FOCA Elert - February 2020

LAST CALL for the FOCA AGM & Spring Seminar 
Saturday, March 7, 2020

This year's theme is "Keeping the Focus on Waterfront Ontario" and the event includes seminars, displays, the FOCA Annual General Meeting, and presentation of the FOCA Achievement Award to a member Association.  Our special guest will be Andrea Khanjin, Parliamentary Assistant to the Ontario Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.  Read the agenda, and register to participate in person or by webinar, here:

Your invitation to attend the event is in this video from the Executive Director:
February greetings from FOCA's Terry Rees, from waterfront Ontario (2020)
February greetings from FOCA's Terry Rees, 
from waterfront Ontario (2020)
Invasive Species Corner

Invasive Species Week
As we come to the end of Invasive Species Week (Feb.24-28, 2020), FOCA would like to recognize all the lake associations who galvanize their volunteers into action on behalf of Ontario's waterfronts! ( Pictured are just a few of the many dedicated volunteers working hard to prevent the spread of invasive species in their communities.)

With over 180 non-native species established in the Great Lakes, preventing the spread may seem like an overwhelming task. Yet, there are some simple things boaters can do: CLEAN off any plants or debris, DRAIN bilges and ballast water, and DRY any wet areas of your boat. Report sightings to EddMapS Ontario. Get links and tips here:

You asked, FOCA found the answer
Question: What are Hydro One's practices for field teams, around preventing the spread of invasive species? 
FOCA pursued the question with our contacts at Hydro One, and we've posted their response here: 

If you have particular concerns about a Hydro One team in your area, make them known via FOCA, or email:  [email protected] .  
FOCA's Gold-level Sponsors

support our work!

Please, support them.

CottageLINK Rental Management
Advocacy & Policy Updates

Waste Bin Removal in Muskoka
FOCA has been following the issue of bin removal in the District of Muskoka on behalf of our members in the region, especially island cottagers who have depended upon these disposal bins. According to a posting by the District of Muskoka, at the direction of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, all 88 unlicensed bin sites are planned for removal by 2023; 13 of the sites will be removed this year. Our member groups, the Muskoka Lakes Association, the Kahshe Lake Ratepayers Association, and others are leading the local charge for liaison with the District of Muskoka on the issue. Get details and add your voice to a stakeholder survey by March 1st, here:

Indigenous Vote on DGR for Nuclear Waste
On Friday, January 31st, 2020 the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) voted "NO" to a proposed underground deep geological repository (DGR) at the shore of Lake Huron, for low and intermediate level nuclear waste. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) responded in a media release: "OPG respects the decision of SON members. We will now move forward to develop an alternate solution." FOCA has followed this issue for the past seven years; background can be found here:

ERO posting on Invasive Species and Carriers
The Ontario government is seeking feedback from stakeholders about the impact of 13 invasive species (including Fanwort, European Frog-bit, and Tench among others). In addition, they are reviewing the possible regulation of the movement of watercraft over land, through mandatory implementation of Clean+Drain+Dry principles. Read the details in the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO) posting, and add your comments on particular species or projected impacts of the plan, by March 30, 2020  

Source Water Protection
An application through the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO) submitted by the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) in late 2019 suggested that many areas of Ontario would benefit from some of the same oversight and protections afforded to municipal water through the Clean Water Act. The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) has recently replied that they will be responding to this issue this Spring, in response to a 2019 recommendation of the Auditor General that the province "should consider the feasibility of source water protection plans to identify and assess threats to sources of water that supply private wells and intakes." Learn more about this topic:

Water Management in Muskoka
FOCA has participated in recent public meetings, and has submitted our input to the  Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group  (MWAG). The MWAG will be providing their input and advice to th e  Minister of the Environment Conservation and Parks, which should inform the Province's next steps in developing watershed-wide planning for this important region in central Ontario.

