Latest News

Lost in the Light: Taking Action to Address Light Pollution

By Britt Oldenburg, Bay of Islands Association

One of the key attractions of cottage life is being immersed in the beauty of nature: the lake, the trees, the loons, and a dark, star-filled sky. This dark and starry sky is increasingly threatened by light pollution caused by artificial lighting.

Ironically, lighting designed to save energy has only increased light pollution. According to an article by Robert Dick in a 2021 Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA) newsletter, energy-saving lighting is increasing the amount of artificial lighting at night by 2.2 per cent each year. It has become easy and inexpensive to light up docks and pathways with solar lights that stay on all night.

While light pollution interferes with our aesthetic enjoyment of the dark night sky, it also causes harm to nature. Animals, birds, and insects have evolved to take their cues from a world where the days are bright with sunshine and the nights are dark or gently illuminated by the stars and the moon.

For animals that use the stars to navigate for migration, the night skies and artificial lighting interferes with their ability to migrate. Birds can mistake artificial lights for their navigational stars, leaving them exhausted, dehydrated, and off course, and can sometimes lead to their death.

Nocturnal animals need the dark to protect themselves from predators. They use the protection of the dark to find food, eat, and mate. Artificial lighting reduces the time they have to spend on these essential life activities.

Even humans need darkness at night to produce melatonin, a hormone that helps us achieve the deep sleep we need to stay healthy. Artificial lighting affects our hormone levels and the structures by which we grow.

The good news is that light pollution is one of the easiest forms of pollution to address, and there are things we can do to help reduce its impact. As Nicholas St. Fleur wrote in a 2016 article for the New York Times, "light pollution is a problem researchers say could disappear with the flick of a switch.”

Angel Lillard of the McGregor Bay Association took this to heart this summer, after years of increasing light pollution from the Lafarge cement plant located on the eastern shoreline of McGregor Bay. Together with McGregor Bay Association President John Woodrooffe, they brought the issue forward to Lafarge, who quickly agreed to adopt a dark-sky policy that will see the lights turned off between 9:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. Angel is now working to make the local municipality’s (the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands [NEMI]) dark-sky regulations more accessible so that cottagers can easily understand how to make their lighting comply with the by-law.

There are several initiatives in the Georgian Bay area aimed at curbing light pollution:

Killarney Provincial Park has a strong dark sky policy and was the first provincial park in Ontario to be designated a Dark-Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Lake Superior and Quetico Provincial Parks have since followed suit.NEMI passed regulations in 2009 in support of the Dark Sky Sanctuary designation.The Township of Georgian Bay has an extensive dark-sky bylaw regulating outdoor lighting to mitigate light pollution and conserve the dark-sky environment.The Township of Carling provides some guidance around outdoor lighting, stating that all external lights must be dark-sky compliant.The Township of the Archipelago’s comprehensive zoning bylaw includes a section outlining its dark-sky provisions. The Lafarge cement plant located in the southeast corner of McGregor Bay was a significant source of light pollution until concerned cottager Angel Lillard took action.Photo: Angel Lillard How You Can Reduce Light Pollution

Even if you don’t have an industrial source of light pollution in your area, we all have a role to play in reducing light pollution. This simply involves turning off lights that are not required, directing light rays to the ground, and blocking light from travelling upwards and into the sky. The International Dark-Sky Association recommends the following principles for lighting:

Turn off lights when you no longer need them. Consider using motion sensors so that lights are only on when you need them.Eliminate the upward direction of lights. Practically speaking, this means directing lights to the ground and choosing fixtures with shields that limit the amount of light that scatters upwards.Use low colour LED lights. Blue light scatters more than white light and has a disruptive effect on melatonin production, which interferes with the circadian rhythm of humans and animals alike. Example of a lighting fixture that shields light from scattering upwards. For more information on what you can do to make your outdoor lighting dark-sky friendly, check out the International Dark Sky Association here: darksky.org/our-work/lighting/lighting-for-citizens/residentialbusiness-lighting

The Bay of Island Associations held breakout session at this year’s Annual General Meeting to capture key issues for members. Light Pollution was one of the top issues that members wanted BICA to address.  While members wait for BICA to come forward with a plan, they can address the issue by simply turning off their lights.





