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Nipigon Bay PAC Meeting – October 1st

August 21, 2015
Nipigon Bay Environmental Monitoring Plan

A long-term environmental monitoring plan has been developed for Nipigon Bay. This plan will be presented at the October 1st PAC meeting at Lake Helen. Click here for the introduction to the plan. Click here for full plan details.

The next meeting of the Public Advisory Committee to the Nipigon Bay Remedial Action Plan (RAP) will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, October 1st in the Community Resource Centre (main community hall) at Lake Helen, Ontario. The general public is welcome to attend and the meeting is free of charge.

A central focus of the meeting will be the future direction and purpose of the Nipigon Bay Public Advisory Committee, should the committee wish to continue in some form once the Nipigon Bay Area of Concern is delisted. Other agenda items include presentation of a long-term Nipigon Bay environmental monitoring plan and information from the Town of Red Rock about the status of funding for wastewater treatment plant upgrades, including timelines to completion of construction.

The following links provide the full meeting agenda and complete meeting information package:

 

Thunder Bay Harbour Oil Spill Contained

September 2, 2015
Superior Elevator

Superior grain elevator is located at 140 Darrell Avenue the mouth of the Kaministiquia River in Thunder Bay harbour. The elevator is a bulk grain handling facility.

A fuel oil spill of 200 litres at Superior Elevator has been contained. The spill, which occurred on August 31st, is from the lake freighter Michipicoten. Ship owners have a local contractor in place to deal with the spill and the Canadian Coast Guard is monitoring the situation. Find our more…

Ontario Seeks Wetlands Input

September 1, 2015
Nipigon River Wetland

Kayakers and canoeists enjoy the huge provincially significant wetland complex at the mouth of the Nipigon River.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has made public its draft discussion paper for wetlands. The discussion paper provides information about Ontario wetlands including potential areas of focus for wetland protection. Examples of policies in other jurisdictions are also included and an email address is provided for those seeking to provide feedback. A strategic plan for Ontario wetlands will developed as part of this initiative.

View the discussion paper and find out more…

Ontario Offering Grants to Help Protect Great Lakes

August 27, 2015
The remediation of George Creek at Centennial Park was one of the projects funded by the Great Lakes Gaurdian Fund last year.

The remediation project for George Creek in Thunder Bay’s Centennial Park (seen here under construction) was just one of the projects funded by the Great Lakes Guardian Fund last year. (Photo: Frank Edgson)

Ontario is calling on community groups to help protect, restore and enhance the Great Lakes by applying for a Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund grant.

Now in its fourth year, the fund provides a grant of up to $25,000 to not-for-profit organizations, schools, First Nations and Métis communities and other local groups for projects that have a direct environmental benefit to the Great Lakes. Past projects and activities supported by the fund have included:
  • Planting trees
  • Creating rain gardens
  • Restoring wetland habitat
  • Controlling invasive species
  • Cleaning up beaches or shorelines
  • Naturalizing stream banks and shorelines.
Supporting local efforts to protect the Great Lakes and other watersheds is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, creating a dynamic and innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.

Quick Facts

  • This year’s fund will award $1.5 million in total for eligible projects.
  • Since 2012, $4.5 million has been awarded to 221 community-based projects in Great Lakes watershed areas, including the St. Lawrence River Basin and the Ottawa River.
  • Projects must be completed by February 2017.
  • Since 2012, more than 11,000 volunteers have helped plant 85,125 trees, release 2,133 fish, create or enhance 643 kilometres of trail and collect 586 bags of garbage.
  • Ontario’s Great Lakes Basin is home to 40 per cent of Canada’s economic activity and 95 per cent of Ontario’s agricultural land.

Additional Resources

“I strongly encourage people to become local guardians of their lakes and apply for a Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund grant. This fund gives communities the opportunity to undertake activities that will make a real difference for the environment, while uniting community members around a common goal. The fund not only recognizes and supports our local Great Lakes champions, it empowers them to do their part to restore, protect and conserve our Great Lakes to keep them drinkable, swimmable and fishable. – Glen R. Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

Cloud Lake Demonstration Event (Aug. 21 from 2-4pm at Public Boat Launch)

August 19, 2015
Water sample with algae from Cloud Lake

Dr. Rob Stewart of Lakehead University holding a water sample collected on Cloud Lake. Algal blooms remain a concern on the lake. (Image: Samuel Pegg, 21 July 2015)

In recent years, user groups and resource managers have noticed a decline in the ecosystem conditions of Cloud Lake (an inland lake located about 40km southwest of Thunder Bay). In order to better define and understand environmental factors which may be affecting the watershed Lakehead University has agreed to collected baseline data this summer.

On Friday, August 21 from 2-4 p.m. researchers from Lakehead University will be at the Cloud Lake pubic boat launch demonstrating the various methods and procedures being used to collect water and fish quality data. Residents and campers alike are invited to participate in this event. If you have any questions about the research feel free to ask any of the on-site representatives  or direct enquiries to Dr. Rob Stewart, Department of Geography and the Environment, Lakehead University (link to his faculty profile). Cloud Lake Research is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the North Shore Steelhead Association, Superior Streams and Lakehead University.

