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The Township of The Archipelago (TOA) has partnered with the Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere (GBB) to deliver community programming to ratepayers. 
The goal of the partnership between GBB and the TOA is to provide for high quality and accessible, environmental information sharing and programming. This specifically means working to increase environmental literacy and awareness among ratepayers within the TOA and increasing the capacity to address/respond to environmental issues, challenges, and opportunities. Furthermore, this programming helps to meet the mandate of a UNESCO (United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization) designated world Biosphere and more specifically, the strategic objectives of GBB.
Learn what we're doing to reduce our impact on the environment and how you can help by exploring the topics listed below.

The ICECAP is a partnership between the Municipalities and First Nations located in the Georgian Bay Biosphere region for the purpose of a collaborative, more cost-effective approach to energy management and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Our partners are taking action against climate change in the region. Known as the Integrated Community Energy and Climate Action Plans (ICECAP), GBB is helping area Councils and their communities mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and build resilience by adapting to a changing climate.

ICECAP Objectives

  1. Encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
  2. Improve energy efficiency
  3. Reduce the use of fossil fuels
  4. Adapt to a changing climate by building greater resilience

TOA Corporate Climate Action Plan

Check back for upcoming webinars & events or visit

Until then, find links to past webinars here:

Advanced Septic Systems - What, How, and When?

Septic system designer Caroline Newby shares the differences between advanced septic systems, how they work, and what factors and applications might indicate which technology is best. This presentation is ideal for home and cottage owners looking to learn more about septic system options.

Watch the recorded webinar here.

Life on the Bay Virtual Stewardship Party

The Georgian Bay Biosphere celebrates the launch of the second edition of the Life on the Bay Stewardship Guide with a virtual stewardship party! A fantastic line up of speakers share knowledge and resources on key stewardship topics.

Watch the recorded webinar here.

Septic Health & You

Danielle Ward from Adams Brothers Construction shares information on grey water pits, composting toilets, septic inspections, and more! Learn how important and simple it can be to keep your septic in tip top shape.

Watch the recorded webinar here.

LDD Moth & Emerald Ash Borer

LDD moth is an invasive forest pest that defoliates hardwood trees. Emerald ash borer is an invasive beetle species responsible for killing millions of ash trees in Southern Ontario. Join the Biosphere and Westwind Forest Stewardship to learn more about these pests, what their presence could mean for your trees, and strategies to manage the impacts.

Watch the recorded webinar here.

Game of Thrones: Septic Health & Best Practices

Learn what every home and cottage owner needs to know about their septic system. 

Watch the recorded webinar here.

Seeing the Trees & the Forest: Meet Your Forest Pests

We will explore the forest pests currently in the Biosphere and the ones on their way here: Beech Bark Disease, Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, Oak Wilt, and more. 

Watch the recorded webinar here.

Birds of the Biosphere

Explore the lives of local birds: what you are most likely to see in eastern Georgian Bay, tips for better birding, identification and bird calls, plus simple ways we can help our feathered friends. 

Watch the recorded webinar here.

Managing & Monitoring Muskellunge: A Twenty-Year Retrospective and Beyond

Arunas Liskauskas takes viewers on a journey across twenty years of study on the infamous muskie in Georgian Bay and the North Channel. What does the past tell us about the future of these great fish?  

Watch the recorded webinar here

Water Quality Program Outline

The water quality monitoring program represents a successful partnership between the Township of The Archipelago, ratepayer associations, and numerous volunteers in areas along the coast and inland lakes that has lasted since its inception in 1999. The volunteer-based program provides an important avenue for relaying information about our environment to ratepayers and for providing valuable information to the Township.

The Township has partnered with the Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere (GBB) on environmental programming, which includes coordinating the Township’s water quality monitoring program.

In 2016 the Township recommended changes to its water quality (WQ) monitoring program, with the main recommendation being a shift from bacteria to phosphorus monitoring. Over three years, as part of their Coordinated Nutrient Monitoring Program, GBB worked with partners to review existing nutrient monitoring efforts along eastern Georgian Bay and develop a new set of guidelines and recommendations to improve effectiveness and efficiency of the collective efforts of volunteers, associations, agencies and other organizations.