BICA 2022 Annual Member Meeting Minutes

Bay of Islands Community Association 2022 Annual Members Meeting4:20 - 6:00 PM EST Saturday July 30, 2022 Ruby Island (TP2567)

Minutes

1) Call to Order

Sheila Williams/Celesta Bjornson

2) Approval of Minutes - 2021a) Moved - That the general membership approves the minutes of the 2021 BICA

AGM

i)  Mover - Bobette Jonesii)  Second - Barb Van Sickel (1) Passed: Unanimously 3) President’s Report - Celesta/Sheila

a) Report appended to these minutes.

4)  Treasurer’s Report - Abbie Droleta)  Statement of Operations and Cash Reconciliation info was distributed to all members in attendance.b)  Summary of information by Abbie Drolet.c)  Moved - That the general membership approves the Treasurer’s Report for 2022i)  Mover - Zach Shewchukii)  Second - Scott Boatman (1) Passed: Unanimously5)  GBA Report - Liz Phillipsa)  Description of current GBA issues and initiatives presented by Liz.b)  Full report appended to these minutes.6)  Members Brainstorming Sessiona)  Attending members were divided into 6 groups each having a BICA Board member acting as facilitator. Each group was asked to discuss the following questions for approximately 20 minutes and brainstorm related ideas:i)  What are the most important issues facing our community?ii)  What are the most important initiatives our community association should continue or start?b)  Following the brainstorming session each member was given two coloured stickers for voting on each group's ideas.7)  Presentation of Brainstorming Ideas a) Each group’s ideas were written on a large notepad and then presented by the

facilitator.

b)  Following the presentation, all members were asked to place each of their coloured stickers on two initiatives or ideas that they were most interested in being pursued by the Association.c)  Voting was tabulated by Patrick Thoburn and posted on the BICA website on the Latest News page (refer to AMM Brainstorming Results posted September 1, 2022). 8)  Board Nominations & Election - Celestaa)  Sheila Williamsb)  Celesta Bjornsonc)  Patrick Thoburnd)  Liz Phillipse)  Abbie Droletf)  Trevor Marshallg)  Bobette Jonesh)  Scott Boatmani)  Jeff Bakerj)  Chris Redstonk)  New Members - Lisa Allison and David Gallupl)  Leaving Members - Jane Drolet, Sandy Moskal, Laurie Cookm) Moved - That the general membership approves the Board of Directors for 2022-2023.i)  Mover - Laurie Cookii)  Second - Jaclin Baker (1) Passed: Unanimously9)  Presentation of Gifts to new BICA members a) BICA burgee’s presented to all new members in attendance at the meeting.

10) Thank you and Presentation of Gifts to Outgoing Presidents Celesta Bjornson and Sheila Williams

a)  Thank you to Sheila and Celesta from new BICA President Patrick Thoburnb)  Presentation of framed “Bay of Islands” by George Eadie prints to Sheila and Celesta by Trevor Marshall Motion to adjourn – Britt Oldenburg, seconded Zach Shewchuk. Meeting Adjourned at 6:00pm EST

11) Minutes drafted by Trevor Marshall, Secretary12) NEMI Ward 1 Report 2022 by Laurie Cook appended to these minutes13) BICA Environmental Committee Report 2022 by Chris Redston appended to these

minutes

Bay of Islands Community Association Presidents’ Report, 2022

How amazing it has been to reunite as a community after 2 years largely apart! Though we are not quite back to “normal”, we have been provided the perspective that there is no place on earth, and no group of friends and family, that we would rather spend these life experiences with. The pandemic made us consider what “community” really means. To us it is both – both the incredible beauty of the landscape that cannot be replicated that we are all humble stewards of, and the importance of our relationships bonded by these shared values and decades & generations of connection. To share moments together, in person, here, is irreplaceable.

