FOCA Elert - July 2020
Lake Stewards Newsletter

It's here! The FOCA 2020 Lake Stewards Newsletter has arrived. Coming soon to the mailboxes of the executive of our member associations, you can also enjoy the digital version today:

This year's edition includes articles about Eurasian Watermilfoil and Starry Stonewort, water level management, what Associations need to know about crown land forestry, and much more.  Please share this resource with everyone at your waterbody.

FOCA Cottage Country Survey

Help shape the future of Ontario's waterfronts - have your say
Tell us about your cottage country priorities, and help us understand what you know and value about FOCA's ongoing work. Add your voice to FOCA's 2020 Survey, by August 21st. Responses are anonymous, and your open and honest input is very much appreciated.

Thank you to the hundreds of members and partners who have already completed the survey!  Click below to start:
FOCA's Gold-level Sponsors


CottageLINK Rental Management
Advocacy, Policy & Program Updates

Changes to Provincial Environmental Legislation
FOCA has noted that major changes to environmental oversight are underway, with the July 8th introduction of the omnibus Bill 197, COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020. This Bill affects 43 different pieces of Provincial Legislation. Notable throughout the Bill is an increase in the discretion of the provincial Cabinet to, for instance, prescribe which projects are subject to the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA). FOCA believes that all environmentally significant undertakings should be reviewed through an appropriate and efficient EA process that is open, fair, and evidence-based. Further proposals to change the Planning Act would give Ministerial discretion to issue zoning orders, and to overrule decisions by municipal council and planning staff, even to the extent of a specific project and site details.

This latest Bill follows the July 1st  exemption of forestry from the EAA. The list of "duplicative" activities that the July 1 changes affect, includes:
* public consultation in the preparation of a Forest Management Plan
* planning of forestry access roads
* review and approval of Forest Management Planning  documents
* amending Forest Management Plans
* requirements for annual operations
FOCA notes that the Crown Forest Sustainability Act ("CFSA") already doesn't address, for example, the human health effects of clear-cut logging practices, which has been shown to release mercury to timber area watersheds, contaminate fish, and harm humans eating the fish. 

Read more about forestry in the 2020 FOCA Lake Stewards Newsletter, via the link at the beginning of this Elert. FOCA posts related information on our forestry webpage:

FOCA Invasives Program 2020 - updates
We are pleased to announce that our 2020 FOCA Invasive Species Program is underway! Funding has been secured from the Invasive Species Centre, our member Associations have submitted their project proposals to FOCA, and now the work gets underway. Look for updates in future editions of the FOCA Elert. For more about invasive species in cottage country, see:

Asian carps
Great Lakes members: Did you know that vegetated nearshore areas would be the most vulnerable habitats, if Grass carp became established in the Great Lakes? Loss of nearshore vegetation would negatively impact your water quality, because plants along the shoreline slow surface runoff and filter contaminants before they reach the water. Learn more about Asian carps, here:
Invasive Species Webinar: Gypsy Moth

In response to member concerns across south central Ontario, FOCA's next member webinar is scheduled for  Thursday, July 30 at 2:00pm:

Understanding the gypsy moth
Join FOCA and partners for an overview about invasive gypsy moth: its life cycle, preferred habitats, forest implications of infestation and treatment considerations. 

This free webinar is being brought to you by FOCA and our event sponsor, Zimmer Air Services.

FOCA Association Members and our annual Supporters are invited to register. Please specify your FOCA affiliation on the registration form. After your registration is confirmed, you will receive the webinar link for the event. 
Important Note: pre-register by noon  on July 30th at the latest, to ensure we have time to confirm and reply to you.

Lake Environments

DGR cancelled
Plans for nuclear waste storage on the Lake Huron shore have been shelved.  Ontario Power Generation has cancelled the Environmental Assessment and their application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for a construction licence for the proposed Deep Geologic Repository. See more at:

You Asked, FOCA Answers: Algal Bloom Reporting

Question: Can you tell me whom to contact about a small but serious algae bloom on our lake? Here's a picture.
Answer: Any suspected blue-green algal blooms should be reported to the Ministry of the Environment Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060.
Please note that not all algae are toxic; they are a natural part of lake ecology, even though some forms can be a nuisance, including having an unpleasant odour. Several factors affect the growth of algae, among them: excess nutrients, warm still weather and changes in the food chain.  Here is some information from a Lake Partner Program bulletin of years past:
"Filamentous (or attached algae) range from several millimetres to a metre in length. In many cases they are not found as isolated filaments but develop into large colonies of floating or attached mats. A few have been given common names such as pond silk, green felt, frog-spawn algae and stoneworts. These may produce a slime that can interfere with some industrial uses of water. They can also be responsible for causing odours in water and filter clogging. They may also benefit the lake, along with other algae, to help purify the water and maintain a favourable oxygen level."
You'll find more on the topic of algal growth and what causes it, in FOCA's Shoreline Owner's Guide to Healthy Waterfronts. Download a free copy of the guide, here:
FOCA's Silver-level Sponsors


Cottage Life

Event Recap: FOCA Member Webinar

Water Management webinar
FOCA held our most recent member webinar on June 24, 2020, on the of topic of " Understanding Water Quantity in Ontario: a snapshot.

