FOCA Elert - November 2019

FOCA Fall Seminar for Lake Associations
Saturday, November 16, 2019  - 9:00am to 3:00pm, Toronto.

We have filled all the available seats for the upcoming FOCA Fall Seminar. Thank you to everyone who completed their registration online or by phone.

If you did not already pay to participate in-person, we encourage you to join us for the day by webinar. Use the appropriate link to read about the webinar requirements:
or, contact the FOCA office during business hours for assistance.

"As a new Board Member to our Lake Association, it was great to learn more about all that is available to us as resources from FOCA." 
~ participant at the last event
About the Fall Seminar: Get environmental and policy updates on cottage country hot topics and emerging issues including: short-term rentals, electricity pricing, septic re-inspection programs, results of the FOCA road survey, water quality monitoring and lake stressors. See more:

John Smol  (image: Bernard Clark for National Geographic)
About the Keynote Speaker: 
We are very pleased to welcome Dr. John Smol, professor in the Department of Biology at Queen's University, as our Fall Seminar Keynote Speaker.

Dr. Smol is a noted expert on the ecology of lakes, and river and lake pollution. His work on paleolimnology has been used extensively, and  he has received many awards   for his work over the past 30 years.

Dr. Smol's talk, "Under the Radar: Long-term perspectives on ecosystem changes in lakes," will discuss the importance of long-term water monitoring; review trends in the data for phosphorus, calcium, and chlorides; and investigate the implications of multiple stressors on areas including the Lake of the Woods, and the Muskoka River Watershed. 

You can still register to hear Dr. Smol's talk by webinar. You will see his slides and hear his presentation on November 16th, and will receive a copy of his slides in the Event Summary in later November. Use the links above to register for the webinar.
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CottageLINK Rental Management
Advocacy & Policy Updates

Ontario Aggregate Resources Act (ARA)
Changes to the ARA are being considered by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, that would amend some permitting requirements, and limit some rights of appeal and the application of municipal zoning. Conflicts with neighbouring land uses, and impacts on water and biodiversity are all concerns voiced by FOCA members. Find out what was proposed, and read FOCA's comments, here:

Red Tape Reduction
On November 7, 2019 the provincial government's  Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019 (Bill 132) passed second reading, and was referred to the Standing Committee on General Government. 
Amongst many other things, the Act proposes to amend the Public Lands Act, allowing  docks or single-storey boathouses located on Crown land without the need for a permit or annual rent. Bill 132 also modifies aspects of the Aggregate Resources Act which FOCA has addressed in our ARA comments (see above). Public comment can be submitted through the Environmental Registry until November 27th, 2019.
Provincial Policy Statement (PPS)
This overarching guidance contains policies to direct land use decisions involving matters of provincial interest, such as:
  • building strong & healthy communities,
  • ensuring wise use & management of resources, and
  • protecting public health & safety.
The proposed 2019 PPS update includes changes to current policies related to natural heritage, water, agriculture, mineral aggregate resources & hazards. Read FOCA's response to the proposed changes, here:

Flood Planning / Management in Ontario
On November 1, 2019, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry announced that the final report from their Special Flood Advisor was complete. The release from MNRF did not specify when the report would be publicly released. 
Regional Updates & Notices

High Water continues in Lake of the Woods region
ice forming, Grassy Narrows (Kenora Online, 2Nov2019)
The Lake of the Woods Control Board made another special update on November 5, 2019 to their otherwise-weekly notice, stating:
Flows out of Lac Seul and Lake of the Woods and along the Winnipeg and English Rivers are exceptionally high and will remain so until freeze-up. 
For a link to the most current notice, and general tips for high water events, please consult FOCA's webpage:
Great Lakes Forecasts
In related news, a new forecast from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office suggests that Great Lakes levels are likely to remain unusually high and may set additional records. To see a recent CTV News report, click the link above to the High Water webpage. To jump directly to the lake predictions, click here.

ASHMuskoka Update
FOCA was pleased to hear from the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed, who are coordinating the ASHMuskoka project, that the calcium restoration field study has begunWood ash is being spread in targeted plots to replace calcium, a key factor in our forests and waterways. Organizers report that most of Muskoka's lakes have lost 25% to 50% of the calcium they need, as a result of past acid rain and logging practices. Without intervention, it will take centuries for calcium levels to rebound.  The project is a collaboration between scientists, municipal officials, and property owners - including the region's maple sugar producers. For more, visit:

Microplastics in Eastern Ontario Lakes
image of July water sampling (Watersheds Canada media release, 5Nov2019)
Watersheds Canada issued a media release this week, noting that summer sampling in three eastern Ontario watersheds found microplastics (including fibres, fragments and plastic film) in more than 90% of 270 samples from 9 inland lakes.  For a link to this story, and earlier information about microplastics, visit:
Waterfront Living 

Septic System Professionals
The Ontario Onsite Wastewater Association (OOWA) is the industry organization for septic system professionals. Our partners at OOWA have launched a new and improved map-based member directory. Look for a service provider in your area, or by business category. Click here to visit the map.