GBB is encouraging ratepayer associations and volunteers to join or continue with the Lake Partner Program (LPP) to monitor total phosphorus (TP) trends. The LPP is an Ontario-wide, publicly funded, free program that collects data about phosphorus, water clarity, calcium, and temperature from volunteers. The simple tests for TP and water clarity provide a strong basis for assessing the health of the ecosystem, and whether TP is too high or too low. Advantages of the LPP are that it facilitates comparisons with other organizations monitoring on the Bay, as well as Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) monitoring programs. Data collected by volunteers are analyzed by the Dorset Environmental Science Centre which makes all data available online.

If you are interested in becoming a water quality monitoring volunteer, please contact Katrina Krievins, Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere,, 705-774-0978.

Water Quality Program Reports 

*after 2018 water quality information is found in the annual Environment Report (see Program Updates & Reports tab)

Lake Simcoe South-Eastern Georgian Bay Clean Up Fund 2012-2017

To address public concerns about impaired water quality (particularly the presence of algal blooms) and meet commitments to protect ecosystem health under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, Environment and Climate Change Canada initiated the Lake Simcoe South‐Eastern Georgian Bay Cleanup Fund (LSGBCUF) in 2012.

35 research and monitoring projects were funded under the 2012‐2017 LSBGCUF and conducted within the geographic boundary of south‐eastern Georgian Bay.

Please visit the State of the Bay website to read an overall summary report, as well as individual project reports.
There are concerns over a range of invasive forest pests threatening local forests including the emerald ash borer, Asian long-horned beetle, beech bark disease, and hemlock wooly adelgid. This webpage provides an overview of the trees, forest regions, and forest pests in the Parry Sound-Muskoka area, as well as pests that might arrive in the near future. Where possible, control measures and references (for further reading) have also been provided. Since many of these pests arrive from southern Ontario, and some are at risk of spreading north from this region, the best practice for residents and cottagers is to not bring/move firewood, skids, and wood products.

Forest Health Documents

*after 2018 forest health information is found in the annual Environment Report (see Program Updates & Reports tab)

Trees and Forests of the Township of The Archipelago

In order to identify forest pests we need to have a solid understanding of what trees and forest types are typically present. Local information about the types of trees and forest conditions can be found in the Township of The Archipelago's Caring For Property document, which outlines 13 Forest Zones with the prefix 'N' assigned to the north half of the Township (Harrison & Shawanaga) and 'S' assigned to the south half (Cowper & Conger). This information is provided to assist residents and cottagers to identify the types of tree species on their property, as well as any associated potential stresses (e.g. pests). This in turn will allow you to make more informed decisions as to whether there are best practices and/or measures you can take to help maintain the health of your trees/forests.

Common Forest Concerns Present in the Archipelago
 The following pests are known to occur in the Parry Sound-Muskoka area based on confirmed reports. 
Pest SummaryIdentificationDistributionBest Practices & Control
Beech Bark Disease (BBD)

- A non-native insect-fungus complex caused by the beech scale (Cryptococcus fagisuga) and the canker fungus (Neonectria faginata)
- Adult beech scale are small, oval insects 1 mm long
- Beech scale is recognizable by the white, wooly wax covering on the body which looks like small white fuzz on the bark

- Fungus is red, appears in circular or lemon-shaped cankers

- Cankers often have raised edges and cracks

- Crown die back, dead branches may be early signs

- Usually larger trees in a stand are attacked and show signs first
- Strong presence in the Archipelago and Baysville areas

- Spread in Blackstone Lake, Crane Lake, Healey Lake

- Extensive damage in Killbear Provincial Park and Wasauksing First Nation

- As of 2012, BBD has spread throughout the majority of Ontario's beech population

- Satellite disease centres (those far from its main range) may be the result of moving firewood from infested sites
- Cutting down beech trees may be necessary if trees pose a hazard to people, animals or property

- Gradual and selective removal of defective, diseased trees, plus suppression of susceptible beech regeneration might promote a generation of potentially resistant beech and prove the most effective, long-term approach

- The MNRF is working with Michigan State University to protect trees from beech scale with the insecticide TreeAzin, a botanical insecticide derived from the nuts of the neem tree
Spongy Moth

Lymantria dispar

- Accidentally introduced to Massachusetts, from Europe, in 1869 by Professor L. Trouvelot while trying to develop a silkworm industry in North America
- Larvae: full-grown larvae are hairy and range in length from 35-90 mm, pairs of five blue and six red dots along their backs