Perhaps no event or accomplishment represents importance of community better than our collective roll of supporting the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy’s $1.8 million purchase of “Heaven’s Gate”, which we highlighted last year. Heaven’s Gate is the nearly 1,000 acres of land on the north side of Red Deer Village Road that includes much of the La Cloche mountains connecting Willisville to Ft. La Cloche. Over 100 donors and friends celebrated the grand opening of the Heaven’s Gate trails on a recent and hot July afternoon. Many are to thank for preserving this land for all future generations to enjoy, but we were able to celebrate the importance of Ted Cowan’s leadership in making this happen.

There are so many other people to thank for their leadership and contributions this year. Michael Dewson has led the charge on our ongoing and successful phragmites eradication program. The Baker family, Rick Fournier, John Moskal, and others resumed the Bass Fish Derby / Fish Fry after a 2 year hiatus (more participants than we have ever had, and more fish than have ever been caught!). Lisa Allison pulling together the Bas Bleu Book Reading Club (despite our windiest day of the summer). The Drolets making this year’s Love Your Bay Day possible. And so many more.

And, we are excited to officially welcome and embrace new and old friends into the BICA community, including Antonia and Jens, Bob and Juanita, Chris and Abbie, Ron and Irene, Carolyn and Roc, Paul and Lana, Alan den Otter, Michael Boufford, Hugh Mchullan, Trish Phillips, Susan Monger, Justin and Andrea Montgomery, Ashley Jurjevich, and others. We have met them all, and it’s energizing to know that others drawn to this area are falling in love for the same reasons we all have, and they feel the humble responsibility they now bear as stewards of our community. Some of us were born into the Bay of Islands, others married into it, and more now are discovering it for the first time. We welcome all of you.

We are saddened by the loss of some long standing community members, and in particular by the untimely loss of Don Datz. He epitomized what it means (your thoughts / reflections here instead of mine) to spend part of your life here and this community becomes you. Don and his surviving wife Judy bought and ran Bay Villa for about 15 years. Don passed away unexpectedly at only 66 years. He exemplified what it meant to be a business owner who cared more about helping people than anything else. He gave us much and will be missed.

We are fortunate that as a non-profit organization relying solely on the contributions of its members that we have remained financially stable despite the pandemic. Revenue sources we

lost were essentially matched by other costs lowered because of the pandemic. We believe it is important to rebuild and grow revenue sources in the next few years through new membership, auctions, grants, and other sources, to fuel the important work BICA does.

We are absolutely thrilled to pass the baton to BICA’s next President, Patrick Thoburn, who is a 2nd generation Bay of Islands steward and will bring so much more of his creativity, passion, and leadership to BICA as our incoming President. As for us (Sheila and Celesta), we are more in to BICA than ever before, and after 6 years as co-Presidents (elongated thanks to COVID-19), we are ready to channel our energies finding and welcoming new members into the BICA community, and that’s what we’ll be doing now, including building stronger and more inclusive relationships with islanders who have never engaged, mainlanders like the Red Deer Village community, and the Birch Island community.

As we reflect on our 6 years together as co-presidents, the first thing that comes to mind is that we have loved working and leading together this whole time – how often does a co-president relationship actually get stronger vs. strained over that time period? Well, it happened with us. Our 2nd reflection was we wanted to change the perception that BICA’s primary mission is NOT that of a glorified social planning community. We’ve tried to embrace the totality of our by-laws – “To represent the interest of the members of the Bay of Islands, to foster a harmonious community spirit, to promote conservation of wildlife and to preserve the unique characteristics of the area”. We’ve focused a lot on BICA Board effectiveness, better fire safety, preservation of land and water (e.g., Love Your Bay Day, water quality, phragmites control, Heaven’s Gate support), invited new members into the BICA community, and so much more.

