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THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE GREAT LAKES.......
Author Barbara Bobo
Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE GREAT LAKES.......

 

July 5,2017

PRESENTED BY HANNAH CANN, Coastal Stewardship coordinator, Goderich

For an audio recording of this meeting click HERE.

How “GREAT” are our lakes, and specifically Lake Huron... Well, simply put, Lake Huron has the longest fresh water sand beach shoreline in the world.

It that doesn't grab you, try this one; 75% OF THE WORLDS alvars and unique species, are on the Bruce Peninsula. And then there is drinking water..... for 1.5 million people! Not too bad for bragging rights, but the deeper truth is, these lakes are important. Its a high priority for humans to be mindful of protecting and promoting the health, and wealth of this sweet water sea. Sharing this valuable resource with the U.S. has thankfully been fruitful in the past, but individuals who use the lake are vital in every day upkeep and maintenance.

 

Composed of Woodlands, Wetlands, Bluffs, Gullies, Beaches, Dunes, Alvars, Bedrock, Estuaries, Islands, Nearshore and of course Fresh Water, our environment here is also OUR HOME. To extend our enjoyment to those that follow is important. We are the Heritage Makers for all species.

 

Our BPEG membership was led on a journey of discovery by Hannah Cann from the Goderich officeof The Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation . Noting that water levels have reached a 20 year high, which is part of the normal water level cycles the lakes experience over time, she detailed some of the environmental concerns residents can address and the isues some are already working on. Beginning in the 1930's invasive species, such as the Sea Lamprey, Alewife, and Rainbow Smelt began making an impact upon the lakes. Addressing the damage caused by these non-native species, environmental groups began restocking efforts in the 60's. In the 80's the Zebra and Quagga Musssels were introduced by vessels coming from foreign waters. 'Filter feeders' these species clean the water, which seems beneficial, but this reduces the amount of food for other native species and also allows deeper sun penetration which creates warmer water temperatures that prevents some fish eggs from hatching. There are also problems with mussels choking water inlet pipes, boat maintenance issues, and damage to other minor areas like barefoot swimmers! Ouch!

 

Closer to home, farmland run off can increase alga growth, a problem we are currently experiencing especially in Lake Erie. Hannah detailed how farmers and land owners can prevent and/or repair damage from these sources. Protecting your shoreline at a cottage or home site was also discussed with arial photos of improvements that work. Contact them for more information on these projects. There are dozens of helpful tips on landscaping and protecting beaches with natives species you can plant.

 

Another problem currently threatening the lakes is a European water plantPhragmites. This tall, hardy water verge plant is rapidly spreading in shoreline areas and threatens native vegetation and shoreline birds and turtles. The dead canes are a fire hazard as well.

 

Luckily the Asian Carp, wreaking havoc in more southernly waters, and providing U-Tube entertainment for others....has not reached the Great Lakes system. Perhaps the alga blooms will not reach us here either, but it will pay us to be mindful of the ramifications.

 

How about a “Butt Free Beach!” cigarette butts are highly polluting and some of our area beaches are already engaging in this program. Contact www.lake huron.ca for more information.

 

Nerdles?, Microbeads! To read more about these ubiquitous pollutants WE produce....go to

speakupforblue.com And then, take another look at that plastic water bottle and wonder if it is really that convenient, or safe!

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