4996 or (705) 437-3958 www.georginaislandtourism.ca
Putting a lock on phosphorus This spring and summer, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) will be testing a product that promises new levels of control over the phosphorus concentrations in Lake Simcoe and its tributaries. Phosphorus is a natural fertilizer that, in excess amounts, causes excessive growth of plants and algae in the water. When these plants and algae die, the process of decomposition consumes oxygen that fish can’t live without. Too much phosphorus means too many plants, too little oxygen, and the coldwater fish have trouble surviving. The product, called Phoslock®, is made by combining a naturally occurring clay called bentonite with a rare earth element called lanthanum. (The term "rare earth" was given to elements that, at the time of their discovery, were incorrectly believed to be hard to find. Most, including lanthanum, are now known to exist in large quantities.) These substances are not harmful in the concentrations that will be used. Lanthanum, in fact, is used as a medical treatment to reduce phosphate in the blood of kidney disease patients. Phoslock is mixed with water to form a slurry, which is then spread on the surface of the water. As the product sinks through the water, dissolved phosphorus is attracted to the lanthanum and combines with it to become insoluble, so it is no longer available as a nutrient to plants and algae. It can remove up to 95% of the phosphorus in the water, reducing one of the main causes of overabundant plants and algae.
As it binds with the phosphorus, Phoslock settles to the bottom of the water, where it forms a fine layer of sediment that effectively traps other phosphorus, preventing it from being taken up by plants. This spring and summer, field tests will be conducted at the Cane Parkway stormwater pond in Newmarket and the Scanlon Creek reservoir in Bradford. The goal is to study the phosphorus reduction, the reduction in algae, and the effect (although none is expected) on organisms living in the sediment at the bottom of the water. “Phoslock has undergone such extensive testing, we don’t expect any surprising results here,” said the LSRCA’s senior environmental monitoring scientist Dave Lembecke. “This product seems to be ideal for small bodies of water, and it can make a real difference at a reasonable cost when it’s applied to small, intense phosphorus concentrations. It’s not a practical application on large water bodies such as Lake Simcoe.” The centre canal in the Holland Marsh is also a good candidate for future treatment. Phoslock could be applied in the spring, while phosphorus concentrations are high and before the water is pumped out into the Holland River. Phoslock is currently being used in Australia, New Zealand, U.S., Asian countries and many European countries including the UK. Extensive laboratory testing has been carried out according to the EPA and water bodies currently being treated include drinking water reservoirs, irrigation channels and various types of ponds and lakes.
Money To Give Away – No Joke! The South Georgian Bay-Lake Simcoe Source Protection Region has money to give away. And you may already be eligible. The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority and Severn Sound Environmental Association are grouped by the province into the South Georgian Bay-Lake Simcoe Source Protection Region. The three partners are administering a stewardship program within their respective watershed areas. In January the Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Program began with the aim of helping provide a multi-barrier approach to drinking water protection. In Southern Ontario 90 per cent of land is privately owned. Since activities on lands near town wells can impact on everyone’s drinking water, individual citizens are going to be a big part of the solution. “We provide science-based information, technical advice and financial assistance so that the property-owners can take action on their own properties to protect public drinking water,” says Phil Davies, who manages the Drinking Water Stewardship Program for the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority. In this beginning phase the program targets land-owners within 100 meters of a munici-
pal wellhead and 200 meters of a municipal surface water intake. All eligible property owners around Lake Simcoe were sent letters explaining the program and the potential benefits to them and their land. Six workshops were also organized between January and the end of March to provide this information. “There are a lot of people who qualify for this who haven’t contacted us yet,” says Davies, “so there’s still money available that is earmarked for this work. Currently we are working with several people on decommissioning unused wells, protecting stream banks from erosion and projects to prevent pollution.” “However,” Davies adds, “septic system problems, storm water runoff and erosion are issues that negatively impact the whole lake’s water quality, not just the municipal water intakes. So we see that this effort, while focused on drinking water, also helps to improve the lake’s water quality. And that’s good for the fish, the anglers, the swimmers – everybody.” For more information on the Drinking Water Stewardship Program or the general Lake Simcoe Water Quality Improvement Program contact Phil Davies at 905-8951281 or email@example.com.