Road Safety Reminders
image: Selwyn e-news, Nov.2019
FOCA thanks Selwyn Township, whose e-news recently included the following reminders directed at folks in the Kawarthas; however, everyone on private roads should review this info:
"The Fire Department wants to remind residents and cottagers living on private roads that road maintenance can be the difference when saving a life! Please keep private roads clear of brush, potholes and other obstacles. This allows emergency vehicles to get to where they need to go FASTER." [Also:] "Could EMS see your 911 sign if there was an emergency at your residence? Make sure your property's 911 sign is visible - clear of brush and foliage."

Road Salt and You
While we are on the topic of rural roads in winter: homeowners, plow contractors and other building maintenance operators in  the Muskoka region are invited to a free seminar on November 13, 2019 in Bracebridge,  about the proper application of salt to reduce damage to the environment.

Limiting Phantom Power
FOCA thanks Seguin Councillor (and FOCA Board Director) Daryle Moffatt for forwarding this post from Hydro One, about ways to reduce overall energy use by limiting phantom power in the home. Click here for info.
FOCA's Silver-level Sponsors



Cottage Life
Recent Events 

H 2 0 2019
October 19, 2019 - Toronto. FOCA's Terry Rees was a speaker at the H2O event, co-hosted by Georgian Bay Forever and the Georgian Bay Association. Find out more about the event here.

2019 Lake Links
October 26, 2019 - Perth. FOCA was pleased to support this annual stewardship event as a sponsor, and a participant. The theme was "Enhancing, Restoring and Exploring: Applications for Citizen Science on your Lake." FOCA's video about the getting engaged in citizen science was shared at the event. 

Emily Shapiera, FOCA's Lake Stewardship Coordinator, presented at Lake Links about the important ongoing work of citizen volunteers in the Lake Partner Program of volunteer water quality monitoring.

GLEON All Hands' Meeting
November 6, 2019 - Bracebridge. FOCA's Terry Rees moderated a panel titled, "Lake Science for Muskoka: A Global Perspective on Problems and Solutions" during the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) meetings this week.  (image: from the Muskoka Watershed Council's Twitter feed, Nov.6, 2019)
Asian Carps Awareness

image reproduced from
Did you know? Since 2012, 28 Grass Carp have been captured in the waters or tributaries of Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie. Nine of these fish were found to be fertile. It is likely that the fish had escaped from areas where populations were being used for aquatic plant control. No species of Asian carp is considered to be established or reproducing in Canadian waters. Be on the lookout, and learn more about Grass Carp, here:  
Citizen Science in Action

Volunteer Profile  
August 2019 image from the United Lakes Invasive Species Watch
FOCA congratulates Barbara Szita-Knight, a Haliburton Lake Steward and  FOCA Supporter who galvanized fellow volunteers on 50 lakes to participate in the 'United Lakes Invasive Species Watch' this year. Volunteers took water samples and monitored for Zebra Mussels and Spiny Water Flea Well done, Barbara and crew!
For fact sheets and links to additional resources about invasive species prevention, visit FOCA's webpage:
Partner Profile

Canadian Environmental Law Association
FOCA congratulates our partners at the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) as the organization turns 50! CELA has been at the forefront of making the environment cleaner, healthier and safer for everyone.

FOCA's own Executive Director was featured as one of the " Faces of CELA" in their October 2019 Bulletin and Blog. Click here to read more about Terry, and his connections to CELA. 

On Thursday, November 28, 2019, FOCA will be part of a CELA webinar on the recent report about Septic System Re-inspection Programs in Ontario. The CELA webinar will include a review of the legal context for managing rural wastewater. Registration is required for this free CELA webinar; click here for more.
Apply for this Award

White Lake Cottagers Association received the Award at the 2019 FOCA AGM.
FOCA Achievement Award
Nominate your association for the next FOCA Achievement Award. Large or small associations can apply, and accomplishments should be current, but can include long-standing efforts. 

We love hearing your success stories! 

Apply by November 30th.   Details and the nomination form are available, here: 
FOCA's Bronze-level Sponsors
Nature Clean New Logo 2013


Dock in a Box
Canadian Canoe Museum
FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations, 
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