Speakers explained the role of the Ontario Surface Water Monitoring Centre, and how Conservation Authorities are involved in floodplain management and flood forecasting and warnings.

Members can access the video recording of the 1 hour webinar, upon request by email to:
Ongoing cottage country updates re: COVID-19

You Asked, FOCA Answers: 
Question: What is the status of Americans returning to their Canadian cottages?

Answer: The US/Canada border remains closed to most travel from the US. Continue to consult the Canada Border Services Agency for current entry restrictionsFOCA  looks forward to the return of our American cottage neighbours when conditions permit and with the appropriate safeguards in place. We know these owners are long-time members of their Canadian cottage communities, and we look forward to the time when we can all be together again, at the cottage. 

We encourage American owners of Canadian cottage properties to connect with their lake associations, waterfront neighbours or local service providers to arrange property checks in the meantime.


FOCA posts news and resources you can share with others at your waterbody about how to be safe in these unusual times, here:
Safety & Risk Management 

Marine Safety
FOCA caught up with our local OPP marine unit to get a sense of what's happening on the water, in these strange pandemic times.  According to the officers, there are LOTS of people on the water. The OPP encourage you to remember that just because it's sunny and school's out doesn't mean it's time to forget the basics. 

image: Kay Soares
People have been so excited to get on the water, some of them are forgetting they each need an approved lifejacket - a vital piece of your boating equipment! Others have forgotten when towing kids on an inner tube or water skis that a spotter
other than the driver must be on board at all times; this is true even if you're towing behind a PWC.

The officers we spoke with expressed that they were saddened over recent drowning events. In a late June event on Rice Lake, they reported that a victim had no lifejacket on, and wasn't able to stay afloat when they fell out of the boat.  FOCA reminds you that wearing your PFD is the best way to stay safe. Also check that you have all the required safety equipment on board and avoid alcohol until you're back on shore. 

Help keep everyone safe on the water this summer! Review tips and get important links here:

Fireworks Permits
Seguin Township is the latest Ontario municipality to have updated their fireworks bylaw. The new bylaw prohibits flying lanterns, and restricts residential fireworks to certain fire rating levels. All commercial fireworks require a permit. Get links to this, and related news, here: 
FOCA's Bronze-level Sponsors

Canadian Canoe Museum


Dock in a Box

Regional Notices & Event Updates

Great Lakes Water Levels Webinar
July 17, 2020 from noon to 1:30pm - you are invited to a webinar hosted by the International Lake Superior Board of Control, the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, and the International Niagara Board of Control. The webinar will provide an overview of why the Great Lakes are at their current levels, and the IJC's role in balancing the interests of all who are impacted by Great Lakes water levels. Register by clicking here.

Community Fish Hatchery asks for help
Since 2008, the North Hastings Community Fish Hatchery has been producing local fish for many lakes around the Bancroft area. This organization is volunteer-based, and was forced to cancel their annual July fundraising dinner that would normally raise half of the annual operating costs. Visit their website to learn more, or to make a donation to their efforts: 

Kawarthas health care for cottagers & area visitors
FOCA has been alerted by the Peterborough Family Health Team (PFHT) in Lakefield that, during the summer, some appointments at their nurse-practitioner-led clinic are available for cottagers or visitors to the area. Appointments are essential; walk-ins will not be accepted. Where possible, care will take place through virtual (phone or video conference) sessions. Get details by downloading the 1 page notice from PFHT.

Explorer's Edge Cottage Country Travel Package
News for those in RTO12 (Algonquin Park, Almaguin Highlands, Loring-Restoule, Muskoka, Parry Sound & South Algonquin)
Permanent and seasonal residents can register to receive one of 3,000 local travel packages for $50 in cash vouchers to redeem by October 12, 2020 at participating cottage country establishments in your own backyard!  This initiative is part of RTO12's "Hyper Local Tourism" Campaign to support regional recovery from the impact of COVID-19. Get all the details and a list of participating accommodations, attractions, restaurants and retail outlets, here:
FOCA's Operations Continue 

In light of the ongoing pandemic, FOCA staff continue to work away from our Peterborough office, to physically distance.  We carry on serving our members during regular business hours.  Our contact information is here.  You can still leave phone messages, although email  inquiries  may be addressed more rapidly. 

Staying in Touch
Please encourage fellow members and waterfront neighbours to provide their consent to receive monthly Elert messages like this, from FOCA. 

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