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Thursday, August 31, 2006

First weed survey in 60 years - Cooks Bay

First weed survey in 60 years

WEEDS PROBLEM? - Members of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority conduct a weed study on Cooks Bay.

The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority spent last week's doing the first weed survey of Cook's Bay in 60 years.

Funding was secured from the Lake Simcoe Environmental Management Strategy (LSEMS) to carry out a survey of the weed problem that has been spreading on the Bay so vital to the health of communities like Innisfil.

Rob Baldwin, manager of watershed science, said that most of the work they have done so far has been in the Innisfil section.

They are using a global positioning system (GPS) to survey every 500 yards.

There is a lot more loon tail (a native weed of the lake) that fish love than they expected. The full report will be out at the end of

Spetember or early October and it will also be posted on the Conservation Authority web site.

The weed problem in the Bay wasn't as bad last year as it has been said Baldwin. "We will be able to give residents a good, informed opinion."

"We ware taking a more scientific look at the lake. The number one thing is, it gives us a good baseline, a good reference point," added Baldwin. "We hope to continue with the weed survey every year."

"We need to understand what's happening so we can better manage the lake," stated Mike Walters, director of watershed management. "This is step one of finding what's out there."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority presents One Voice Action Plan

The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) announced Friday that in anticipation of the competition of phase 3 of the Lake Simcoe Environmental Management Strategy (LSEMS), the Authority has involved partner agencies, citizens, community groups, governments and scientists to help develop the One Voice Action Plan (OVAP).

"This is a draft for discussion," said Gayle Wood, CAO of the LSRCA.

The plan, drafted by the Conservation Authority, involves input from LSEMS partners, will help develop a new watershed responsibility structure.

"What we are saying is that there needs to be a new way to do business,' said Wood. "We need the government and citizens at the table."

The proposed "new cooperative" organizational structure would see citizen and the government representation on various committees; communications and education; policy and planning; science and monitoring; best management practices; and funding and fundraising.

After receiving comments and more detailed analysis, the OVAP Business Plan for 2007 2010 should be developed by December 2006, with the help of stakeholder and community input.

Gord Miller, E n v i r o n m e n t a l Commissioner of Ontario, said Lake Simcoe has always been a case study of how people want to live their lives and how it effects the landscape.

"We have to be more innovative and courageous in our land use," said Miller. He also stated changes will cost money and take considerable effort.

"The name of the plan is the One Voice Action Plan, and I hope people can speak with one voice for Lake Simcoe."

The purpose of the OVAP, as outlined by the

Authority, is to identify the ongoing needs and long term solutions; co-ordinate funding and planning efforts; engage and involve the government, community groups, organizations and the public; act as a conduit of information; marshal resources.

The four key priorities of the OVAP include communications, a responsibility system, adequate and substantial funding, and watershed based planning.

Wood also said they have to have the environment and development sector working together.

"We have to look at sustainable urban growth."

With such an divergent interest in the watershed, from fishermen to marinas to environmentalists, Wood said the key challenge is "how do you bering these folks together?"

"It's not going to be easy, but it will be achievable," she said.

Mike Walters, Director of Watershed Management, said the Conservation Authority will open a dialogue with developers within the watershed.

"We have to bring the values of everybody to the table," he said. Walters also said the Conservation Authority will be working with developers in the future and is looking to bring innovation and creativity when protecting the environment.

Present at the meeting was Marvin Geist, a development lawyer and resident of Innisfil.

"As far as I'm concerned, the last thing we want to do is use and abuse the watershed area," he said. "We are there to contribute to the community and the environment. Our industry is more than responsible and will continue to do our share."

Julia Munro, MPP York North, said it's a balancing act between the environment and developers.

"We have to accept the reality of the pressures of growth," she said.

Ladies of the Lake - Naked Truth

The Ladies of the Lake held their Naked Truth Action Planning aboard the Serendipity Princess in Barrie on Saturday.

"This is a historic day, bring people together," stated Anabel Slaight, co-founder of the Ladies. "We have to wake up to our responsibility."

Before boarding, participants were shown a slide show from events that took place at their symposiums in June. Pictures of above, beside, below and on the water were featured, as well as quotations from people who took part.

Aboard the Serendipity, participants were given three stickers to mark on various board throughout the boat. They were to place their dots on what they felt were the most important issues facing Lake Simcoe. The categories of Community Eco-nomics, Sustainable Development, Healthy Shorelines, Treasuring the Lake, The Next generation, Research, Policy/Legislation, and Lake Unity were presented.

