by Robert Moos, Lands and Forests Committee
Lead is a known to be a serious environmental contaminant. The on-going situation in Flint, Michigan, where the water supply was contaminated by lead, demonstrates how serious a problem it can be. Yet, many of us inadvertently may be harming our Georgian Bay wildlife with lead. How? By using lead fishing tackle, such as sinkers. Continue Reading →
Asian Carp continue to be a clear and present threat to the Great Lakes as they try to migrate up the Mississippi River system from the southern United States. The US Army Corps of Engineers have built three electric fences in the Chicago diversion canal which is the most likely pathway that Asian Carp could use to enter Lake Michigan. These barriers emit low level electricity into the water that has been sufficient to stop the advance of these invasive fish. Targeted poison that biodegrades has also been used in the canal and adjoining river to knock back populations of these fish particularly when the fences have had to be turned off for maintenance. Another vector for possible infiltration of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes are during unusual rain events which leads to some of the Mississippi tributaries to overflow their banks and possibly spill into small streams that could ultimately flow into one of the Great Lakes. With the amount of rain we have experienced this year it is likely that some river overflow has occurred. The third and last possible way for Carp to get into the Great Lakes is through people inadvertently releasing them either as released bait fish or as mature adults. There was a time not long ago that companies were importing live Asian Carp from the US into Canada to sell in fish markets. There is a demand for such live fish by some Asian customers. The Ontario government banned the practice of importing live fish two years ago.
As it stands right now invasive Grass Carp have been found in small numbers in Lakes Ontario and Erie. MNRF has been working with their US counterparts to DNA sample these fish to determine where exactly they came from and to determine if they have been able to successfully breed. The most recent and more alarming find has been a Silver Carp on the Great Lakes side of the electric barriers 14 Kilometers from Lake Michigan. Toronto Star article June 23rd, 2017 .
Over the past 6 years GBA has written to both our Federal and Provincial governments expressing our concern about Asian Carp. We have made deputations to the International Joint Commission and signed onto several petitions that have been circulated by fellow Non-Government Organizations. Most recently we have added our voice to others who were lobbying US elected officials to not support the White House’s call for a $290 million US cut to Great Lakes funding. Part of that money supports the work of the US Army Corps of Engineers in thwarting the advance of Asian Carp, and field research into the few escapes that seem to have made it into the Lakes, or at least past the electric barriers. The White House backed down on their cuts for 2017 but are advocating for cuts to the Great Lakes budget in 2018 and beyond.
A research report by Anna Martin regarding the potential pollution from the large past munitions manufacturing plants at Nobel, near Parry Sound, particularly during WWI & WWII, and the possible adverse health effects on the local population has been posted at: www.gumptioninc.org/parrysoundproject
In addition to the report there is a short video from Anna on this website and other background information.
This research raises serious questions, such as:
- What happened to the disposal of the munitions in Georgian Bay near Nobel and Depot Harbour?
- What did the water testing reveal at the old water treatment facility in McDougall?
- What is CIL currently monitoring, and what have they found to date?
- Does McDougall know these results and why haven’t they brought these issues forward to the public?
- Is there existing contamination on nearby residential properties that has migrated from CIL or DIL? and finally
- Is this contamination causing cancer, infertility and other chronic illnesses in the area?
GBA is working with a local group that is being put together to take over the work of Anna Martin and take it in a new direction. The current strategy is to take a cooperative, rather than confrontational approach, with the various parties that can answer the questions raised by the research report, such as McDougall Township, the relevant Federal & Ontario government departments, CIL & affiliates, and CIL’s successors/current land owners. We hope that this strategy will result in a concerted effort to check thoroughly for contaminants and remediate the area without too much delay.
Charting Canada’s troubled waters: Where the danger lies for watersheds across the country – Globe and Mail, June 17, 2017
From the Globe and Mail here is a comprehensive review of Canada’s freshwater ecosystems reveals rising threats from pollution, overuse, invasive species and climate change among other problems. Yet, the biggest threat of all may be a lack of information that hinders effective regulation, Ivan Semeniuk reports. Link to article.
Attention boaters !Summer is almost upon us and we are all heading out onto the Bay again. Now is a good time to refresh our knowledge of safe boating practices for ourselves, our families and for our cottage guests. Transport Canada has a great guide on boating safety. While it is directed at anglers and hunters the content of this pamphlet applies to us all. Check it out!and remember that all operators of power boats must have proof of competency such as the Pleasure Craft Operator Card.
What to do about missing or out of place channel markers, faded reflectors, etc.
