FOCA Elert ~ April 2021
FOCA Champions Affordable & Safe Rural Living
Stay at home order: Can I go to the cottage?
With Ontario under a stay-at-home order that will last until at least May 6th, FOCA has been fielding calls about whether it is OK to go to the cottage.

FOCA recommends following all public health and provincial guidelines. The stay-at-home order directs all Ontarians to remain at home except for essential purposes. If you choose to self-isolate at your waterfront home, you should stay there for at least 14 days and bring all supplies you might need during that time. FOCA posts related information here:
last call to register:
WEBINAR: Creating a Cardiac Safe Cottage Community
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 from 12:00pm-1:00pm

Register to join us for a one-hour "lunch and learn" with FOCA and our partners at Action First Aid, about Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and how to create a cardiac safe cottage community. Highlights:
> hear a story from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) survivor
> understand the difference between SCA and Heart Attack, and when to use an AED
> learn how to use crowdfunding to place 24/7 accessible AEDs in your cottage community.

Registration is open to all FOCA Association Members, and Individual/Family Supporters. There is no charge to attend; the event has been sponsored by Action First Aid.

BONUS: Everyone who attends the April 21st event will be entered into a draw to win one of 3 seats in Action First Aid's new on-line training program: CPR/AED & Basic First Aid Awareness.

Associations: Please share the registration link with your members:
Enhanced emergency response
coming to rural and northern Ontario?
Seven years ago, FOCA sought assurance from the Province that the health and well-being of northern and rural Ontario residents is a priority of the provincial government, and that effective communications and coordination are in place to respond to emergency situations.

Recently, the Ministry of the Solicitor General and Ministry of Heath established the 9-1-1 Emergency Response Inter-Ministerial Task Force in response to recommendations of a 2018 Coroner’s Inquest. This task force is exploring a provincial framework for 9-1-1 and emergency communications service delivery in Ontario.

In related news, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has directed all telecommunication service providers to change their networks to be ready to provide Next Generation 9-1-1 services. This will ultimately enable the public, 9-1-1 call centres and emergency responders to transmit and receive text, images, video and data.

Read more about emergency response here:
FOCA Advocates for Responsive Government
Electricity Pricing update
April 12, 2021 - the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has released "Procedural Order #1" in connection with the elimination of the seasonal rate class of Hydro One electricity customers. FOCA has posted an overview, and a link to the full document, here:
Cell Gap Project, Enhanced Broadband in eastern Ontario
FOCA was pleased to be part of last month's announcement from the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) about a significant investment in cellular coverage in Eastern Ontario, which will see immediate improvements and a full roll-out by 2025.

Now, your help is needed: EORN has asked FOCA to circulate a call-to-action to our eastern Ontario lake Associations, to write the Ministers responsible for supporting EORN's Gig Project, which would bring speeds of up to 1 Gigabyte per second to residents, cottage owners and businesses across the region. Access to high-speed broadband services will meet our collective needs and support the local economy, long into the future. Find details and a template letter you can use, here:
FOCA's Gold level sponsors
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FOCA Promotes Healthy Lands, Lakes & Rivers
Focus on plastic waste
April 2021 – the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) has announced the creation of Circular Great Lakes, a regional initiative focused initially on keeping valuable plastic materials out of the waste stream and the environment. Link to the new initiative, and find out more about plastics and microplastics, on FOCA's webpage:
recent event: Plastic Pollution webinar
In related news, on April 9, 2021 FOCA attended a webinar hosted by Ohio Sea Grant about plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. The speakers confirmed that our plastic waste is entering aquatic ecosystems at alarming rates. While slides from the webinar were not circulated, FOCA has posted some highlights from the event on our Plastics webpage (see: April 2021 webinar posting).
Invasive mussels found in aquarium products!
FOCA's partners at the Invasive Species Centre (ISC) reported this month that invasive Zebra and/or Quagga mussels have been found in moss ball products sold in Canada for use in aquariums. Read more from ISC here. (image from

As part of FOCA's ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of invasive species in Ontario, FOCA will be working with our invasive species partners and some lake association members this year on selective monitoring to target Zebra mussels and spiny water flea. Stay tuned for further details.
Modelling the effects of Asian carp on the Great Lakes
Computer modelling has been used to predict the impacts of bighead carp and silver carp on Great Lakes ecosystems including Lake Erie and Lake Huron. Get a link to the study, published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, here:

image: Predictions for Lake Erie from
Supporting Info Doc. #3 of American Fisheries Society posting

upcoming webinar series: Love Muskoka - Sustain Muskoka
Thursdays @ 5:00pm from April 22 to May 27 (virtual) - The Muskoka Steamships & Discovery Centre and regional partner organizations are hosting a digital webinar series on sustainability with a roster of great speakers and important topics of interest to viewers in Muskoka, and beyond:

Apr.22 - Climate change and policy tools with Dr. Dianne Saxe
Apr. 29 - Watershed Management and how cottage owners can be nice to Mother Nature
May 6 - Protecting green spaces, riparian zones and education
May 13 - Climate change impacts for Muskoka with Dr. Peter Sale & Dr. Richard Lammers
May 20 - Indigenous Perspective: reconnecting with the natural world
May 27 - The future of our lakes despite climate change with Dr. Norman Yan

Click the image at the side to download the series poster (PDF, 1 page). Register for one session, or all six, here:
upcoming webinar: Life in the "Weeds"
Wednesday, May 5, 2021 @ 2:00pm (virtual) - Join Watersheds Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife - Michigan State University for a webinar about the critical role of native aquatic plants in our lakes. Register for the webinar here.

