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Drummond Island to Penetanguishene: A Father/Daughter tandem SUP pilgrimage across Lake Huron for microsplastics research

Scott Parent, Explorer/Photographer/SUP Guide and his daughter Acadia

Inspired by the Metis Migration route of 1824, Scott Parent and his daughter Acadia set out on a 14’ Expedition SUP from Drummond island, MI, USA, to paddle tandem all the way to Penetanguishene, ON, CA. Almost 500km on the other end of Lake Huron. Together they carried expedition gear, camera gear, and sampling equipment to take water samples along the entire route, to be tested for micro plastics, post trip. They also carried a flute and a ukulele.


Inspired after a speech she wrote for school on garbage in the worlds oceans, Acadia wondered if plastic was harming fish in lake Huron as it was in the oceans. She read the Coastal Centre’s 2018 report on Micro plastics as part of that research and this inspired the father/daughter duo to take samples along the route and fill in some data from some of the more remote locations, across all three bodies of Lake Huron waters: North Channel, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.


Scott and Acadia share stories about their experiences from one end of the lake to the other. From paddling the historic waters, high water levels, to living on the lake for one month and a day on a 14’ paddle board. Learn about their experiences taking water samples and hear about the results of their analysis.


Drivers of Recent and Historical Water Level Variability Across the Great Lakes

Dr. Andrew Gronewold, Associate Professor

University of Michigan

Dr. Gronewold’s presentation will provide an overview of historical water level dynamics across the Great Lakes system, exploring drivers of water level variability across time scales ranging from daily, to monthly, to inter-annual.  Dr. Gronewold will also present an update on water levels over the past several years, including an analysis of the drivers behind the record-setting water level surge starting in 2014, and the conditions that have led to new record-high conditions.

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Preventing An Invasion...the New Reality. Invasive Species, Climate Change and the Work of the GLFC

Greg McClinchey, B.A., MPM, Legislative Liaison

Great Lakes Fishery Commission

For 65-years, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission has worked with the governments of Canada and the US, two provinces, eight states and numerous indigenous councils, to tackle the problem of invasive species. From Sea Lamprey and Goby, to Asian Carp and Zebra Mussels, that effort has yielded success, but factors such as globalization and climate change are altering the way invasives travel, interact, and are controlled. The science is fluctuating, invasives are diversifying, and behaviour is changing. The GLFC and our partners are working to keep pace, but preventing an invasion is not as simple as it once was.  


An "Action Agenda" for Lake Huron nature based solutions for healthy water and vibrant communities

Great Lakes One Water (GLOW):

Samantha Nellis, Watershed Planner, Michigan Team Lead, Huron Pines

Barry Randall, Ontario Team Lead, Grey Bruce Sustainability Network

Stuart Reid, Executive Director, Foundation Grey Bruce

GLOW is a multi-year, basin-wide initiative focused on engaging shoreline community foundations to advance a new era of water management to benefit people and businesses in the Great Lakes Basin. Six regional teams across the Great Lakes are tackling issues like flooding, green infrastructure workforce development and updating and activating watershed management plans - all of which advance collaborative water projects to help manage and transport water. Our presentation will focus on the work of the Lake Huron Regional team to address stormwater threats through nature-based solutions and community engagement. We will describe the first year accomplishments and opportunities for collaboration around the Lake Huron watershed.

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Lake Huron Lakewide Action and Management Plan - LAMP 101

Paul A. Parete, Great Lakes Ecosystem Management Section, Strategic Policy

Environment and Climate Change Canada

Under the GLWQA, the Lake Huron Partnership developed the Lakewide Action and Management Plan (LAMP) for the years 2017-2021. The LAMP is a binational ecosystem-based management strategy for protecting and restoring the water quality of Lake Huron including the St Mary’s River. The LAMP is developed and implemented by the Lake Huron Partnership, which is led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and which facilitates information sharing, sets priorities, and assists in coordinating binational environmental protection and restoration activities. The LAMP uses an integrated management approach that recognizes the interaction of human and natural influences on Lake Huron habitats, species, and physical processes.  It is intended to guide and support the work of natural resource managers, decision-makers, Lake Huron partners, and the public over a five year period. With such a wide range of stakeholders involved in all aspects of LAMP development and implementation, it is imperative to effectively connect the science to stakeholders in order for the LAMP to be effective in protecting Lake Huron water quality.


