Month: August 2015

Ontario Offering Grants to Help Protect Great Lakes

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

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Nipigon Bay PAC Meeting – October 1st Moved from Lake Helen to Nipigon

Ruby Lake with Nipigon Bay in background.
D. Crawford Photo. Ruby Lake just east of Nipigon with Nipigon Bay and Vert Island on Lake Superior in the background. A meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on October 1st at the Recreation Centre in Nipigon for persons interested in forming an ongoing environmental group for the Nipigon, Red Rock and Lake Helen area.

The next meeting of the Public Advisory Committee (PAC) to the Nipigon Bay Remedial Action Plan (RAP) will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, October 1st at the Nipigon Recreation Centre, 138 Wadsworth Drive in Nipigon. The meeting was initially scheduled for Lake Helen but the Red Rock Band has cancelled activities in the community out of respect for the passing of a community member. The general public is welcome to attend and the meeting is free of charge.

This meeting will focus on formation of an ongoing environmental group for the Nipigon, Red Rock and Lake Helen area. Public Advisory Committee members have stated that an environmental group should continue, even once the Nipigon Bay RAP is completed.

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:

 

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

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.

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Lake Superior Stakeholder Webinar – September 2

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.

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Man Circumnavigates Lake Superior on Paddleboard

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.

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