- Adult Female Moth: winged but too heavily bodied for flight, mostly white, wingspan between 60-70 mm, prominent dark wavy lines cross the forewings

- Adult Male Moth: dark brown to beige, erratic flier, dark wavy lines cross the forewings, wingspan 35-40 mm
- Confirmed presence in S. Ontario, as far north as Sault St. Marie

- Low levels in the Archipelago, some defoliation near Magnetawan in 2013 and 2014, likely an extension of a persistent outbreak in the Sudbury Area

- Isolated outbreaks in Pointe au Baril islands area

- Prefers oak, basswood, willow, Manitoba maple, white birch, poplar, apple, tamarack, mountain ash, alder, and hawthorn

- Will also predate beech, eastern white pine, white spruce, and eastern hemlock
- Place a band of burlap around the trunks at chest height on a host tree during the larval period (spring), check under the bands at mid-day and destroy any larvae or pupae found

- New egg (darker in colour) masses can be scraped from trees into a bucket and destroyed, do not leave the egg masses on the ground as the eggs will survive

- Extreme conditions of cold can kill eggs

- Parasites, squirrels and birds feed directly on the eggs or larvae

- The fungus Entomophaga maimaiga can cause extensive mortality under damp conditions, and may persist from year to year in gypsy moth populations

- A naturally occurring virus called nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV) causes the most extensive mortality of larvae at outbreak levels

- Bacillus thuringiensis (Btk), applied by an arborist, to the foliage once the larvae appear in late May is an effective control (foliage should be 40-50% expanded when Bt is applied)
Dutch Elm Disease

- Caused by a vascular
wilt fungus,

Ophiostoma ulmi which is carried via two species of beetles:

the European elm bark beetle and the native elm bark beetle
- Leaves wilt and curl

- Leaves turn yellow and brown in summer

- Branches begin to dieback and then result in death

- Brown staining can be seen on the side of the tree when bark is peeled back
- In northern and eastern Ontario the disease is found in scattered locations

- Can be spread from plant to plant through root grafts between adjacent trees

- Remove dying and recently killed elm trees

- For individual trees of high ornamental value, injecting a fungicide into the roots appears to be effective in disease control, this is available only through specialized tree-service companies

Introduced Pine Sawfly

Diprion similis (Hartig)
- Adult: females have a saw-like structure at the tip of the abdomen

- Larvae: up to 28 mm long, black heads, bodies yellow and white spots on black backgrounds

- Defoliation begins in upper crown of trees but in fall can encompass entire tree, branch mortality may occur or, in extreme cases, the whole tree may die
- Remains at low levels, there are isolated populations, such as the Pointe au Baril islands area

- Eastern white pine is the preferred host, it can be found on all pines, particularly ornamental, nursery, or plantation trees
- Timing: the following best practices should be applied during both IPS generations/hatchings, typically the first generation hatches in June and the second in Augut/September

- Watering - It's important to water your trees during times of drought. One option is to drill a few small holes in a large plastic barrel and place it next to the tree. So when you leave the cottage, water in the barrel will slowly drain and water your tree. Obviously this can't be done for every tree, so select this option for your 'special' trees and/or those that are located in areas of shallow soil.

- Confirmed larvae should be killed

- On smaller trees, larvae and unhatched pupal cases can be picked off the tree and destroyed

- On larger tress, use a water hose to knock larvae from branches as it may help curtail defoliation. Remember not to power spray too hard (i.e. don't spray off the bark).

- Tree wrapping can be done to mitigate the likelihood of the caterpillars climbing back up it (after power spraying). There are commercially available products, such as Tanglefoot or Pest Stick, that can be used and come with instructions. It's important that these products are not placed directly on the bark. Typically waterproof paper or tape (4 inches in width) is placed on the trunk and then the product is applied. It may be necessary to replace the wrap if it becomes full of debris and/or insects. Remember to remove the product at the end of year.

