About the State of the Bay Report

Georgian Bay is Unique

Its 30,000 islands form the world’s largest freshwater archipelago. And it is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

But what is the state of Georgian Bay?

This report gives you a snapshot of the environmental health for eastern and northern Georgian Bay. From the Severn River up to Killarney and McGregor Bay, this region contains an important diversity of habitats – including rocky shorelines, coastal wetlands, sand beaches, and distant outer islands, each of which support an amazing array of species.

Our team has reviewed some of the research from the Great Lakes, Lake Huron, and Georgian Bay to give you a summary of environmental conditions in your community. Measuring indicators helps us to better understand the environment along Georgian Bay. It helps to focus our efforts where they are needed most. It also allows us to identify healthy and ecologically important areas that require protection or enhancement.

We have found that although good environmental research has begun, there is a need for more research and monitoring. Look for stewardship programs that you can do with your family and your neighbours.

We all live, work or play in beautiful Georgian Bay.

Let’s protect it for future generations.

What is an Indicator?

An “indicator” is a feature of the environment that gives us signs as to whether the environment is healthy and when it is changing. For example, in this report, measuring phosphorus helps to tell a story about water quality. Past results can be compared to the present and future, to see trends.

Working with partners, we identified seven ‘aquatic ecosystem health’ indicators that help us to tell the story of the nearshore and offshore waters of Georgian Bay. It’s a complex story that has seen a lot of change, from the introduction of chinook salmon, the collapse of lake trout, and the arrival of quagga mussels. These indicators help us to better understand the state of the aquatic ecosystem as a whole – from the lower food web through to top predators.

Katrina Krievins, Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve

Partner Profile: Wasauksing First Nation

Aanii, Boozhoo, Kina Weya

Since time immemorial the Anishinaabe people of Wasauksing have utilized Georgian Bay, along with its many associated waterways. These waterways served as the highway for trade, and travel between the families of the area at the time.

The area spanning from Port Carling to the shores of Sandy Island down to the Moon River on Georgian Bay, would be accessed for different activities throughout the year. These activities would include agricultural work and the gathering of berries, fish, wild game, medicines, and trade. When different areas of land were accessed or resources were gathered, thanks and gratitude would be shown with traditional ceremonies.

The living connection between the people, the land, the air, and the water was respected and treated with the utmost importance. With proper respect, the abundance of resources would be sufficient to provide well into the future. The view of the Anishinaabe people is the same to this day.

The vast history of our people in the area shows Georgian Bay’s importance to our communities and to our culture. It is with this knowledge that we must stay respectful, educated, and maintain the health of our water and the creatures therein.

Miigwetch,
Chief Warren Tabobondung

Chief Warren Tabobondung

Next chapter: Water Quality