One area of BICA support we don’t talk enough about is the importance and effectiveness of the Georgian Bay Association (GBA), who has been doing an amazing job. The GBA focuses on the needs reflective of BICA and the other community associations up and down the Georgian Bay and the North Channel, and part of our budget goes directly to GBA to focus on bigger things we could never accomplish by ourselves. And beyond the financial support, BICA leaders have played many significant leadership roles over the years such as Hugh McLeland as GBA Chair, past GBA member like Thoburn, and today we are represented by Liz Phillips. Though we embrace our role in building community, we take a lot of pride in what we’ve done, because we are a community, to accomplish some great things together as stewards of this amazing land. Without community organizations like BICA, there is no GBA.

We look forward to spending time with you later this summer – safely and in person – and can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together, and what we will share in our life journeys, in the years ahead.

Love Your Bay Every Day!Celesta Bjornson and Sheila Williams

AMM Brainstorming Results

On July 30 BICA held its 87th annual member meeting. We were pleased to welcome more than 60 members to glorious Ruby Island, currently enjoyed by the Bjornson family. To help set priorities for the coming years, members brainstormed and then voted on answers to the question, “What initiatives should BICA continue or start?” The results, shown in the chart below, have already spurred planning for 2023 on fire safety, a Kids Fun Day, fighting light pollution, preserving water quality and more!

Thank you to all of the BICA Community Members who actively engaged in the brainstorming and shared your thoughts.

Septic Pump Out Delayed Until Summer 2023

We were recently informed that the septic pump out scheduled for this month has been delayed until summer 2023.

f you have not signed up and are still interested in having your septic pumped out, you can still get on the list. act now! Details are below:

Timing is now summer 2023, exact date TBD.Price is $1,585.00 per cottage (tax included) as long as it is an 800 gal. tank or less.Septic tank access ports need to be accessible, i.e. cleared of earth / debris. Please confirm with Mark Thoburn at mthoburn@gmail.com if you would like your name to be added to next year's list.

Bay of Islands Community Association Presidents’ Report, 2022

How amazing it has been to reunite as a community after 2 years largely apart! Though we are not quite back to “normal”, we have been provided the perspective that there is no place on earth, and no group of friends and family, that we would rather spend these life experiences with. The pandemic made us consider what “community” really means.  To us it is both – both the incredible beauty of the landscape that cannot be replicated that we are all humble stewards of, and the importance of our relationships bonded by these shared values and decades & generations of connection. To share moments together, in person, here, is irreplaceable.

Perhaps no event or accomplishment represents importance of community better than our collective roll of supporting the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy’s $1.8 million purchase of “Heaven’s Gate”, which we highlighted last year.  Heaven’s Gate is the nearly 1,000 acres of land on the north side of Red Deer Village Road that includes much of the La Cloche mountains connecting Willisville to Ft. La Cloche.  Over 100 donors and friends celebrated the grand opening of the Heaven’s Gate trails on a recent and hot July afternoon.  Many are to thank for preserving this land for all future generations to enjoy, but we were able to celebrate the importance of Ted Cowan’s leadership in making this happen.

There are so many other people to thank for their leadership and contributions this year.  Michael Dewson has led the charge on our ongoing and successful phragmites eradication program.  The Baker family, Rick Fournier, John Moskal, and others resumed the Bass Fish Derby / Fish Fry after a 2 year hiatus (more participants than we have ever had, and more fish than have ever been caught!).  Lisa Allison pulling together the Bas Bleu Book Reading Club (despite our windiest day of the summer).  The Drolets making this year’s Love Your Bay Day possible.  And so many more.  (may want more non-social accomplishments?)