- Some birds and parasitic wasps are natural enemies

- Fluctuating temperatures or heavy rainfall during egg and larval development can control an infestation
Forest Tent Caterpillar (FTC)

Malacosoma disstria

- often confused with eastern tent caterpillar, however the FTC does not actually make a tent
- Larvae: black, hairy, about 3 mm long

- Mature caterpillars: black and blue, about 50 mm long, have "key hole" markings on their backs

- Adult: stout-bodied, beige/buff coloured, wingspans 20 45mm, two dark, diagonal lines across the forewings
- In the past, outbreaks typically occurred on a 10 year cycle

- Prefers trembling aspen, oak, and sugar maple but will attack shrubs and all broadleaf trees, with the exception of red maple

NOTE: Outbreaks of tent caterpillars are important for insect eating birds including many at-risk warbler species. Please use discretion when attempting to remove populations.
- Prune egg-bands off twigs from August to just before egg hatch in early May

- Tie a metre of burlap around tree trunks at chest height, remove and destroy larvae from under the folds of the burlap daily

- Unfavourable weather in the spring (e.g. late frosts) often reduces the severity of epidemics

- Disease, viruses and fungi often are responsible for large reductions in populations

- The native friendly fly, or government fly, Sarcophaga aldrichi, typically affects FTC populations in year 3 or 4 of an outbreak

- Bacillus thuringiensis (Btk) applied by an arborist to the foliage once the FTC larvae appear in late May is an effective control. Foliage should be 40-50% expanded when Btk is applied.
Fall Webworm

Hyphantria cunea

- In the tiger moth family

- Description is for northern species version
- Larvae: head usually black, cream-coloured body with rows of black or orange bumps with groups of stiff, white hairs extending out of them, some hairs quite long

- Adult: a pure white moth, emerge in mid-June, orange markings on the body and legs, wings have some black spots and an expanse of 30 mm

- The tent covers the ends of branches of hardwood trees like a shroud
- Often seen starting in August in the Georgian Bay area

- Fall webworm has many hosts but is most common on birch, black walnut, ash, cherry and apple
- Although fall webworm is not aesthetically pleasing, and the infested trees look to be in poor health, it is highly unlikely that healthy trees are killed. High populations do not generally persist for more than 2 or 3 years. Natural control factors, including a host of parasites and predators will help to control these outbreaks
Hemlock Looper

Lambdina fiscellaria

fiscellaria Guenee
- Larvae: dark, mottled, gray when young, various colours varying from yellow to black when mature, full grown 30 mm long

- Adult: a poor flyer, will stay on lower 3m of trees, tan-greyish in colour

- mid-July defoliation of new and old foliage will be evident in the crown

- Silk webbing will be abundant in the defoliated stands
- In 2002, it was found on several islands in The Archipelago

- Defoliation was found on Shawanaga Is., in Johnny Bay area, in Five Mile Narrows area, in Menominee Channel area, in Kapikog Lake area, and Woods Bay area

- Present in the Lake Muskoka and Lake Joseph area

- Present at low levels at the following TOA in-land lakes: Blackstone, Crane and Healey

- Prefers eastern hemlock and balsam fir but recorded on white pine, white spruce, eastern white cedar and trembling aspen
- Be watchful in case the Muskoka situation signifies a rise in looper populations in Parry Sound District

- Smaller infestations can likely be managed by landowners by using a high pressure water hose to knock the larvae off the trees and kill confirmed larvae

- Spraying of a natural (biological) insecticide known as Btk has been proven to be the most effective at controlling and eradicating hemlock looper infestations. The bacterium used in the spray is naturally occurring, in fact Btk is certified for use in organic farming. It lasts for about four or five days. An arborist would have the specialized equipment to spray with Btk if the pest population is high, or occurs in the crowns of tall trees.

- There are two fungi that appear to be the primary natural cause of decline:

Entomophthora sphaerosperma and E. egressa

- Parasites and birds may contribute to population reduction
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)

Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire

- a small, shiny emerald coloured beetle
- Adult: beetle is shiny emerald or coppery green-coloured, narrow bodied (max. 3 mm x 8 mm) large eyes bronze or black, and kidney-shaped

- Wide variety of signs on ash trees including defoliation, bark deformity, markings under bark, yellow foliage, dead branches and abundant seed production

- D shaped exit holes in tree bark
- An EAB insect was found both in Bracebridge and near Gravenhurst in 2018