Ontario Stewardship Councils Serving the Lake Simcoe Community Stewardship Councils in Simcoe County, Durham and York Regions are volunteer networks of landowners and people with an interest in conservation and resource management. We focus on partnership on-the-ground projects, raising awareness and education and youth involvement. Ontario Stewardship is a program of the Ministry of Natural Resources. We invite you to check our website at:
Community Events June/July 2008 June/July/August—Red Barn Theatre (Ongoing throughout summer) Jackson’s Point, (905) 722-3249 June/July/August—Beaverton Farmer’s Market (Every Friday throughout summer) 2:00-6:00 pm Alexander Muir Park-behind library
July 8—Family Fishing Day Peninsula Resort, (10 am-1:00 pm) Pefferlaw July 9—Competitive Sport Fishing League Pro Am Port of Orillia July 10-13—Ribfest &Craft Beer Show Barrie Waterfront Parks
(705) 325-3261 July 26—Barrie Latin Festival Centennial Park (888) 848-5462 July 27—Beaverton/Thorah/Eldon Historical Society House Tour Meet at Beaver River Museum 1:00—5:00 pm (705) 426-9641
June 28-July 1—Promenade Days Downtown Barrie/Waterfront Parks www.downtownbarrie.ca
July 15—Aurora Bassmasters Club Tournament (3 pm—8pm) Cook’s Bay, Town of Georgina
July 4-6—Mariposa Folk Festival Tudhope Park, Orillia (705) 329-2333
July 18-20—30th Annual Orillia Scottish August 2-3—Jack Johnson Live in Festival Concert Couchiching Beach Park At Burl’s Creek (Oro/Medonte) (705) 325-1266 4:00 pm—11:30 pm July 19—Orillia Centre of Power Camping available Poker Run (8:00 am) www.burlscreekconcerts.com Orillia, Ontario
July 4-6—Barrie Brews & BBQ Festival Centennial Beach July 11-13—Purple Turtle Art Festival Briars Meadow, Jackson’s Point (905) 476-5686 July 5-12—National Fishing Week — Check on Take a Kid Fishing and Family Fishing events held throughout the Lake Simcoe watershed. No license required.
Scholarship endowment named after Lake Simcoe stewardship giant After years and years and years of volunteer service that has touched every facet of his community, Ernie Crossland, 87, has added a new cause to a long and distinguished list of crusades. Mr. Crossland is a passionate environmentalist and lifelong advocate for Lake Simcoe. Over the years he has either founded and/or Ernie Crossland, 87, is deterbeen mined to help environmental elected president/ stewards of the future with scholarship endowment. chair of more than 20 volunteer organizations. His influence and passion has been felt throughout the Lake Simcoe watershed in politics and by Habitat for Humanity, the Ontario Municipal Board, the Canadian agricultural industry, the Lions’ Club, the Anglican Church, the cultural community and an exhaustive list of environmental and conservation entities. He is a director and past-president of the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation and has witnessed first-hand the commitment and effort that has gone into creating programs designed to preserve the lake and its watershed. As a result, he is determined to make sure the next generation is fully equipped and prepared to carry the torch into the future. As a tribute to Mr. Crossland and in recognition of his dedication and contributions to the Lake Simcoe ecosystem, the Foundation, in partnership with the Town of Newmarket, created The Jean and Ernie Crossland Environmental Scholarship Fund. “All of the adults are concerned about the lake and are trying to do something about it. However, I asked the question, ‘What are we doing to ensure the younger generation have the tools to carry the ball?’ and I think the only way to do that is to have scholarships for those committed students who are really interested in the environment,” Mr. Crossland said. The scholarship fund is being managed by the York Region Community Fund and Mr. Crossland is campaigning to grow the original $20,000 endowment to $200,000.00.
August 1-4—38th Annual Kempenfest Barrie’s Waterfront (705) 739-4223
Port of Orillia (705) 326-4424 August 13—Barrie Bassmasters Club Tournament (2:00-7:30 pm) (705) 322-3904 August 16—Carrot Festival Downtown Bradford 9:00 am—Midnight (905) 775-5359 August 16—Second Annual Elmvale Water Festival Elmvale Arena & Fairgrounds www.elmvale.org August 16—York Bassmasters Club Tournament (7:00am—3:30pm) Beaverton August 16-17—Barrie Caribfest Downtown Barrie/Centennial (705) 792-6952
July 20—Competitive Sport Fishing League BM Ex Tour Location—TBA
August 4—Pefferlaw Pioneer Picnic Lions’ Hall, Pefferlaw (705) 437-2945
August 17—Aurora Bassmasters Club Tournament (7:00am—3:00pm) Beaverton
July 22-25—Leacock Summer Festival Historic Site, Orillia (705) 329-1908
August 7-10—Sutton Fair & Horse Show Sutton Fair Grounds (905) 722-9587
July 25-26—Leacock Sidewalk Sale Downtown Orillia
August 22—Barrie Dragon Boat Festival Heritage Park, Barrie (705) 728-1010
August 8-10—Waterfront Festival
August 22-24—Eaglewood Folk Festival Eaglewood Resort, Pefferlaw