"They are an amazing group of ladies," said Lady and Innisfil watershed resident Mary Jane Brinkos. "They are the most active organization on the Lake."

Innisfil resident Ken Simpson said the Ladies have created an interest and awareness of the Lake that the general public should be aware of.

"For the next generation of Lake residents, we need to work on a sustainable Lake Simcoe."

Fellow Lady and Chair of the Windfall Ecology Centre, Hillary Van Welter said she was very pleased with the turnout of the 90 people or so taking part in the days event.

"Given this is a Saturday in August, people have taken the time to come out and support this and that's incredible."

Van Welter said roughly 170 people participated in their symposiums and the feedback the Ladies are getting is fantastic.

She refers to Lake Simcoe as 'her' and says there are so many parts to her and she is like a sick friend asking for help. And that cannot be ignored.

"We all have a different role to play," she said. "The Conservation Authority has a role, and other groups have a role as well. We have to see how we all fit together."

She said there is no one boss in the eco system, and the ideas are collective.

"We believe we need to unite, but not under one authority," she said. "A collective voice needs to be made."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Round Goby enters Lake Simcoe !

Round Goby enters Lake Simcoe

Another invasive species has entered Lake Simcoe.

While various ministries and agencies pooled together last October to remove the round goby from the Pefferlaw River, one was recently caught in Lake Simcoe, 100 metres off shore from the tip of the break wall at the river.

"It's a great disappointment," said Jason Borwick, Ministry of Natural Resources District Management Biologist, Aurora.

Round gobies are fast breeders, aggressive fish, and feed on the eggs of native species. Bottom dwellers, they will feed on the insects and plant life other species rely on. This could impact many species of fish in Lake Simcoe, including lake trout, bass, sculpins, sturgeon, log perch and the walleye.

With largely unknown consequences that this finding could have on Lake Simcoe, Borwick said they can only take their cues from what is happening in the Great Lakes. He said round gobies were found throughout a number of depth ranges in the Lakes.

The round goby came to the Great Lakes in the ballast water of ships from Eastern Europe in the late 1980s first appearing in the St. Clair River.

Last October, the MNR, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the Ontario

Simcoe Federation of Hunters and Anglers (OFHA), Bait Association of Ontario and the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority staged a massive operation of goby removal in the Pefferlaw River. Over 4000 native fish were removed by being temporarily stunned, put into tanks, and relocated into Lake Simcoe. The chemical Rotenone was pumped into the Pefferlaw River to rid it of the round goby. Amonth later, minnow traps were placed in the river to catch any surviving fish, and none were found in the traps.

"We felt very strongly we had to try," remarked Borwick of the project. "That was our best chance of success. It obviously didn't prevent them from inhabiting the Lake."

The project earned the OFHA the Canadian Wildlife Federation's Doug Clark Memorial Award.

Round gobies are less than 25 centimetres in length, dappled brown in colour, have frog like eyes, thick lips and has a single fused pelvic fin.

In the St. Clair River, round gobies have flourished, while sculpin and log perch, both found in Lake Simcoe, have declined.

"They've had an impact on smallmouth bass in Lake Erie," said Borwick. He said the smallmouth bass are long living fish, but the round goby are consuming

their eggs and larvae the young feed on.

Although the effect will not be too noticeable over the short term, Borwick said anglers will notice the effects when they catch 20 gobies for every one perch. He is pretty confident with the numbers that were seen in the Pefferlaw River, the goby may become more established in the Lake as the years pass.

In the August 2006 edition of Ontario Out Doors, it was reported five round gobies were discovered in the Pefferlaw Brook this year.

"Public awareness will hopefully prevent the spread of the goby across Lake Simcoe," he said.

If you catch a round goby, you are asked to take the fish home, freeze it, and call the Invasive Species Hotline at 1-800-5637711.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

LSRCA is leading a 'One Voice Action Plan'

LSRCA is leading a 'One Voice Action Plan'

The recent release of The Naked Truth: Going behind the Science of Lake Simcoe, by the Windfall Ecology Centre and the Ladies of the Lake community group, is another demonstration of the much welcomed level of public interest in the health of Lake Simcoe, according to the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA).

"They are to be applauded for their resourcefulness in devising an admirable marketing and public relations campaign through allegiance, focus and ingenuity," said Gayle Wood, chief administrative officer of LSRCA. "The report brings some of the best scientific understanding of the lake's issues together with suggested social activism on personal, corporate and government levels. We are glad to see the available scientific work used so foundationally in developing a call for social action."

