June 15, 2020
Committee of the Whole Meeting (through electronic participation): June 15, 2020: 9:00 a.m. – 3:10 p.m.
Regular Meeting of Council: June 15, 2020: 3:47 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Mayor George Cornell, Deputy Mayor Steffen Walma, and Councillors Cindy Hastings, Tony Mintoff and Gibb Wishart were present at both meetings.
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GBGLF DEPUTATION: Paul Cowley, a director of the Georgian Bay Great Lakes Foundation, appeared before Council to answer questions regarding the Township of Tay’s resolution regarding Great Lakes water levels on that day’s agenda.
He began by arguing that, contrary to what the International Joint Commission (IJC), MNRF (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry), Environment Canada Climate Change (ECCC) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) maintain, the crisis high water levels in Lakes Michigan/Huron are not caused by excess precipitation. Rather, during the last three years, the Michigan Huron Basin has had below average precipitation. The IJC, MNRF, ECCC, and USACE all maintain that nothing can be done, whereas the Tay resolution lists the actions that can be taken and that are within the IJC and the governments’ jurisdiction as outlined in both the 1993 Reference Study done by the IJC and Plan 2012.
The resolution lists four actions that can be taken to manage the Michigan Huron / Georgian Bay levels:
- Temporary reduction of the discharges from the Long Lac and Ogoki diversions
- A temporary increase in the Chicago diversion
- Holding back the equivalent extra 360 cm/s flows that were discharged from Lake Superior from December 2019 to March 2020
- The establishment of an international working committee to assess unreported changes that have been occurring in the St. Clair – Detroit River system.
Later in the meeting, Council decided to support the Township of Tay’s resolution that Provincial and Federal Governments intervene to better manage and control the water levels of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.
Paul Cowley asked that a further presentation of this complex matter be scheduled for the July 6th meeting of Council. This was granted.
INVASIVE SPECIES REPORT BY SEVERN SOUND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSOCIATION: Michelle Hudolin presented a Report about SSEA’s Invasive Species Program. Its objective is to reduce the ecological, economic and social impacts of invasive species by means of prevention, monitoring, and management. The chief invasive aquatic plant is Eurasian Watermilfoil. The main terrestrial plants of primary concern are Japanese Knotweed, Spotted Knapweed, Miscanthus, Dog-strangling Vine, Coltsfoot and Sweet White Clover. The wetland plants of concern are Phragmites and Purple Loosestrife. Round Goby was the only fish listed. The invertebrates are Zebra Mussel, Emerald Ash Borer, and Gypsy Moth.
Alyson Karson has been hired to co-ordinate SSEA’s actions regarding invasive species. According to Hudolin the SSEA sees itself as a source of information. Those with concerns about an invasive species should contact the SSEA directly, by e-mail: InvasiveSpecies@severnsound.ca or by phone: 705-534-7283. Photographs can be a big help in identifying the problem.