- The EAB continues to spread out of southern Ontario by natural means and through movement of ash products such as firewood, nursery stock, and logs
- If you think you have found EAB, record the location and record the signs and symptoms. If possible, collect an adult specimen, keep it in a container in a freezer (to kill and preserve it), and contact the MNRF

- If you plan to move ash firewood, nursery stock or logs, inspect them for signs of emerald ash borer and other pests

- Read about insecticide options here
Red Pine Cone Beetle

Conophthorus resinosae Hopkins
- The adult beetles are black, cylindrical and about 3mm long

- They enter the second-year cones at the base, boring into the cone centre. They lay their eggs there from May to the middle of July. The white larvae with a yellow head feed on seed and scales and when fully grown pupate in the cone. The new adults emerge in late July and bore into small shoots and tunnel towards the bud. During late August to September, these mined shoots (containing the beetle) break off, fall to the ground where the beetle overwinters in these tips (when pulled apart, the adult beetle can be seen)
- Damage from the red pine cone beetle often goes unnoticed. However, it is often seen throughout The Archipelago wherever red pine trees are found.- Watering - It's important to water your trees during times of drought. One option is to drill a few small holes in a large plastic barrel and place it next to the tree. So when you leave the cottage, water in the barrel will slowly drain and water your tree. Obviously this can't be done for every tree, so select this option for your 'special' trees and/or those that are located in areas of shallow soil.

- Collect the mined shoots scattered on the forest floor and burn them
Pityophthorus spp.
- Mature twig beetles: 3 mm long, dark brown with rounded rear end in most species (a pair of short spines in a few species)

- Confirmed on white pine in the TOA- Almost always considered a secondary pest which attack trees that are stressed for another reason

- Populations may build up in stressed wood (fire, drought, considerable logging debris) and then move to healthier stands.
- Seldom cause widespread damage or mortality to healthy, vigorously growing trees.

Common Forest Pests Potentially in The Archipelago
The following pests could be present, or may arrive shortly, within the Parry Sound-Muskoka area based on advice and monitoring of forestry experts.
Pest SummaryIdentificationDistributionBest Practices & Control
Pine Shoot Beetle

Tomicus piniperda Linnaeus
- Adult: 3-5 mm long, black or dark brown in colour, cylindrical in shape

- Tree evidence includes 2 mm bore holes in the trunk and stem, resin encrusted bore holes, and shoots that have been bored out
- Confirmed population was found in Bracebridge in 2000 and an eradication attempt took place in 2003
- May be a population in Parry Sound district however  monitoring has mainly been focused above northern boundary of the regulated area
- Watering - It's important to water your trees during times of drought. One option is to drill a few small holes in a large plastic barrel and place it next to the tree. So when you leave the cottage, water in the barrel will slowly drain and water your tree. Obviously this can't be done for every tree, so select this option for your 'special' trees and/or those that are located in areas of shallow soil.

- Known infected counties are under a quarantine restricting the movement of pine lumber, Christmas trees and nursery stock

- Potential brood material must be removed from known infestations
Oak Wilt

- an aggressive disease which attacks primarily red, but also white oak
- Rapid leaf discolouration, loss and wilting over the summer

- Leaves wilt from the crown downward

- Leaves take on a bronze colour
- It is anticipated that it is just a matter of time before oak wilt arrives in Ontario, as it is presently in the state of Michigan- Once an oak wilt infection is confirmed, there is no treatment to save individual trees but there are treatments to save surrounding oaks and stop the spread

- DO NOT prune oaks during growing season

- If you need to prune oaks, DO NOT prune them between April 15 and July 15

- DO NOT purchase or source firewood from other districts

- For confirmed cases, trenching an area around the infected tree can help reduce the spread to other oaks through the roots

- Tree removal for confirmed cases will help stop the spread from vectors such as insects
Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA)

- an aphid-like insect
- Presence of white cottony masses on twigs and at the base of the hemlock needles is strong evidence of an infestation

- The insect and eggs are difficult to see as they are protected with their mass of fluffy white secretion
HWA has been found in two locations in Ontario to date:

- first was in Etobicoke in 2012. An arborist found it when working on a residential property. Trees were removed. This infestation likely arrived via infested nursery stock. CFIA attempts to trace back to nursery did not yield any further detection.