With so many new folks having purchased waterfront property over the winter, FOCA believes it is going to be critical to welcome them early in the season, and help them understand the value of a natural shoreline - before the "weeds" start getting ripped out. We look forward to this webinar, and hope it gives some good ideas for ways to share the importance of aquatic plants with new cottage neighbours!
FOCA Serves Lake & Road Associations
FOCA helps with Member Association AGMs
At this point, it seems inevitable that lake association events such as Annual General Meetings will be digital again this summer.
If your lake association is wondering what to do about your AGM, contact FOCA for an information sheet with notes about phone or webinar or even Facebook Live options. FOCA may be available to provide some up-front advice for your group to set up your own Zoom event. We also have a limited number of slots available to host member AGMs on FOCA's Zoom platform, for a members-only price. For details, email: [email protected]
FOCA's Silver level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
Partner Updates & Regional Notices
Lake of Bays Short Term Rental Report
April 6, 2021 - a new staff report to Council was released about short-term rental (STR) regulation in Lake of Bays. The report includes a detailed overview of issues, potential costs to administer licenses, and feedback from public consultation. Other areas may find the report interesting as an example. Download a copy from the "News" section this FOCA webpage:
Lake Huron Management Plan: input invited
The next Lake Huron Lakewide Action and Management Plan (LAMP) is being developed this year by the Lake Huron Partnership in order to meet Canada and the U.S.'s commitments under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and public input is invited.

Want to participate? First, review the 2017-2021 Lake Huron LAMP (download PDF, 105 pages), then submit suggestions or questions by April 30, 2021 to the Canadian Great Lakes Executive Committee Secretariat (Environment and Climate Change Canada) by email: [email protected]. A draft plan will be made available for further comments, later this year.
Real-time water levels in Muskoka
A new tool is available through the Muskoka GeoHub that allows residents to see flood plain mapping and real-time water levels:

While many of the layers contain datasets specific to Muskoka, the difference in daily average water level data is province-wide, from Natural Resources Canada.
Lake of the Woods water quality: input invited
Last call to provide input to Environment and Climate Change Canada on its proposals for phosphorus reduction options to manage algae blooms on Lake of the Woods. FOCA's partners at the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation encourage everyone with an interest in Lake of the Woods to get involved and have their say in the proposed lake ecosystem objectives and phosphorus reduction options. The public comment period ends April 30, 2021. Participate online here: 
Kawartha & Scugog Water Funds
Property owners in the City of Kawartha Lakes, or Townships of Scugog, Brock or Clarington are invited to apply to Kawartha Conservation for funding for projects that contribute to the health of the watershed. Projects could involve shoreline naturalization to prevent erosion, tree plantings, well or septic system stewardship, and more. Get details, and apply by May 12, 2021, here:
Haliburton webinar on environmental threats
Our members at the Lake Kashagawigamog Organization have asked us to share information about their upcoming webinar, which is open to all:

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 7:30pm (virtual) - Stayin' Alive: Environmental Threats to our Lake and Forest Creatures - a presentation on the effects of pollution on freshwater molluscs (clams, snails and slugs), how they are adapting to environmental change, and what us humans can do to help. Register via the LKO website.
FOCA Fosters Community
FOCA at the Virtual Cottage Life Show
FOCA's booth had over 1000 "visits" during the inaugural Virtual Cottage Life & Outdoor Living Show (March 26-28), and our Executive Director Terry Rees spoke each day on the Main Stage about what to consider if you're thinking of spending more time at the cottage this year. (Yes please!)

Although the Show is over, you can still register to listen to recordings of all the great content including Terry's talk, as well as our partners speaking about cottage succession planning, responsible cottage rental, boating and cottage safety, and much more. You can continue to visit the Virtual Show as often as you like until May 31st!

FOCA's Bronze level sponsors
Sponsors support our work, please support them.
Final Thoughts
Turtles are on the move!
Our member groups have started reporting seeing turtles on the move already, which means it's time for a refresher on what to do if you encounter a turtle crossing the road or digging in gravel at the road's edge.

Here's some help:

FOCA is the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations,
the voice of the waterfront for nearly 60 years.
image: Andy Metelka
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