Citizen Science on Ice
This past year we received tremendous support from several local fish hut operators who helped us collect the valuable lake water samples for our winter lake monitoring program. Collecting water samples on a routine basis is critical to support our monitoring efforts, and our monitoring team can’t be at all places at all times.
Thankfully, we have a willing and capable group of fish hut operators who have stepped up to offer their assistance and be our eyes and ears on the lake, allowing us to respond more rapidly to emerging lake issues. Thanks to these fish hut operators, our winter lake monitoring program continues unabated, with the operators providing samples to our lake science team, Dr. Brian Ginn (our Lake Doctor) and Raymond Bolton (Ecology Ray).
Annual Aquatic Plant Monitoring Takes Root
In 2019 we began an annual aquatic plant monitoring program, in part, to be more adaptable to the rapid changes taking place in our watershed. Until this year, we’ve used a 5-year monitoring cycle, but are finding that this timeframe is not responsive to our needs, particularly in detecting new invasive species.
Zero to 70 in 10
Lake Simcoe’s newest invader, the aquatic plant
starry stonewort, is proving to be a particularly aggressive intruder. In 2008, we found no signs of it in our lake sampling. In 2009, the “stars” (the part of the plant which allows it to over-winter and gives this species its name) were found at one site near Brechin. By 2013, it accounted for 31% of the total amount of plants in the lake. By 2018, it accounted for almost 70% of all aquatic plants in Lake Simcoe!
Starry stonewort is difficult to remove once it has taken hold because harvesting allows tiny fragments to spread and start new colonies in new places, and this species is also resistant to herbicides. We’re not sure what the future holds for this invader, but we have partnered with 26 other agencies in Canada and the USA to find management solutions. Also, annual monitoring will help us identify changes to aquatic plants, forecast weed growth and better detect new invasive species.
Presence of starry stonewort in Lake Simcoe from 2008 - 2018.
Chemical Contaminants Content
This year we updated our website with information about a range of
chemical contaminants, including contemporary pesticides, flame retardants, microplastics, phenols, and several others.
We provide details about each chemical, its environmental impact and results of research specific to the Lake Simcoe watershed. We also include a large list of resources for further information.