- second find was in Niagara Gorge -- natural area, large hemlocks, on slope. Population has since been destroyed.
- Monitoring for new infestations continues in this region

HWA has also been found in Nova Scotia (Digby, Yarmouth and Shelburne counties) in the summer of 2017
- Look for masses of white wool, which the insects create on the twigs of hemlock trees

- Putting bird feeders in or near hemlock trees is NOT recommended

- Hemlock nursery stock should be closely inspected for white wool on the twigs

- Native lacewing and predatory fly larvae feed on HWA ,they are not effective control

- Populations have shown decline following extreme and extended winters

- Horticultural oil (2 % or lower) or insecticidal soap sprays applied in spring suffocate HWA on accessible trees, applications are costly and impractical for large scale

- Soil drench imidacloprid applications can be available for homeowner use
Asian Long-horned Beetle

- Adults: 2-4 cm long

- Shiny black with prominent, irregular white spots

- Distinct bluish-white legs

- Long, black and white banded antennae, 1-2x its body length

- Adults leave a round exit hole, approximately 1 cm across in trees
- Under eradication in Mississauga and Toronto after it was re-discovered there in 2013- Cottagers who reside in the south are reminded that moving firewood, pallets, or other waste wood from southern Ontario to the cottage can transport invasives

Forest Stewardship Best Management Practices & Resources

 Know Your Species and Your Property

  • Take the time to get to become more familiar with your property and the types of trees growing on it
  • Understand the current and possible threats to your trees
  • Monitor your property during different seasons
  • You may want to familiarize yourself with relevant legislation and funding opportunities regarding woodlot management (see links provided below)
  • Check out the Georgian Bay Biosphere's Life on the Bay Guide.  Contact to book a workshop.

Invasive and Pest Species 101

Report Invasive Species:

  • EDDMapS Ontario is a fast and easy way to map invasive species without any technical expertise. Users simply take a picture with their mobile device and report from where they are standing.
  • Download the mobile App for Android and Apple devices.
  • Call the provincial Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711

Develop a Management Plan

  • On your property identify those features or high priority areas that you want to protect or preserve
  • Identify and document overall objectives for your property
  • Develop and implement management activities
  • Click here for more information on the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP)

Links & Resources

Smaller infestations can likely be managed by landowners by using a high pressure water hose to knock the larvae off the trees and kill confirmed larvae.

Spraying of a natural (biological) insecticide known as Btk has been proven to be the most effective at controlling and eradicating hemlock looper infestations. The bacterium used in the spray is naturally occurring, in fact Btk is certified for use in organic farming. It lasts for about four or five days.  An arborist would have the specialized equipment to spray with Btk if the pest population is high, or occurs in the crowns of tall trees.
Calling all Kids in the Biosphere!

Are you ready for exploration and adventure?

Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere continues to offer the Kids in the Biosphere program in partnership with the Township of The Archipelago (TOA). This free program provides participating families with activities to keep them outside and learning about nature all summer long. Kids in the Biosphere began in 2013 and has reached over 500 families!

Families within the TOA register with the program at the beginning of summer and pick up an activity kit with materials and activity instructions. The self-guided activities are designed to last all summer. Beyond nature observation, the activity kits invite families to conduct science experiments and take actions to help local species at risk. Families can submit photos of their discoveries which are posted on the Biosphere website. Activities are mainly self-guided but there are opportunities for families to interact with Biosphere staff and guest experts.

We are back for summer 2024! If you are interested in an activity kit, visit to register and find out where to pick them up! 

Have questions? Email

For more information about what the Biosphere has to offer youth, please visit

Life on the Bay Stewardship Guide 

The Life on the Bay Stewardship Guide covers a range of topics including how to live with wildlife, how to use landscaping to improve water quality, best practices during construction, how to store chemicals and garbage and many more. The guide is designed to be used by waterfront property owners on Georgian Bay and inland lakes. Digital copies of the guide are available for download on GBB's website.

The Life on the Bay Stewardship Program offers a workshops called "Stewardship Parties" designed to help homeowners interested in decreasing their ecological footprint learn how to make the most of the Stewardship Guides. The workshops are typically two hours long and suit a group size of 8 or more. Knowledgeable Biosphere staff lead participants through an environmental review of the host's property and provide additional information to help undertake any property changes.