"We share a common purpose with groups like the Ladies of the Lake and the numerous other Lake Simcoe community advocacy groups," she added. "While we applaud their enthusiasm in presenting the information creatively, the whole truth is that it's time to focus and pool all of our resources for the lake."

The Naked Truth report acknowledged that: ". . . help must come from scientists, governments, and also the communities of people that Lake Simcoe has taken care of for centuries . . . ,"and that ". . . action is needed by a range of different stakeholders who unite, orchestrate and leverage their knowledge, wisdom, efforts and energy."

"We couldn't agree more," Wood declared. "We need to fully partner - through our One Voice Action Plan process - combining our expertise with their inspiring energy and creative resources. Let's not continue to walk a separate but parallel path . . . we need to truly define the future together."

The authority pointed out that those who have dedicated their professional lives to the lake know it needs urgent and coordinated help from everyone.

"Although much has been accomplished for the lake, much is yet to be done," observed Mike Walters, director of watershed management for LSRCA. "Unfortunately, over the past 15 years, LSRCA's efforts to protect and restore Lake Simcoe have been seriously encumbered by changing political priorities and a lack of adequate and sustainable funding."

Van Loan working for Lake Simcoe

Van Loan working for Lake Simcoe

About 12 people showed up recently in Bradford for York - Simcoe MP Peter Van Loan's Town Hall meeting.

He said the aim of the session was to update the public about the progress the government has made since taking office in January.

"What I've heard is that people are happy with what the government has been doing over the past few months," Van Loan said.

Regarding Lake Simcoe, Van Loan said he is working to get ballast water rules in place. He has been concerned invasive species being released into the Great Lakes by ships that have taken on ballast water from elsewhere in the world.

"Ballast water regulation is important in protection against invasive species," he said. He has recently joined together with Conservative MPs from the Lake Simcoe watershed and met with the Minister of Transportation to address the issue.

Van Loan is also addressing designating Lake Simcoe as an area of concern.

"I am working with people at the Federal office to try and get it done."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lake Simcoe - woman was taken to hospital after she was hit by a man riding a personal watercraft

In another incident around 4 p.m. Sunday on Lake Simcoe in the Kempenfelt Bay area, a woman was taken to hospital after she was hit by a man riding a personal watercraft, Sgt. Gene Hettinga of Barrie police said.

The 28-year-old woman, from Barrie, was snorkelling she was hit.

She was first taken to Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie and later airlifted to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.

The woman remains in hospital and her injuries are serious but not life-threatening, Sgt. Hettinga said.

Barrie Police have determined that the incident was an accident and the boater will not be charged, he said.

"The waves were a contributing factor. The wave height was two to three feet and that wasn't good conditions to be snorkelling in because, honestly, you can't be seen," he added.
A man in his 20s was missing in the waters at Bass Lake Provincial Park, just west of Orillia, Monday after he apparently fell out of his boat, McCuaig said.

Police began searching by boat and helicopter after a call about the missing man came in shortly before 4 p.m.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Summary of Boating and Drinking Laws in Ontario

As of June 24, Ontario has some of the strictest anti-drunk boating rules in the world.

Under Bill 209 now passed into law, drunk boaters will be subject to the same suspension penalties that now apply to drivers.

Boaters whose blood-alcohol level is 0.05 (50 mg per 100 ml) could be taking the bus home because of an immediate 12-hour suspension of their drivers licence. If they blow 0.08 or more, or if the police deem their ability impaired, the offender will receive a 90-day suspension.

Fines and jail terms will be left to the discretion of the judge on a case-by-case basis; however, a conviction will mean an immediate, one-year suspension.

Boating while impaired is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Not only can you be charged for impaired operation of a vessel, or of operating a vessel with blood alcohol over the legal limit, you can also be charged if you are just having a drink while operating a vessel. While statutes differ by province, Canadian Law as it relates to drinking aboard can be broken down to two basic scenarios. For the majority of Canadian boaters, alcohol cannot be consumed by the operator of the vessel or passengers while the vessel is underway. The vessel has to be anchored, moored or hard aground. In fact alcohol is not even allowed on board unless the vessel is equipped with cooking, sleeping and sanitation devices. In short, the boat must qualify as a residence to legally have alcohol present. It must be noted that in Quebec, the regulations are somewhat different. While the operator cannot drink while underway, it is permissible for passengers to have a drink.

In all provinces of Canada, operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol is illegal. There are some differences in each province, but in generally you can carry alcoholic beverages if they are packaged and out of reach. No one can consume alcoholic beverages while the boat is being operated. You can only consume it onboard if the boat is a "home", and you are NOT underway. Even then, in Ontario, you must not "display alcohol to the public", whatever that means. If you are fastened to a dock, you should check with the marina to see if it's a "private club" or public place. Or just steam off the labels before you carry wine to a picnic table. In parks, even that will get you into trouble...