If you notice a missing or out of place channel marker, damaged red triangle or black square or faded reflectors on any of these you should report this information to the Canadian Coast Guard in Parry Sound. You should include as much information as possible including buoy numbers, name of channel or specific location and details of the problem you are reporting. Written notes can be sent to;
Canadian Coast Guard
Aids to Navigation,
28 Waubeek street,
Parry Sound, ON, P2A 1B9
or phoned into 705-773-4322
Rob Moos and Scott McKay, Lands and Forests Committee
Lyme Disease is spreading in Ontario. Black legged ticks carrying the disease have been found from Prince Edward County in eastern Ontario to Pinery Provincial Park in the southwest. We just spent time camping in Pinery and there were lots of ticks!
To date the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit have NOT posted any advisories about the presence of Lyme Disease in the eastern Georgian Bay area. However, both health units have general information about Lyme Disease on their websites, so it is a local concern. It is prudent for all of us to avoid contact with the ticks that may spread this pernicious and difficult to treat disease.
The Ontario government has useful information about Lyme Disease and how to avoid ticks. You can access it by using the following link:
The May long weekend is almost upon us! The Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations
have compiled the following list of 10 Safety Tips to remind people to make safety a priority getting to and while at the cottage.
Here are the top 10 safety tips as you prepare to head up to the cottage, and after you get there.
- Check your car’s lights, signals, tire pressure and fluids before the trip to the cottage.
- Check your first-aid kit and replace any missing supplies.
- Check and maintain cottage smoke detectors and CO detectors.
- Check the condition of boat(s), including fuel lines and tanks. Check that all required safety equipment is on board and in good repair.
- Remove dry leaves and debris from the cottage roof and/or eavestroughs to reduce fire risk.
- Prepare for extreme weather events — create a family emergency preparedness plan for the cottage.
- Assemble a disaster safety kit for your cottage and car.
- Talk to your neighbours — plan ahead for emergencies by identifying vulnerable people and potential community volunteers.
- Talk to your insurance representative to review your cottage, car, and boat coverage.
- Pass along these tips to friends, family and neighbours.
“Start off the cottage season right by following these tips,” says Terry Rees, Executive Director of FOCA. “And carry on with the habit of checking them throughout
the year, to help ensure we all have a safe and enjoyable cottage experience.”
Source :CTV News, Angela Mulholland, Staff writer
Published Thursday, May 4, 2017
Tick numbers are on the rise in Canada, putting more Canadians on the lookout for Lyme disease. But a more serious tick-borne disease may be emerging — one that many have never heard of — that could pose an even bigger threat.
It’s called Powassan Virus and it’s transmitted by many kinds of ticks, including deer and groundhog ticks. Unlike Lyme disease though, which takes 24 hours to cause an infection after a tick bite, the Powassan Virus can be transmitted from a tick in as little as 15 minutes.
The one bit of bright news is that Powassan is still relatively rare in Canada, says Dr. Matthew Gilmour, the scientific director general of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s national microbiology laboratory.
“Thankfully, it’s actually in very few ticks,” he told CTV’s Your Morning Thursday.
“We’ve done a lot of testing of ticks, we’ve tested thousands of them, and we’ve found only a handful of ticks are carrying this virus.”
But the number of blacklegged ticks has expanded rapidly in Canada over the last 10 years, raising the possibility that more infected ticks could be in the tall grasses of Canada.
For those infected, it’s often difficult to diagnose a Powassan infection, since the symptoms are so similar to many other infections.
“An infection with Powassan starts out kind of general. One could have no symptoms whatsoever, or they could develop a fever or a headache,” Gilmour said. “From there, you could move off to more severe symptoms.”
Those serious symptoms include trouble speaking, confusion and lack of co-ordination. That’s usually a sign of an inflammation in the brain, either encephalitis or meningitis. There are no medications to treat Powassan and 10 per cent of cases involving brain infections are fatal.
Gilmour says the virus was first identified in the 1950s in a boy from Powassan, Ont., near North Bay, who became infected and died.
Since then, only 25 cases of infection have been identified – a tiny number in comparison to the 800 cases of Lyme disease that were diagnosed in Canada last year alone. In the U.S., the numbers aren’t much higher: only 75 Powassan cases have been reported.
But with warmer winters, public health officials in both Canada and northeastern United States say tick population are growing, which could lead to more tick-borne infections of all types.
Gilmour says the best way to fight Powassan Virus is to avoid getting bitten by ticks in the first place.
- Wear long pants if you’re out on a hike
- Use insect repellent
- Checking your entire body for ticks after time spent in wooded areas
- Carefully remove any you find as soon as possible
- For those in rural areas, keep grass on your property short and rake up leaves
- If you develop an unexplained fever and a headache after time in the woods, see your doctor