Month: March 2018

Citizen Science Presentation in Nipigon – April 3rd

Collecting Stream Data
A Lakehead University student collects stream data, 2016.

Lakehead University will be presenting information about an environmental initiative proposed to begin this summer during a meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. on April 3rd at the Lake Helen Community Resource Centre (community hall), at Lake Helen, Ontario. The general public is welcome to attend and the meeting is free of charge.

At the meeting, Dr. Rob Stewart of Lakehead University’s Department of Geography and Environmental Science will outline plans to engage North Shore residents in “citizen science.” Active learning is fundamental to the project, which aims to collect data for area streams including water temperature, water quality, flow rates, substrate material and barriers to fish passage. The long-term objective of the project is to use collected data to identify streams which could benefit from rehabilitation efforts. Some area streams have been damaged by development and construction, impairing movement of fish to productive habitat and spawning areas. Training for community volunteers from the Lake Helen, Red Rock, Nipigon area will be provided by the university. The project is intended to stress the importance of watersheds, which transcend political boundaries. A presentation will also be provided about environmental initiatives of the Red Rock Indian Band.

The meeting is being hosted by the Nipigon Bay Remedial Action Plan and will conclude with a discussion about future direction for the program’s Public Advisory Committee.  This volunteer group has assisted with remedial, or environmental restoration efforts, on Nipigon Bay and the lower Nipigon River for many years. Efforts have ranged from pulling garbage out of Nipigon’s Clearwater Creek through to a project aimed at improving fish passage at Kama Creek, near Kama Point on Lake Superior.

Anyone with an interest in the environment is encouraged to join Public Advisory Committee members as they learn, discuss future direction and hear about projects with potential to engage Nipigon area residents. A similar citizen science project is planned for the watershed around Terrace Bay. Proponents have expressed interest in establishing  a network of watershed environmental efforts along Superior’s North Shore.

 

 

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Thunder Bay PAC Meeting – April 4th

The Public Advisory Committee (PAC) to the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan (RAP) will hold its annual meeting at 7 p.m. on April 4th in ATAC Room 3004 at Lakehead University. Evening parking at Lakehead University is free of charge and available right beside the ATAC building.

Meeting Objectives:

  • carry out election of chair or co-chairs
  • review status of Beneficial Use Impairments
  • reiterate remaining RAP actions
  • provide a report from the newly formed Wildlife Committee
  • provide a report on RAP activities from the RAP Coordinator
  • prepare for April 18th meeting with Transport Canada, solicit for “Sediment Quality” Sub-Committee members.

Meeting Package:

Remedial Action Plans work to address environmental chemical, physical, and biological degradation resulting in pollution and impacts to habitat in Areas of Concern on the Great Lakes. They are supported by Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Lakehead University.

The meeting is open to the public and all are welcome to attend. There is no charge. Observers do not participate in committee decisions but may be allowed to address the meeting at the discretion of the chair.

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March 9 Public Webinar – State of Lake Superior

State of Lake Superior Webinar
A public webinar will be held on Friday, March 9th at 9:00 am Central/10:00 am Eastern focusing on the state of Lake Superior, as recently summarized in a 2017 report on the State of the Great Lakes.

A public webinar will be held on Friday, March 9th, at 9:00 am Central/10:00 am Eastern for all interested stakeholders. The webinar will focus on the state of Lake Superior, as summarized in the recently released State of the Great Lakes 2017 reports, and actions being taken to study, restore, and protect the Lake Superior ecosystem as part of the Lake Superior Lakewide Action and Management Plan (LAMP).

Webinar link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2375297348468914945.

Toll-free call-in #: 1-877-413-4781. Conference ID: 2346137#.

