Environmental Report 2023

BICA Environment Committee Report 2023

By Chris Redston

We continue our focus on three key areas: Water Quality, Invasive Species, and Septic Systems. We are planning Love Your Bay Week 2023 – from August 5 to 12 – to communicate directly with members via email and post relevant content on the BICA website. Lindsay Richards and Martha McLellan continue to serve on the Water Quality Sub-committee. They have assisted with ideas and content for Love Your Bay Week and are planning to use the BICA Facebook Group to build awareness and promote the Love Your Bay Week campaign.

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. We will encourage members to use non-hazardous and more eco-friendly cleaning products by distributing content during Love Your Bay Week.

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 shorelines of public and private property. It is each members responsibility to look out for and attempt to control new stands of this plant on their own property. We will assist BICA members by providing information on how to identify and control Invasive Phragmites during Love Your Bay Week.

In August 2022, we organized a team of volunteers to cut the stand of Invasive Phragmites on public land on the Whitefish River near Whitefish Falls. Based on the updated Best Management Practices issued by the Ontario Invasive Plant Council, we have decided to stop the annual Phragmites cut on this stand on the Whitefish River. The updated practice does not recommend cutting the plant above grade. On its own, it is not an effective control method and can encourage new growth. Instead, we will lobby government to use new updated practices that now recommend the use of other control methods, including the use herbicides that are now approved for use near the water.

An invasive aquatic weed – Eurasian Watermilfoil – has spread rapidly through the Bay of Islands and there are now small and large weed beds throughout our water. We will use Love Your Bay Week to raise awareness of this invasive species with recommendations on how to slow the spread.

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. Mark Thoburn coordinated the pump-out of 31 BICA member septic tanks by Ferguson Maintenance in July 2023. Jim Ferguson has tentatively agreed to come back to the Bay of Islands on a 5-year rotation. We will use Love Your Bay Week to inform and educate members on what they can do to maintain their septic systems in good working order and encourage members to do regular pump outs.