Lake Superior Stakeholder Webinar – September 2

August 19, 2015

John Marsden of Environment Canada and Chris Korleski of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency invite participation in a binational webinar focusing on the recently revised Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, specifically the section concerning Lake Superior lakewide management. Open discussion of Lake Superior public outreach and engagement will be a special focus of the webinar. The session runs from 2 to 4 p.m. EDT (1 to 3 p.m. CDT) on Wednesday, September 2nd.

Webinar Registration Information:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1841525114962253826   

Webinar ID: 127-009-371

Read the full text of the invitation from Environment Canada and the U.S Environmental Protection Agency.

Man Circumnavigates Lake Superior on Paddleboard

August 14, 2015
Jared Munch paddling on Lake Superior (Photo: Kyle Lehman)

Jared Munch circumnavigated Lake Superior on a stand-up paddle board (SUP) spending 42 days traversing more than 2100 km in an effort to encourage youth to be engaged with the outdoors and to live healthy active lifestyles. (Photo: Kyle Lehman)

Surfer and whitewater paddling instructor Jared Munch finished a circumnavigation of Lake Superior on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP), according to the Duluth News Tribune. Jared paddled the 1,350-mile distance to raise funds for Neighborhood Youth Services in Duluth. The program is dedicated to outdoor recreation and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. Munch is believed to be the first to circle Lake Superior on an SUP.

It took two years for the Duluth native to plan his trip. He began paddling from the mouth of the Lester River on May 20, spending a total of 49 days on the water and traveling at an average speed of about 3.5 miles per hour. In several cases, Munch crossed large bays rather than paddling along the shore, which is why his total mileage came to less than 1,800 miles, the full circumference of the lake.

While most people use stand-up paddleboards on calmer waters nearshore, Jared’s efforts show that with the right skills and knowledge one can do amazing things with them.

July Podcast – Perspective on Public Engagement with John Jackson

July 15, 2015
John Jackson on the shore of Lake Superior's Nipigon Bay, LaGrange and Vert Islands in the background.

John Jackson on the shore of Lake Superior’s Nipigon Bay, LaGrange and Vert Islands in the background.

Listen to the interview with John Jackson (ensure your computer audio is turned on, volume up)

In the July, 2015 edition of Infosuperior’s podcast series, John Jackson provides perspective about efforts to increase Great Lakes public engagement. John is a resident of Kitchener, Ontario. He has a wide range of knowledge and depth of experience in Great Lakes environmental issues. John’s activities range from grass roots community efforts through to the highest levels of Great Lakes environmental governance. John is very familiar with Lake Superior and people in communities around the lake. He has visited many Lake Superior communities, in both Canada and USA, often on multiple occasions.

Listen to other Infosuperior podcasts.

“Beach Advisory” Issued for Boulevard Lake

July 8, 2015

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has issued an advisory for those interested in swimming at Thunder Bay’s Boulevard Lake. Swimming advisories, or “beach advisories,” are issued to advise swimmers of water quality conditions which may adversely affect a swimmers health. Read the advisory from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit here…

*UPDATE: July 10th – The Thunder Bay District Health Unit discontinues “beach advisory” for Boulevard Lake.

For information about Thunder Bay and area beach advisories click here.

July 8th Webinar: Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement & Public Outreach

July 2, 2015
The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement is a commitment between the United States and Canada to restore and protect the waters of the Great Lakes. A webinar focused on "Annex 2" of the agreement will be held on July 8th.

The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement is a commitment between the United States and Canada to restore and protect the waters of the Great Lakes. A webinar focused on “Annex 2” of the agreement will be held on July 8th.

A binational webinar focusing on Annex 2 of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, “Lakewide Management,” was held on Wednesday, July 8th from 1:00-3:00 CT (2:00-4:00 ET). Slides from the webinar can be found here. The webinar is intended to:

 ·        provide a brief overview of the Agreement, focusing on Annex 2;

 ·        provide an update of progress under Annex 2 thus far; and

 ·        hold an open discussion on the subject of public outreach and engagement under Annex 2.

 In early 2013, a revised and updated Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement entered into force. The revised Agreement covers issues such as Areas of Concern, lakewide management, and nutrients, but also covers new issues like invasive species and climate change. Annex 2 of the agreement is intended to assess the status of each Great Lake and address environmental stressors on a lakewide scale through an ecosystem approach.

Public engagement is a key principle of the Agreement, which describes such engagement as incorporating public opinion and advice, as appropriate, and providing information and opportunities for the public to participate in activities that contribute to the achievement of the objectives of this Agreement.  The webinar is intended to encompass an open discussion on the topic of outreach and engagement, including proven practices and suggestions for innovation.

All Great Lakes stakeholders (NGOs, citizens, academics, etc.) are welcome to participate in the July 8th webinar.