Agenda (Eastern Standard Time)

10:00 am — Welcome and roll call, Lake Superior Partnership Working Group Co-Chairs, Liz LaPlante of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and Steve Clement of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

10:10 am — State of Lake Superior and LAMP Implementation highlights, led by Liz LaPlante of USEPA and Rob Hyde of ECCC

1. Background on the LAMP and Lake Superior Partnership

2. State of Lake Superior and Status of LAMP Implementation

     A. Status of Habitat and Species

          – Overview of LAMP Project at National Marine Conservation Area, by Doug Tate, Parks Canada

          – Overview of LAMP Project, “Frog Bay Land Acquisition” by Chad Abel, Red Cliff Band

          – Overview of LAMP Project at Buffalo Reef, by Steve Check, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

     B. Status of Aquatic Invasive Species

          – Overview of LAMP Project to “Add additional locations to Aquatic Invasive Species early

             detection/rapid response surveillance” by Mike Seider, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

     C. Status of Watershed Impacts and Climate Trends

          – Overview of LAMP Project, Tribal discussion on Climate Change by Aubrey Maccoux-LeDuc,

          Bay Mills Indian Community

     D. Status of Toxic Chemicals in Lake Superior

          – Overview of LAMP Project to “Increase efforts to educate the public on new and emerging chemicals”

          by Curniss McGoldrick, Ontario Ministry Of the Environment and Climate Change

11:10 am — Questions, open discussion

11:25 am — Wrap up and next steps, including State of Lake Superior Conference in Fall 2018

11:30 am — Adjourn.

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Canadian Budget Contributes 4 Billion To Support Science

The 2018 Federal budget released on Tuesday, February 27, aims to renew Canada’s science research and innovation sectors. After several years of Federal budget cuts for scientific research under the previous federal administration, research in Canada was suffering.

The budget has taken into consideration the recommendations provided by Canada’s Fundamental Science Review, run by Dr. David Naylor. The review identified declining funding per researcher and a need to change how the Canadian government invests so that international, interdisciplinary and ground-breaking research would receive greater support. It also emphasized the need to develop the next generation of diverse scientists.

In an attempt to address the issues identified by Canada’s Fundamental Science Review, the 2018 Federal Budget has proposed investments into Canada’s research system that total almost $4 billion dollars.

The Government plans to invest $1.7 billion over five years through Canada’s granting councils and research institutes and over $1.3 billion over five years for investments into laboratories, equipment and infrastructure. The three granting councils involved include: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC); the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR); and thenSocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

The Federal government proposes a combined investment of $925 million into these three granting councils and an investment of $275 million into a new tri-council fund in support of “international, interdisciplinary, fast-breaking and higher-risk” research. The three granting councils will also be required to develop new systems to increase collaboration amongst themselves and to support interdisciplinary research and diversity amongst recipients. Additionally, $231.3 million will be invested into the Research Support Fund for university overhead costs and indirect research costs that are not covered through the granting councils.

The 2018 Budget has allocated $210 million over five years to the Canada Research Chairs Program, suggest this money may be used to “better support early-career researchers” and increase the diversity of nominated researchers.

 

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Trending on Twitter: Lake Michigan’s Blue Ice

I-75 Pileup

Ice at the Straits of Mackinac in a recent photo by Aaron Springer.

Our lake is Superior but Lake Michigan is right up there too, some contending its even on a level with Huron. Be that as it may, Superior is a common bond for residents of Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. So to, Lake Michigan is a common bond for Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

It’s not often that Infosuperior writes up Lake Michigan but this time an exception is being made. We’re in good company. The Lake is getting thousands of mentions on Twitter, also NBC News, Huffington Post, even People Magazine.

Why Is Lake Michigan Getting All the Attention?

It’s the ice. Blue ice that is. Up around the Mackinac Bridge, which straddles the gap between Lakes Michigan and Huron, ice has been piling up in massive quantities. The reason this ice is attracting so much attention is its colour – blue.

NBC News on Twitter
An NBC News Twitter post about Lake Michigan’s blue ice.

Why is Ice Blue?

Blue ice is certainly not unheard of on the Great Lakes but is more of an occasional occurrence.

Ice sometimes freezes evenly and slowly resulting in a composition of large crystals through which light can penetrate deeply with reduced obstruction from bubbles. As the light penetrates the ice, some of the red wavelengths, the longest wavelengths of visible light, get absorbed. In fact, the absorption of light at the red end of the spectrum is six times greater than at the blue end. The deeper the light penetrates through the ice, the more photons at the red end of the spectrum are lost. This loss of reflected red light, or wavelengths, produces blue to the human eye. Blue is the shortest wavelength of visible light, bouncing out of the ice and resulting in a deep aqua colour to the human eye.