And, we are excited to officially welcome and embrace new and old friends into the BICA community, including Antonia and Jens, Bob and Juanita, Chris and Abbie, Ron and Irene, Carolyn and Roc, Paul and Lana, Alan den Otter, Michael Boufford, Hugh Mchullan, Trish Phillips, Susan Monger, Justin and Andrea Montgomery, Ashley Jurjevich, and others. We have met them all, and it’s energizing to know that others drawn to this area are falling in love for the same reasons we all have, and they feel the humble responsibility they now bear as stewards of our community.  Some of us were born into the Bay of Islands, others married into it, and more now are discovering it for the first time.  We welcome all of you.  

We are saddened by the loss of some longstanding community members, and in particular by the untimely loss of Don Datz.  He epitomized what it means (your thoughts / reflections here instead of mine) to spend part of your life here and this community becomes you.  Don and his surviving wife Judy bought and ran Bay Villa for about 15 years.  Don passed away unexpectantly at only 66 years.  He exemplified what it meant to be a business owner who cared more about helping people than anything else.  He gave us much and will be missed.

We are fortunate that as a non-profit organization relying solely on the contributions of its members that we have remained financially stable despite the pandemic. Revenue sources we lost were essentially matched by other costs lowered because of the pandemic. We believe it is important to rebuild and grow revenue sources in the next few years through new membership, auctions, grants, and other sources, to fuel the important work BICA does.

We are absolutely thrilled to pass the baton to BICA’s next President, Patrick Thoburn, who is a 2nd generation Bay of Islands steward and will bring so much more of his creativity, passion, and leadership to BICA as our incoming President. As for us (Sheila and Celesta), we are more in to BICA than ever before, and after 6 years as co-Presidents (elongated thanks to COVID-19), we are ready to channel our energies finding and welcoming new members into the BICA community, and that’s what we’ll be doing now, including building stronger and more inclusive relationships with islanders who have never engaged, mainlanders like the Red Deer Village community, and the Birch Island community.

As we reflect on our 6 years together as co-presidents, the first thing that comes to mind is that we have loved working and leading together this whole time – how often does a co-president relationship actually get stronger vs. strained over that time period? Well, it happened with us. Our 2nd reflection was we wanted to change the perception that BICA’s primary mission is NOT that of a glorified social planning community. We’ve tried to embrace the totality of our by-laws – “To represent the interest of the members of the Bay of Islands, to foster a harmonious community spirit, to promote conservation of wildlife and to preserve the unique characteristics of the area”. We’ve focused a lot on BICA Board effectiveness, better fire safety, preservation of land and water (e.g., Love Your Bay Day, water quality, phragmites control, Heaven’s Gate support), invited new members into the BICA community, and so much more.

One area of BICA support we don’t talk enough about is the importance and effectiveness of the Georgian Bay Association (GBA), who has been doing an amazing job.  The GBA focuses on the needs reflective of BICA and the other community associations up and down the Georgian Bay and the North Channel, and part of our budget goes directly to GBA to focus on bigger things we could never accomplish by ourselves.  And beyond the financial support, BICA leaders have played many significant leadership roles over the years such as Hugh McLeland as GBA Chair, past GBA member like Thoburn, and today we are represented by Liz Phillips.  Though we embrace our role in building community, we take a lot of pride in what we’ve done, because we are a community, to accomplish some great things together as stewards of this amazing land. Without community organizations like BICA, there is no GBA.

We look forward to spending time with you later this summer – safely and in person – and can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together, and what we will share in our life journeys, in the years ahead.

Love Your Bay Every Day!

Celesta Bjornson and Sheila Williams

Fish Tales…Fish Derby Recap

It was a whale of a time!

The legendary Bay of Islands Fish Derby and Fry resurfaced with tight lines yesterday all over the Bay, ending at Baker Camp aka Scioto Lodge last evening. It was a Whale of a Time. Nearly 30 fished and 70-80 people were served. All enjoyed themselves.

