Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Georgian Bay

The Georgian Bay area is one of the best Canadian landscapes. I have been privileged to spend chunks of my summers there growing up. Thousands of islands dot the bay with cottages hidden among the many coves and inlets. Last summer I was really shocked at the low water level when I visited a small town on Georgian Bay, Pointe-au-Baril. Every year the water has been getting noticeably lower in an unnatural way. It is recorded that this has been the result of over a century of dredging and erosion of the St. Clair River combined with environmental changes. Less precipitation and warmer summers in recent years may account for the early years of dredging not being noticed but today the water level change is very evident and turning a lot of heads. provided a summary from the Sierra Club Great Lakes region which sums up this problem very well:

  • Reduced water levels have dried up 20% of the highest quality wetlands found anywhere in the Great Lakes; there are now 5-6 foot tall pine trees growing where once there was important fish spawning and nursery habitat .
  • Since last summer the water levels have dropped another 20 inches making this situation even more dire.
  • The problem stems from erosion and semi-annual dredging of the St. Clair River bed, causing excess outflow from the Upper Great Lakes through the lower lakes and out to the Atlantic.
  • The consequence is a rapidly deteriorating ecosystem, with fish and waterfowl dying, massive algal blooms, as well as stranded cottages, boathouses, docks, and dry marinas.
  • Since 2001 water levels in the middle Great Lakes have met the International Joint Commission (IJC) definition of Crisis Conditions and are now setting new record lows. Previously, the IJC’s Study Board tried to minimize the problem.
  • The problem is human-made and solvable

    If you are interested in protecting this true northern paradise please sign this petition:

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