Conservation Authorities Act under review
FOCA  recently presented to two public consultations--in Colborne and in London--related to the role and responsibilities of Ontario's Conservation Authorities (CAs) FOCA has member associations  in about 60 municipalities served by CAs. 
Public comment on the CAs can still be made via online survey until  March 13, 2020 , here:  

For current perspectives on watershed management related to both of the last two items, visit:
Partner Profile

Kawartha Conservation Stewardship Strategy
FOCA was one of the regional partners and stakeholders who participated in the development of the 2020-2030 Stewardship Strategy for Kawartha Conservation (KC). The strategy has received approval of the KC Board of Directors, and will now move into implementation. Download the report. (PDF, 28 pages)
Lake Environments

Water Level Concerns
"Two peculiar events are developing before our eyes across the Great Lakes," stated a mid-February posting by the Weather Network. "A rare combination of unusually high water levels, paired with a pronounced lack of ice cover has created interesting dynamics, that'll have consequences spilling into spring." Link to the online post. 

FOCA posts links to current news and related high water preparedness information here:

Predicting River Ice & Flooding
As reported earlier this month by Water Canada, a University of Saskatchewan Professor is working on better predicting ice formation in rivers, and potential ice jamming, to reduce the risk of flooding. Read the article online.

Survey about Cyanobacterial Bloom Notifications
On behalf of the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) and the U.S. Interstate Harmful Cyanobacterial Blooms Team, lake users are invited to participate in a survey about how you learn if and when blue-green algal blooms occur on your waterbody. The goal is to help improve communications about these types of serious blooms. The deadline is fast-approaching! Complete the survey by Saturday, February 29, 2020: 

Rideau/Trent-Severn Waterway (TSW) Public Survey
Property owners, waterway visitors, and other interested citizens are invited by Parks Canada and researchers at the Universities of Ottawa, Carleton and Sherbooke, to participate in a public online survey about the Rideau Canal and/or the TSW. 
More about the project can be found here: Please share this survey invitation with others in your waterfront community. 

Muskoka 2019 Water Quality Report
In late January, the  Muskoka Lakes Association announced that the  2019 Water Quality Report has been posted for the region; Muskoka-area members can search for reports on the new  interactive map

Short-term rental survey
The Township of Lake of Bays seeks local residents' feedback about the short-term rental of residential properties with no on-site management. Provide your thoughts, opinions and suggestions in an online survey, share your experiences, or complete a quick poll, here:

Find more information about short-term rentals across cottage country, here:
Volunteers needed for Owl Route in Northern Ontario
Click map image to enlarge; red dots indicate available routes. Image of Northern Saw-Whet Owl by Jeff McGoldrick.
The goals and objectives of the Ontario Owl Survey are to monitor nocturnal owls that reside in our forests, particularly the boreal forest and the large forest tracts in Central Ontario.  Central routes are already assigned, but there are still available northern routes  (>46 degrees latitude) . Download an Owl Survey Participant Factsheet (PDF, 4 pages) and r equest a route:

Support for tree planting - do your part!
image:  Forests Ontario blog
Under the 50 Million Tree Program's revised criteria, anyone with room to plant at least 500 trees can apply. The revised rules open opportunities for urban and suburban tree planting, as well as windbreaks and shelterbelts on farms. Read more from our partners at Forests Ontario, or click here to download an info-sheet (PDF, 1 page).

Oak under threat
Our friends at the Invasive Species Centre recently met with FOCA to brainstorm common concerns about aquatic and upland threats. One newer issue discussed was Oak Wilt, which is currently found closer than 500m from Canada's southern border, and could threaten oaks in Ontario and Quebec. Oak wilt is a vascular disease caused by a fungal infection that produces mats under the bark, that stops trees from being able to transport fluids. Trees usually die within a year of being infected--a significant concern for this important species of forest tree. Learn more about oak wilt and other forest pests at:
FOCA's Silver-level Sponsors



Cottage Life

Regional Notices & Other Upcoming Events 

FOCA to speak at OOWA Convention
Tuesday, March 3, 2020 - London. FOCA's Executive Director will be a featured speaker at the Ontario Onsite Wastewater Association (OOWA) annual convention and expo. Terry will review septic re-inspection program research that led to the release of the 2019 report  by FOCA and our partners . Get links to the report and additional septic system resources, here: 

Grass Carp Information Session
Wednesday, March 4, 2020 - Windsor. FOCA encourages members in southwestern Ontario to participate in a public information session by our partners at the Invasive Species Centre and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, about the threat and prevention of Grass Carp entering the Great Lakes. Download an info sheet (PDF, 1 page) or register now to attend this free event.