The perplexing contrast between water quality concerns at the shoreline and the open waters of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay

Todd Howell, Great Lakes Ecologist

Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

Low nutrients prevail over the coastline of Lake Huron, yet issues linked to land runoff have persisted for decades.  At times, rivers discharge water enriched in nutrients and fecal pollutants that impacts water quality.  Past studies indicate that land-runoff effects are often concentrated at the shoreline.  An additional concern in recent years is that Lake Huron has undergone "oligotrophication", a reduction in the productivity of the lake due to falling offshore phosphorus levels.  This has been attributed, in part, to effects of the invasive zebra and quagga mussels on the lake ecosystem. This presentation examines factors shaping the contrasting concerns of nutrient enrichment at the shoreline and offshore oligotrophication.


The Rich Trade History of the Lake Huron Coast

Jenna McGuire, Culture Keeper

Historic Saugeen Métis

Lake Huron’s west coast has a deep but little known history of trade and commerce.  We will explore that history through maps, artifacts and historical writing and begin to paint a picture of the coast’s economy from before European contact through to the era of steam.  We will take a special focus on local fur trade activity and examine this changing economy through the eyes of the local Métis.


Rehabilitating Coastal Wetland Habitat in Severn Sound

Michelle Hudolin, Wetlands & Habitat Biologist

Severn Sound Environmental Association

Historical land uses in Penetanguishene resulted in impacts to coastal wetlands and loss of habitat. A seiche event exposed the magnitude of the problem in the nearshore, motivated governments and the community to take action, and led to a multi-phase remediation project facilitated through the Severn Sound Remedial Action Plan. This session will showcase the rehabilitation project that transformed nearshore habitat, and reestablished coastal wetlands and natural watercourses in an urban park. Today, this area is a hub of activity for people and wildlife, and the wetlands are recognized as part of a provincially significant coastal wetland complex.

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Becky Smith, Regional Communications Manager Southern Ontario

Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO)

Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is responsible for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel in a manner that protects people and the environment, including our precious water resources like the Great Lakes.


This presentation will provide an overview of the NWMO’s multi-year, site selection process to identify a safe site, in an informed and willing host community, highlight the NWMO’s innovative technical work and cover the important role that people play in implementing Canada’s Plan.


Erosion: A necessary part of the coastal process

Steve Jackson, P. Eng., Flood and Erosion Safety Services Coordinator

Maitland Valley Conservation Authority

Erosion, although not popular with many people, is a necessary part of the coastal process. Often unseen during low lake levels, the effects of the process are very obvious now that Lake Huron has returned to record highs. This talk will review the processes that are occurring and explain why erosion is necessary. 


Lake Huron water levels: where they have been, where they are now and where they are going in the future

Dr. Frank Seglenieks, Water Resources Engineer

National Hydrological Service of Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada

​​Historically, Lake Huron has experienced more variation than the other Great Lakes and in the past decade it has recorded both record lows and highs.  Along with the other Great Lakes, Lake Huron has recently recorded some of its highest levels in the historical record.  This presentation will first examine the reasons for these high levels including recent trends in precipitation, runoff, and evaporation.  Then the current state of the lake will be discussed and finally the levels that can be expected on the lake in the near future will be presented.

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Healthy Lake Huron, A Model for Improving Water Quality in the Great Lakes

Ted Briggs, Great Lakes Advisor

Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

Jacqui Empson-Laporte, Environmental Specialist

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Since 2010 a multi-agency/stakeholder group has worked together to coordinate actions under the Healthy Lake Huron banner, an initiative to protect and improve water quality along the southeast shores of Lake Huron from Sarnia to Tobermory. This initiative focuses on implementing actions within priority areas to reduce nutrient and bacterial inputs through outreach and education with local landowners. With today’s agricultural systems being far more complex the people who provide technical advice and influence BMP adoption has also changed. As part of the Healthy Lake Huron initiative work is also underway to examine the players in the agricultural and environmental fields who reach out to farmers to look at how we can work with these influencers to improve adoption of BMPs and strengthen our understanding of what motivates behaviour change.

