In recent years, a significant amount of focus has been directed on the declining water levels in parts of the Great Lakes including Georgian Bay. The joint International commission looking into the matter was recently in Collingwood and other communities bordering the Great Lakes providing the public with an update as to their findings and ongoing studies.
Not so long ago, zebra mussels captured much of the news headlines pertaining to the Great Lakes whereas now they are all but forgotten in the media but are still very much in existence. We are fortunate in southern Georgian Bay where their advancement seems to have slowed somewhat. Some feel the low water levels may have actually helped curtail their growth locally, while further to the north end of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron they continue to flourish. We are fortunate to have so many sandy beaches in the area as smooth, rock free lake bottoms do not present an ideal environment for the mussels to establish themselves. Zebra Mussels prefer underwater rocks which can typically be encrusted with dozens of them. As a waterfront property owner on Manitoulin Island (Lake Huron) we continue to see large populations of this pesky mollusk. More surprisingly however are the growing piles of zebra mussel shells that are washing up onto shorelines. This summer while boating I discovered several piles of what looked like at a distance to be a white, fine crushed gravel only to have closer inspection reveal that it was zebra mussel shells one to two feet deep (see photo.) The magnitude of these empty shells reinforces just how prolifically this foreign invader has entered the Great Lakes system and established themselves by the millions.