If you are interested in hosting a stewardship party, please contact: 705.774.0978, or email

Turtles on Roads Reporting & Handling Guide 

The Turtles on Roads Reporting & Handling Guide includes everything you need to know about finding both injured and uninjured turtles on roadways. Don’t be unprepared, spring, summer and fall are turtle seasons!

Building in the Biosphere Habitat Screening Tool

Do you have a building project in mind? Naturally, you want to choose the best location and protect the key natural features of your property. The following screening tool helps to determine the potential for species at risk habitat on, or adjacent to, your proposed building site.

Over 50 species are “at risk” in the GBB due to a variety of factors including habitat loss and fragmentation, road mortality, competition from invasive species, pollution and over harvesting. These species are experiencing population declines and therefore have protection under the Provincial Endangered Species Act (ESA). It is your responsibility to ensure your building project is in compliance with the ESA. Local Townships are not responsible for verifying if you are compliant under the ESA, and do not have the authority to consider the ESA provisions in their decision to issue a building permit.

This habitat screening tool has been created to help you determine how the ESA may be applicable to your proposed building project. Essentially the screening tool helps you determine the potential for species at risk habitat on, or adjacent to, your proposed building site. This is best completed as early as possible in your planning process. This screening tool has been designed for small scale building projects. Please note that this screening tool does not replace an ESA permit or absolve the user of any responsibility under the Endangered Species Act. Please contact the Parry Sound Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry at 705-746-4201 with any questions or clarifications about the ESA.

Planting for Pollinators: A Guide for Eastern Georgian Bay 

The Planting for Pollinators Guide was developed to help individuals, families, businesses, municipalities, and all other groups increase their understanding of native pollinators, the problems they face, and the ways to help. Find detailed information about "Best for the Biosphere" native plant species, including latin names, growing conditions, and bloom information.

Township of The Archipelago Resources

One of the driving principles behind the incorporation of the Township of The Archipelago was the realization by property owners that development must be carefully managed so as to minimize any negative impact on the delicate environment. To reinforce that conviction, the Township has produced a series of handbooks. Copies of the published books are available at the Township Office or click below to link to each module.

1. Caring for our Waterfront Property for Future Generations - 2008

2. Sewage System Re-Inspection Program

From 1999 to 2005 Township inspectors conducted a Sewage System Re-Inspection Program of all developed properties within The Archipelago. 

3. Fish Spawning & Habitat 

The Archipelago contributed to the Eastern Georgian Bay Stewardship Council's work to rehabilitate spawning beds and fish habitat.

Invasive Phragmites

Invasive Phragmites (Phragmites australis subsp. australis) is a European reed that is spreading in North American wetlands, causing negative environmental and economic impacts. Phragmites grows in dense stands, crowds out native plant species, and cuts off access to waterways.

Georgian Bay has both invasive Phragmites and a native species of Phragmites (Phragmites australis subsp. americanus). It is important to learn the difference, as native Phragmites does not pose a risk for waterfront properties or local species.

Invasive Phragmites

  • up to 5 metres tall
  • stem base is usually rough, rigid, and bland in colour.

Native Phragmites

  • up to 2 metres tall
  • stem is shiny, smooth, and reddish-brown

How to identify and remove invasive Phragmites information sheet.

The Process for Invasive Phragmites Removal in Georgian Bay Wetlands and Shorelines: 7 Steps
Phragmites management in the Township of The Archipelago - April 2018 Report.

What Can I Do?

If you have identified invasive Phragmites on your property or Crown/Treaty land, early action is recommended to control and prevent its spread. Controlling invasive Phragmites before it becomes well-established will mitigate its environmental impacts, as well as reduce overall removal time and costs. You can report sightings of invasive Phragmites using the EDDMapSOntario website and/or app.

For additional information, please visit the Georgian Bay Forever website. Please visit the Ontario Invasive Plant Council website for more information and resources such as the Clean Equipment Protocol for Industry to help stop the spread of invasive species including phragmites. 

The Ontario Invasive Plant Council, a non-profit organization, was created by a group of individuals and organizational representatives who saw the need for a coordinated provincial response to the growing threat of invasive plants. They provide leadership, expertise and a forum to engage and empower Ontarians to take action on invasive plant issues. They provide expert information on how to manage invasive plants through best management practices; provide documents and training webinars; host workshops for landowners, land managers and municipalities on specific invasive plant topics; create awareness campaigns; suggest non-invasive garden plant alternatives; and work with a number of partners in a number of different fields to spread awareness and educate the public about preventing the spread of invasive species.