Transporting Alcohol (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario):
Under what circumstances is it illegal to transport beverage alcohol?
It is illegal to transport beverage alcohol in a motor vehicle, a motorized snow vehicle or a boat unless the beverage alcohol is in a container that is unopened and the seal unbroken, or unless the beverage alcohol is packaged in baggage that is fastened closed or is not otherwise readily available to anyone in the vehicle. In a boat, the beverage alcohol must be stored in a closed compartment.
What boats may carry alcohol (Ontario Liquor Laws Sec.3/7):
A boat with permanent sleeping accommodations and permanent cooking and sanitary facilities, other than a boat used to carry passengers for hire, is considered to be a private place while the boat is at anchor or is secured to the dock or land. ...

Ontario Liquor Licence Act:

Sec. 32 (3) No person shall operate or have care or control of a boat that is underway while there is contained in the boat any liquor, except under the authority of a licence or permit.

Sec.32 (4) Exception-Subsection (3) does not apply if the liquor in the boat, (a) is in a container that is unopened and the seal unbroken, (b) is stored in a closed compartment.

Sec. 32 (5) A police officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that liquor is being unlawfully kept in a vehicle or boat may at any time, without warrant, enter and search the vehicle or boat and search any person found in it.

Sec.32 (6) Definition-In this section, "boat" includes any ship or boat or any other description of vessel used or designed to be used in the navigation of water.


Sec. 3 (7) A boat with permanent sleeping accommodation and permanent cooking and sanitary facilities, other than a boat used to carry passengers for hire is considered to be a private place while the boat is at anchor or is secured to the dock or land.

DRINKING AGE: The legal drinking age in Ontario is 19 years old.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Lake Simcoe Aid Concert - August 19th Barrie

A fun, rockin’ way to help put Lake Simcoe on a path to recovery. Tickets available now.
Barrie waterfront August 19th
Listen to five-time Juno Award Winner Gino Vannelli...
and Matt Dusk with his 'hot band’.
Hear local group Dave Hadfield & Friends...
as well as Lake Simcoe's new song.
Help rescue Lake Simcoe and celebrate at the same time

Date: Saturday August 19, 2006 Time: Gates open 2 pm, music at 4 pm
Location: Heritage Park, Downtown Barrie, on the shores of Lake Simcoe
Proceeds: 100% of the proceeds fund the implementation of the Naked Truth Action Plan to Rescue Lake Simcoe.
Admission: $50 plus GST. VIP Tickets: $125 plus GST for VIP tickets. (Waterfront table seating, access to the stars, refreshments served by the Ladies of the Lake, and more!)
Car Parking: As available for Heritage Park
Boat “Parking”: As available on Kempenfelt Bay. Rowing Club to collect concert admission.

By phone
1–877–788–3267 (FANS) At these participating retailers
Music Pro 56 Barrieview Dr., Barrie 705-725-1070
Robert Simpson Brewing Co. 105 Dunlop St E, Barrie 705-721-8989
On-line at
Artistic Revival 206 Main Street South, Newmarket 905-953-0901
Manticore Books 103 Mississauga St E., Orillia 705-326-7776
Queensway Marketplace 205 The Queensway S., Keswick 905-989-9909
Buy Tickets Online... All Reasons Party Rentals 5007 Baseline Rd., Sutton West 905-722-4077

For more information Judi Bolton (705) 722-7573

Event Website:

Wild Lake Trout found in Lake Simcoe

Wild Lake Trout found in Lake Simcoe

Signs Show Coldwater Fish Making Tentative Comeback

SUTTON — “A small number of wild lake trout are surviving to adulthood in Lake Simcoe – a promising sign that the popular fish may be rebounding”, says Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay.

Wild trout have been virtually extinct in Lake Simcoe since the late 1980s because of excess phosphorus in the lake and loss of fish habitat. The Lake Simcoe Environmental Management Strategy, a partnership involving three levels of
government, First Nations, the Lake Simcoe RegionConservation Authority and the public, has focused on reducing phosphorus in the lake to help restore habitat to support a self-sustaining community of coldwater fish.

Over the years, the Ministry of Natural Resources has stocked lake trout in Lake Simcoe to maintain a viable population while ecological conditions in the lake improve enough to support a self-sustaining population of lake trout. This has also helped maintain the significant economic and social benefits of a fishery that would otherwise have been lost in the region.