Binational Civic Engagement Workshop 
Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - International Falls, Minnesota. This workshop, focused on civic engagement in the Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed, will take place the day before the annual Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Forum. Learn from colleagues, build network contacts, share your success story, and take home innovative ideas. Contact Kelli Saunders, International Watershed Coordinator of the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation, to see if space remains: 807-548-8002  [email protected]

Water Lecture - Kawarthas
Thursday, March 12, 2020 - Peterborough. The topic of the 2020 David Schindler Professorship Lecture is: "The cloudy future of our clear waters: Big problems, innovative research, and good solutions" by Drs. Paul Frost, Marguerite Xenopoulos and Graham Raby of Trent University. Click here for more information, or to register.

Spring Cottage Life Show
March 26-29, 2020 - Toronto. South-central Ontario residents are invited to join FOCA and hundreds of cottage-country exhibitors at this annual early kick-off to summertime fun! Details are online.

Ottawa Cottage Life & Backyard Show
April 17-19, 2020 - Ottawa. For those in eastern Ontario, plan to visit cottage-country exhibitors at the Ottawa version of the Cottage Life show. See more, here.

Sponsors' Corner

Welcome to Toronto|Muskoka Generators
click for a quick video explanation
FOCA is pleased to welcome Toronto|Muskoka Generators as our newest Silver Corporate Sponsor
FOCA members who attended our 2018 Fall Seminar on cottage country preparedness will recall FOCA's Board Member Daryle Moffatt spoke about his own experiences with power outages and extreme weather issues, at the cottage and in the city, which led him to invest in generators for both homes. Thank you to Daryle for connecting FOCA with Toronto/Muskoka Generators.

Toronto/Muskoka Generators  has been a Generac dealer since 2003. Installation and servicing of standby generators throughout Southern Ontario for cottages, private residences and commercial buildings is their only business. 
"Our turn-key installations and hands on service means you never need to get your hands dirty! We take care of it all, we coordinate all of the necessary permits and work," says owner Steve Day. "We've been doing this for 17 years, and we love a good challenge. No matter your location, we'll find a solution for you."

Sponsors support FOCA's work; please, support them! See more about all the offers available to you:
FOCA's Bronze-level Sponsors
Nature Clean New Logo 2013


Canadian Canoe Museum



Dock in a Box

Safety & Risk Management

Home Fire Prevention
Already one of the most common emergencies experienced by Canadians, home fires are even more likely to occur during the winter. That's because during a cold snap, our first instinct is to get warm. But when fireplaces are left unattended or portable heaters malfunction, disaster is only a spark away. FOCA reminds everyone to be vigilant about home fire prevention. Take the Red Cross Fire Safety Quiz and learn more about emergency preparedness:
Partner Profile

Cottage Life & the ultimate cottage icon 
You can participate in Cottage Life's "Vote for the ultimate cottage icon." Starting with 32 images, they are whittling the list down every week by polling until the end of March, when one cottage icon will be declared the winner:
FOCA Member Benefits

In addition to FOCA's ongoing work on behalf of waterfront Ontario, our members gain access to several specific benefits, offers and discounts from our partners and corporate sponsors. Review all the benefits, here:
Member Associations: Do all your members know about their FOCA benefits? Use a reminder "ad" on your association website, or an upcoming Newsletter. Could you use a short article about the value FOCA brings to your members? Contact the office for a draft article and/or a copy of the ad at the side.
In praise of "Family Day"

From our families to yours: 
we hope you were able to enjoy Ontario's winter bounty 
with loved ones on Family Day weekend earlier this month. 

FOCA's staff and Board sure did!

FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations, 
the voice of the waterfront for over half a century

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