Most Blue Ice is Polar

Most blue ice is found in the polar regions. While the Great Lakes are often cited as the largest source of fresh water in the world, the amount of fresh water in the polar ice caps dwarfs the amount of water in the Great Lakes [Siberia’s Lake Baikal is often conveniently forgotten as well, containing more fresh water than all 5 Great Lakes combined].

Twitter post on Lake Michigan Blue Ice
Lake Michigan’s blue ice has lit up Twitter, including attention from the Huffington Post (bottom).

 

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Canada Announces $1.5 Billion for Nature Conservation

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has reacted positively to new Canadian federal conservation funding. The NCC cooperates with other organizations, including the federal government, to carry out conservation efforts. Listen to the above 10′ podcast where the NCC’s Gary Davies outlines the work aimed at preserving natural diversity on and around Lake Superior.

Safeguard 17% of Canadian Land and Inland Waters by 2020

The Government of Canada will provide 1.3 billion over 5 years for environmental conservation. The funding is part of Canadian efforts to safeguard at least 17% of Canadian land and inland waters by 2020. Funding is part of the latest Canadian budget, released this week. Parks, wild spaces, aquatic ecosystems, species at risk and private land conservation all stand to benefit.

Funding includes:

  • $500 million for a fund to protect sensitive ecosystems
  • expansion of species protection
  • assistance for Indigenous peoples’ conservation efforts
  • $167 million over five years for research and preservation of endangered whale species, including belugas in the St. Lawrence River estuary.

The federal government says an additional $500 million will come forward from the private sector and other levels of government as a result of the federal funding.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) says they feel the funding will be a “game changer.” Groups like the Nature Conservancy have been very active on Lake Superior. NCC has purchased several properties, some of them very extensive, all in efforts aimed at conservation of ecological diversity. The group uses a collaborative approach to purchase and conserve lands, often cobbling together funds from private, government and non-profit sources.

Related:

 

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Lighthouse Artist in Residence Program Seeks Applicants

Dennis McGonagle
Artist Dennis McGonagle from Los Angeles paints on the south shore of Porphry Island, summer 2017, Hardscrabble Islands in the background.

The Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior Artist-in-Residence program is accepting residency applications until March 31st. Porphry Island lighthouse on Lake Superior is the site of the summer 2018 residencies.

Porphry Island has inspired previous artists who have resided there including Michel Dumont, Gayle Buzzi and Lois Nuttall. Their work will be on display at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery from February 22nd to March 21st.

Gayle Buzzi, a recent arts graduate from Lakehead University said, “It’s a chance to escape everyday life, paint in the fresh air and experience Lake Superior”.

Paul Capon, Chair of Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior said this year’s program will be accepting 4 artists, each for a two week term. He added, “We want to provide sufficient time for the artists to fully acclimatize to the surroundings of the Porphyry Island Lighthouse setting.” The program has attracted submissions from artists working in a variety of media. Some of these artists have been regional and others have come from much further afield.

The Thunder Bay Art Gallery exhibit includes work by six artists in a variety of media including photography, ink, oil, ceramics and mixed media. The work of photographer Lois Nuttall is included, with photos on canvas illustrating the unique island lighthouse setting.

Successful applicants to the program are provided with a studio space as well as room & board. This gives them the opportunity to create and share creations inspired by this Lake Superior location and its rich history.

Web link: www.clls.ca/artist-in-residence.

Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior would like to thank the Thunder Bay Art Gallery for generously hosting the exhibit in their Community Room from Thursday, February 22 – Wednesday, March 21, 2018.

Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior is a not-for-profit, charitable organization. The mandate of the organization is to preserve, protect and promote public use of lighthouse dwellings on the Canadian shores of Lake Superior.

For further information please contact:

Paul Capon, Chair,
Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior
807-344-3671, Pmcapon@tbaytel.net

Links to previous articles about Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior:

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