Check out their website for information and resources, such as fact sheets, best management practices, and alternative plantings.

Polystyrene (PS) foam is one of the top items of litter found on shorelines, beaches, and surface water around the world, including the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay. One way that polystyrene foam pollutes the water is through the fragmentation of unencapsulated PS foam used in docks and floats.
The Reeve and Council for the Township of The Archipelago has advocated the Provincial Government to prohibit the use of unencapsulated polystyrene in dock floats. The Township completed a delegation to the Honourable Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks at the 2020 Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Annual Conference. 
Further, on November 19th, 2020, Council passed Resolution 20-171 in support of Bill 228: Keeping Polystyrene Out of Ontario's Lakes and Rivers Act, 2020 introduced by Norm Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka. This private member’s bill aimed to reduce polystyrene pollution by requiring any foam used in the construction of new docks and rafts to be fully encapsulated. This important initiative to protect Ontario waters from plastic pollution received Royal Assent on May 20, 2021. Click here to view Bill 228.
Please visit Georgian Bay Forever for additional information on the issues of polystyrene foam in docks and to obtain a list of alternatives to "open" dock foam for dock construction.  

Several lakes and bays in the Township of the Archipelago (TOA) were assessed in 2015 and 2016 as part of the Love Your Lake program developed by Watersheds Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Federation, and delivered in the TOA by the Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere (GBB). The Love Your Lake program promotes shoreline stewardship and helps shoreline property owners protect and restore their shorelines, thereby improving the health of their lake. Trained surveyors assess the health of shoreline properties using the standardized Love Your Lake Shoreline Assessment Method. Results are subsequently reported back to property owners and ratepayer associations.

The GBB has prepared a high level summary of the findings for all of the lakes and bays assessed in the Township.

To view the individual summaries for each of the waters assessed, please click on the links below:

The purpose of this memo is to provide an update on the state of activities that are being undertaken to understand and monitor the issue in Sturgeon Bay and indeed, along the entire eastern coast of Georgian Bay. Specifically, ongoing research and monitoring has occurred on eastern Georgian Bay that has increased our understanding of this complicated and diverse coastline.

At September’s Committee and Council meeting (September 22, 2017) Council again affirmed its position that no new data has come forward to cause them to amend their position that a viable remediation option does not exist but that support of monitoring and research should continue.

As you are no doubt aware, Sturgeon Bay has had algae blooms throughout both the north and the south basin. The blooms in the north have been determined to consist of Cyanobacteria (Blue-Green algae) and as a result the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit has issued its standard Health Advisory.  We understand that while this year appears to have been a ‘bad’ year for algae, that algae blooms have been present pretty much annually. This year may have been worse because of weather conditions; increased rain resulting in increased nutrients to the surface waters of Sturgeon Bay.

The work undertaken on Sturgeon Bay, first to understand the issue and then to determine if a remediation option was viable provided a good foundation of knowledge on increased nutrient dynamics in more enclosed embayments of eastern Georgian Bay. When Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) announced its Lake Simcoe and Eastern Georgian Bay Clean Up Fund, considerably more attention was brought to eastern Georgian Bay to better understand what was happening and why?

Over the past 5 years the following has occurred to support our understanding of Sturgeon Bay:

  • ECCC funded research exploring the dynamics of the near shore embayments of eastern Georgian Bay;
  • Stewardship assessments (Love your Bay) determining that there are opportunities for improved shoreline stewardship to
  • Mitigate further introductions of nutrients to Sturgeon Bay;
  • Ongoing water quality monitoring guided by Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve and undertaken by volunteers;
  • Ongoing work to monitor algae in partnership with ECCC.

You can find a summary of the ECCC funded research at Lake Simcoe South‐Eastern Georgian Bay Clean Up Fund 2012‐2017.  It is a broad review that encompasses a diverse range of work ranging from government and university-lead science to community group work such as that lead by GBB. It also summarizes work done beyond eastern Georgian Bay in Nottawasaga (another focus area of the Clean Up Fund).

Historical Reports: Sturgeon Bay Project

2008 Gartner Lee Study Final Reports:

Phoslock Application: