2018 State of the Bay Report
This technical report contains the full indicator reports as prepared by the primary authors and contributors. It also contains detailed references to data sources, data gaps and research needs. Indicator reports provide the trend (where possible) at different scales (i.e. Lake Huron, Georgian Bay and regional) depending on the information available.
Data Gaps and Research Needs
In addition to compiling and summarizing the most recent research available on the 11 ecosystem health indicators, another primary goal of the State of the Bay report is to identify and present data gaps and research needs. This is an important step in directing future research in order to help improve our understanding of ecosystem health.
The State of the Bay Technical Report features data gaps and research needs for each of the 11 indicators, and a consolidated list can be viewed here. Academics, researchers, and interested individuals are encouraged to have a look at this list and consider how they can contribute to filling knowledge gaps.
Please contact David Bywater, Conservation Program Manager, ([email protected], 705-774-0978) about research and monitoring opportunities.
2013 State of the Bay Report
This technical contains the full indicator reports as prepared by the primary authors and contributors. It also contains detailed references to data sources, data gaps and research needs, and outlines programs and practices to encourage public participation and stewardship.
EGBSC Fish Habitat Assessment Project
In 2015, the Eastern Georgian Bay Stewardship Council received funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada to carry out a 32-month project to assess spawning, nursery, rearing, and foraging habitat in eight tributaries to eastern Georgian Bay, within the Parry Sound District. The eight tributaries assessed were:
- Seguin River
- Shebeshekong River
- Shawanaga River
- Naiscoot River
- Magnetawan River
- Key River
- Pickerel River
- Sucker Creek
Lake Sturgeon, Walleye, and Sucker species have been experiencing varying levels of decline in parts of eastern Georgian Bay. Accordingly, fish habitat assessments were focused on these species with the goals of: (1) determining whether there is sufficient habitat available; and (2) identifying and prioritizing opportunities for restoration. Assessments were carried out between the river mouths and the first major spawning area or barrier to fish passage. As part of the broad habitat assessments, the following information was collected on each river:
- Basic water quality parameters (pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen)
- Water temperature
- Water velocity
- Water level fluctuations
- Aerial photographs
- Underwater photographs and videos
- Substrate type
- General size of habitat
- Accessibility of spawning areas during different flow regimes
- Potential limitations or indicators of stress
- Opportunity for restoration
The results of the assessments, as well as recommendations for management and future research, are presented in tributary reports for each river. In addition, as an outcome of the fish habitat assessments, the Shebeshekong River was recommended for restoration, and work on the river was completed in the fall of 2017.
Tributary reports developed as part of EGBSC’s Fish Habitat Assessment project:
Coordinated Nutrient Monitoring Program
Since 2014, the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve (GBBR) has worked with partners to develop a nutrient monitoring strategy for eastern Georgian Bay, recognizing the efforts of volunteers, townships, organizations, and agencies.
The overall objective is to improve the coordination and collection of nutrient information in eastern Georgian Bay. The strategy also aims to ensure consistency in terms of what and how nutrients are measured, in light of current federal, provincial and regional government monitoring programs.
The project is funded by Environment Canada’s Lake Simcoe South Eastern Georgian Bay Clean Up Fund and the Lake Huron Framework for Community Action, with partner support from many organizations and other research agencies
Nutrient monitoring refers to total phosphorus (TP) monitoring, as it is the nutrient that controls the growth of algae and most living biota in the aquatic environment.
A key recommendation from the nutrient monitoring strategy is for organization and volunteers to continue and/or join the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s (MOECC) Lake Partner Program (LPP). The LPP is an Ontario-wide, publically funded, free program that collects data about phosphorus, water clarity, calcium and temperature from volunteers. Advantages to the LPP are that is facilitates comparisons with other organizations monitoring on the Bay, as well as MOECC and Environment Canada monitoring programs.
In 2015, GBBR conducted a review of the 15 nutrient monitoring programs within its boundaries. It determined that current Federal and Provincial monitoring programs are well established and effectively collect water quality data needed for open water and nearshore areas of eastern Georgian Bay.
The review found that monitoring conducted by volunteers, ratepayer associations and townships plays an important and complementary role, and would benefit from standardized guidelines and training, where necessary.
Recommendations from that review identified the need for increased monitoring in enclosed bays and inland lakes where there are no long-term programs in place. GBBR facilitated the preparation of an “Enclosed Bays and Inland Lakes Phosphorus Monitoring Guideline” for use by townships, ratepayer associations, and volunteers to facilitate their participation in nutrient monitoring in these areas, to help fill this gap.
The guideline presents a targeted number of recommended monitoring locations for organizations and/or volunteers to fulfill. However, if there is greater capacity to add locations, the guideline presents a protocol for selecting and monitoring these sites.
Where there are additional concerns relating to algal blooms, the collection of additional water quality data should be determined on a case-by-case basis following a review of existing data. The Guideline includes a decision tree to help facilitate how further monitoring could occur under several different scenarios. If participants in monitoring decide to expand their activities beyond the Lake Partner Program, the guideline ensures that information is collected in standardized fashion.
Reports developed as part of GBBR’s “Coordinated Nutrient Monitoring Program”:Water Quality Monitoring Along Eastern Georgian Bay: A summary of water quality and nutrient monitoring programs along eastern Georgian Bay Nutrient Monitoring in the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve Enclosed Bays and Inland Lakes Phosphorus Monitoring Guideline