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The unseen source: impact of groundwater-lake interactions on nutrient and fecal contaminants in nearshore waters

Dr. Clare Robinson, Associate Professor

Western University

Groundwater discharge can contribute a wide range of pollutants to surface waters including nutrients, toxic metals, and fecal contaminant. Often the groundwater pathway is overlooked as it is unseen and more challenging to measure and manage relative to surface water inputs.  This talk will provide an overview of the potential importance of groundwater-surface water interactions on water quality challenges in the Great Lakes with a focus on field studies that have been conducted to evaluate the delivery of nutrients and fecal contaminants to nearshore waters. 

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Effective Ideas of Indigenous Community-Based Participation in Resource Management

Gary Pritchard, Environmental and Climate Change Manager

Cambium Aboriginal

When Canadians look at conservation it’s primarily through an academic or “Western Science” approach. This approach often leads to conflict with the rights holders in the area. Western Science needs to learn how to incorporate various ways of knowing and knowledge systems in order to create a more holistic approach to resource and environmental management. This session sheds light on the Indigenous ways of knowing and working with our knowledge systems.


Recognizing and Controlling Local Non-Native Invasive Plants

Lynn Short, Professor in Horticulture/Environmental Stewardship Coordinator

Humber College/Humber Arboretum

This presentation will discuss the general characteristics of an invasive plant and why it is so important to control these non-native invaders. Some common problem local invasive plants, such as Giant Hogweed, Phragmites, English Ivy, Miscanthus species and Eurasian Water Milfoil, will be identified and some control measures discussed. Suggestions for alternate, more desirable plant species will also be discussed.

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Hog-nosed snakes and the function of dune-coastal systems

Marcus Maddalena, County Biologist/Stewardship Coordinator

County of Huron/Huron Stewardship Council

Coming soon!

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Microfibers, Microplastics, and Misconceptions: Designing Plastic Pollution Solutions for the Great Lakes

Lisa Erdle, PhD Candidate

University of Toronto and Georgian Bay Forever

Microfibers – one of the most common types of microplastics in the Great Lakes – impact fish and invertebrates through physical and chemical processes. Washing machines are known to emit thousands of microfibers in a single wash and washing machine filters reduce microfiber emissions to the environment. UofT and Georgian Bay Forever are working together to test 100 washing machine filters in volunteer households in Parry Sound, ON. To date, these filters have diverted millions of microfibers from the environment, showing that washing machine filters are an effective solution to reducing microfiber pollution.

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Population losses of gulls, terns, and cormorants in Lake Huron after the regime shift of 2003-2004: consequences of the shift to a benthic-dominated large-lake ecosystem and loses of prey in the water column.

James P. Ludwig

Retired, Former owner of the Ecological Research Services Inc. and Science, Ecological Research and Education Inc. Consulting Groups

Since 2015, Lake Huron herring and ring-billed gulls, Caspian terns and double-crested cormorant nesting declined ≥80%.  Large shifts of availability and quality of their forage led to smaller clutches and eggs.  Greatly increased bald eagle predation and interspecific competition among waterbirds depressed chick survival.  Cormorant productivity was depressed the least, but is no longer enough to restore a large population even without culls.  Because cormorants dive to forage, they can reach food resources the other species cannot.  Stable isotopes show a pronounced shift away from pelagic forage to benthic forage in Lake Huron except in Saginaw Bay.  Waterbird populations in Lake Huron can be expected to continue to decline if this regime persists.

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Mary-Louise Byrne, PhD, PGeo, Professor Geography and Environmental Studies

Wilfrid Laurier University

Coming soon!

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Dark Matters on the Huron Shores

Tanya Berkers, Resource Management Group Leader

Pinery Provincial Park

We're accustomed to thinking of pollution in terms of substances that are physically poisoning our environment: plastics, oil spills, pesticides, PCBs. Slowly, we're beginning to recognize that we are polluting in other ways too. Artificial lights are changing how plants are pollinated, endangering migrating birds, and impacting human health. Addressing this increasing threat to our coastal and inland ecosystems will require community-level cooperation, but in this session you'll find out the many benefits of turning out the lights.

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Patrick Donnelly, Coastal Science and Stewardship Advisor

Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation

Coming soon!



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