Friday, August 29, 2008

Zebra Mussels

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.

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Rick relocated to Collingwood from Toronto in 1985 through a transfer with Goodyear Canada. In 1987 Rick was recruited by a major client of Goodyear’s, managing their Canadian business based in Barrie before moving to Chicago in 1992 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Upon returning to Canada in 1996, Rick ran an industrial products manufacturing company in Stratford, Ontario. In 1998 Rick returned to Collingwood with his two children. Rick is a licensed real estate Broker with Royal LePAGE Locations North in Collingwood and holds his MVA designation (Market Value Appraiser-Residential). He is an active volunteer in the community serving several years on the Board of Directors with the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer, 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® of which he is the Past President (2008) and currently serves on a committee with the Ontario Real Estate Association. Rick is a diverse executive manager with extensive experience in strategic planning, manufacturing, finance, human resources and quality assurance management.