Allison Tracy MNRF
Thank you for your response. The original letter from Minister McGarry requested that I direct future questions to you. Your letter seems to be directing me to contact others with my questions and concerns. I think I should follow Ms. McGarry's instructions and keep any questions directed to you.
In your letter you stated that you would "encourage your association to hold discussions with the LHCCC and draw from their expertise to gain a better understanding about the dynamic and complex processes of beaches, dunes and water levels. Further, I am confident that the LHCC would be able to provide you with greater detail on how the beach has changed over the past 100 years." I thank you for that suggestion, however I find that the LHCCC does not understand "how the beach has changed over the past 100 years." Or possibly I do not understand what they have attempted to explain to me in the past.
I have attached a picture of part of the beach in question. My question to you is:
(1) Does this dune look like it has "undergone significant declines?" (as Ms. McGarry stated in her original response to me).
If you answer yes to that question then can you please explain to me what the statement "the Great Lakes dunes have undergone significant declines." means from an environmental point of view.
If you answer no to that question then I would hope that whomever wrote Ms McGarry's response letter would have the good grace to retract that statement and agree that in some parts of Ontario the Dunes are not in decline and that the opposite is true, they are actually growing at a rate whereby they are now encompassing most of the beach.
I can state that the section of beach in the picture was, for at least 75 years, simply a beach of sand about 50 feet wide with about 20 feet of higher sand away from the lake with American Beach Grass growing on top of it. What we used to call a dune. Only within the past 10 years has the grass areas progressed right down to the shore covering at least 40 feet of what was originally a beach.
In your letter you stated "I am confident that the LHCC would be able to provide you with greater detail on how the beach has changed over the past 100 years." We don't mean to sound as if their opinion is of no value to us, but we have pictures, as well as individuals that have been coming here for up to 97 years. We can provide LHCCC with great detail on how the beach has changed over the past 100 years. Unfortunately they are not interested. They prefer to fall back on statements such as "the Great Lakes dunes have undergone significant declines". They spout these types of quotes and then tell us that all this vegetation is necessary to prevent erosion. The sand in the dunes covered with grass has always moved into the lake when the levels are high and moved back onto the beach when levels were low. That will never change. It is the willow and poplar trees that are causing a problem. They prevent what was a normal process of high water/low water and shifting sands from happening as nature had dictated for hundreds of years, as witnessed by many of us over the last 90 plus years.
You suggested that we contact the MOECC re the excess nutrients in the lake. I've tried that for about 10 years. All that got us was deflection from farms suggesting that it might be faulty septic systems causing the problem. Shawn Carey used to work for that department and he can attest to the years of wasted time I had trying to get them to do anything about the flow of nutrients from farm fields, through the weeping tiles, into gulleys, creeks, and rivers into the lake. That situation will go on forever as the politicians are not willing to anger the rural community.
You haven't responded to my request that someone from MNRF attend our AGM and answer questions. I am still hopeful that someone can be persuaded to attend. On that note our MPP, Lisa Thompson, has agreed to a walk to view the problem first hand. Anyone from any of the recipients of this letter that would care to join us on the walk would be more than welcome. It might be good to actually see the problem first hand. Since the LHCCC is attending our AGM on August 5th maybe we could "gain a better understanding about the dynamic and complex processes of beaches, dunes and water levels." by getting the lesson with the dunes in front of us. Is someone from LHCCC available? The walk will take place on Thursday July 6th at 3 p.m. I can send details to anyone wishing to attend. Please respond to this email with your intension to attend.
Alison, please answer the question I posed above.