Fishermen and Fisherwomen! Erin Tremblay The winner of Roc and Carolyn Lariviere’s generous donation of 1/2 day deep water guided fishing was … Lee Tremblay and his niece Erin Tremblay.

Fish fries require a village of volunteers, and we wish to thank them. Our hosts were Jeff, Kristen, Jaci and the extended Baker family. John Moskal and Jeff Baker were the set-up guys, with help from the Baker family for ice runs and more. Ryan Burton contributed Ace Hill product. Fish cleaning was done by John Moskal, Jeff Baker, Reg and Thomas Drolet and others. All fish served was from the derby, and there were so many that some of the larger fish were released. Various islands provided help with docks and docking: Nick Dobbins, the Bjornsons, Drolets and Williams. Special appreciation for the organizational wizardry of Rick Fournier, and our master chef, John Moskal.

None of these folks are fishing for compliments though; they do it for the Love of the Bay!

Our Chef Extraordinaire...John Moskal BICA Members on Baker's beautiful isle















NEMI WARD 1  update for 2022

It has been another eventful year for NEMI and I know I am not alone in welcoming a cautious return to normalcy with the arrival of our American and overseas friends once again.

Council is continuing to meet by  ZOOM every Tuesday at 7 p.m. and the public is invited to attend : Meeting # 489 313 1974  or call 1 587 328 1099  (one of the few silver linings to this pandemic has been the opportunity to easily participate in our local democracy).  For a copy of each week's agenda visit www.townofnemi.on.ca 

Congratulations to BICA for being a successful applicant to the annual NEMI McLean's Mtn Windfarm Fund and for the valuable environmental stewardship action of the Love Your Bay (Every Day) shoreline clean-up those funds assisted with. We all know how precious our water and shorelines are and we are not alone.

The past two years have seen a lot of people looking to get away to the north and local waterfront properties have been in high demand.  However, the Province has delayed MPAC's re-assessment to 2024, scheduled originally for 2020 and normally done every 4 years.  This means that property taxes will continue to be based on 2016 valuations.  Visit www.mpac.ca for updates and www.aboutmyproperty.ca to see your property value and to compare similar ones in your area.  MPAC also generates the municipal voters list.  Please go to www.voterlookup.ca to confirm your information.  And to check that you are eligible to vote in the upcoming Municipal election on Oct. 24th,  Pam Cress is the Clerk for the Town of NEMI and she can help with any questions.  Her number is 705-368-3500 ext. 228.

There was good news on the tax front for Ward 1 this year as our taxes have actually gone down by .95%.

Ward 1 continues to solely pay for the recycling at J & G Marina in Birch Island and also for the MNR fire response reserve.  We contribute towards the municipal funding of the Rec Centre on Hwy 6 which was the site of several well-attended vaccination clinics.  Pickle-ball has resumed there and new players are always welcome. Please contact 705-368-2825 for a schedule of events or email rtaylor@townofnemi.on.ca

We also help fund the NEMI Public Libary www.nemi.olsn.ca  and it continues to offer wonderful programming, free wi-fi, a great selection of DVD's and digital services (on-line resources like World Book, Ancestry, and access to thousands of books, audiobooks and periodicals available through "Overdrive" to library patrons).  Membership cards are available free to seasonal residents of NEMI so please give them a call  (705-368 2444 ) and take advantage of this fantastic little gem at 50 Meredith St. West in Little Current. Also check out their website for upcoming and current programming.  There's always something exciting happening there!  Aug. 4th at 7pm is Author's Night with the highly acclaimed writer Mary Lawson and Michael Caesar.

We also contribute to the Centennial Museum in Sheguiandah (705 368 2367) and the adjacent archaeological site is now providing tours of a fascinating 10,000 year old quarry this summer. The grounds at the museum are lovingly kept and provide picnic tables and a playground and are a great place to take the family for an afternoon of exploring.

Enjoy the rest of the summer and please feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions or concerns.

All the very best,

Laurie Cook 

Councillor Ward 1 NEMI/ Deputy Mayor

705 282 7076



BICA GBA Report

By Liz Philips

GBA has been working as hard as ever to protect the Bay we love, on many, many fronts. Some of the issues that are closest to the heart of the Bay of Islands include:

Floating cottagesGBA provided input to the Ontario government about issues related to floating cottages, and drafted wording to help GBA associations add their voices to the mix. Coastal protectionAs development pressures increase all over cottage country, it is becoming increasingly important for municipalities in ecologically sensitive areas like Georgian Bay to work together to take a unified approach. The GBA Coastal Protection Committee has brought together representatives from 5 of the GBA area municipalities, including NEMI, to review their planning regulations. The objective is to facilitate the sharing of best practices when it comes to planning and development along the eastern and northern Georgian Bay coast. Look out for a couple of useful guides to be published by GBA in the coming months:A planning policies and regulations guide will provide practical information about navigating planning rules, applications and enforcementA septic management and maintenance guide will review the septic options available, along with how to maintain your existing septic system to ensure our Bay waters stay cleanWater levelsGBA continues to monitor this ongoing issue - you may have attended one of the 3 webinars GBA hosted in fall 2021 about the many issues related to water levels that can arise. Water qualityThe dock foam regulations bill was passed in 2021 and the legislation is in the process of being written - GBA is working to ensure the legislation is robust enough to be enforceable. Perhaps our grandchildren will be spared having to clean up drifting blue styrofoam from the shores of our Bay!The washing machine filters bill has been through a second reading, so GBA continues to put pressure on the government to ensure that in the future all washing machines will be equipped with filters to prevent plastic microfibres from entering our water systems.First Nations and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK)GBA is exploring how TEK can be better integrated into GBA actions to ensure decisions are made with consideration of all stakeholders.Discussions about the Wiikwemkoong boundary claim have been on hold, but GBA continues to connect with Wiikwemkoong leaders. GovernanceRecent changes to the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act require all not-for-profit organizations to make certain changes to their governance documents. GBA organized a workshop to help GBA associations navigate this process, as it can be complex and not all boards have the capacity/knowledge to address this. Some of the BICA board members attended and BICA will continue to be supported by GBA as needed as we make changes to our documents.

BICA Environment Committee Report

By Chris Redston

We are focusing our efforts on three areas: Water Quality, Invasive Species and Septic Systems.

Water Quality – After many years of testing water in several locations around the Bay, the board has decided to discontinue this program. Data collected indicates that aside from a couple of isolated locations, we are fortunate to have, overall, very good water quality. We are encouraging BICA members to test their own drinking water to ensure that their water treatment systems are functioning properly. Information on how to test your drinking water has been posted on the BICA website. Lindsay Richards and Martha McLellan have agreed to serve on a Water Quality Sub-committee to increase awareness and develop actionable plans to continue our efforts to maintain and improve water quality in the Bay.

Invasive Species – We will continue to raise awareness about Invasive Phragmites and encourage BICA members to be on the lookout for any new stands of this plant in the water and adjacent shoreline of public and private property. In August 2021, we organized teams of volunteers to cut back stands of Invasive Phragmites on public land on the river in Whitefish Falls and the S-turn off the main channel. We will continue to monitor and cut back these stands in the Summer of 2022. It is each members responsibility to look out for and address any new stands of this plant on their own property. The BICA board can assist with help in identification and recommendations on how to eradicate the Phragmites before they become huge stands that are very difficult to control.

Septic Systems – Properly functioning septic systems play an important role in preventing sewage runoff and degrading water quality. One of the best ways to ensure a properly functioning septic system is the regular inspection and pump-out of septic tanks. The BICA board is arranging for Ferguson Maintenance to pump out septic tanks during the Summer of 2022. Additional information on septic systems and best practices has been posted on the BICA website.



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