Essex Region Conservation Honours Award Winners

Posted on January 19, 2017

Eleven organizations and individuals have been recognized with Essex Region Conservation Awards for their efforts in making the Windsor/Essex/Pelee Island region the Place for Life.

“Tonight marks the 25th anniversary of honouring those who have made tangible contributions to our regional environment,” said newly-elected Chair Rick Fryer. “It is rewarding to learn about all of the strides being made by so many to sustain our region as the Place for Life.”

Irene Moore Davis – John R. Park Homestead Award for her preservation of black history in our community.

J. Brush Farms Ltd. – Conservation Farm Award for the use of conservation farming practices to protect soil health and water quality.

Henry Denotter – Education Award for educating agricultural and non-agricultural landowners alike about sustainable farming practices.

Tom Henderson – Volunteer Award for more than 25 years of volunteering to improve the Little River and Detroit River watersheds.

Robert Pula & Andrew Pula – Volunteer Award for their continued efforts to connect people to nature and inspiring healthy and active living in the Place for Life.

Union Gas Ltd. – Volunteer Organization Award for more than two decades of staff volunteerism in supporting environmental initiatives in the Essex Region and beyond.

Carrie Lee – Active in the Place for Life Achievement Award is a newly introduced recognition that celebrates an individual who has demonstrated dedication and participation in Essex Region Conservation’s roster of active events.

Caldwell First Nation – Environmental Achievement Award for their ongoing protection of the Hillman Marsh, restoration of Sturgeon Creek, and education of students and others about our responsibility to protect water and the environment.

Town of Essex – Robert Pulleyblank Award for Municipal Environmental Achievement recognizes their leadership in trail development, low impact design, and efforts to reduce flooding and protect water sources.

Candice Kondratowicz – Dennis Chase Staff Award for her dedication, conscientiousness, kindness and compassion. 

 ERCA also reviewed the accomplishments of the past year, including launching a new strategic plan and visual identity, construction of the Cypher Systems Group Greenway, implementation of 88 water quality improvement projects, and the review of over 980 permit applications. 

 A full copy of ERCA’s Annual Report and corresponding video, as well as the Conservation Award Winners, can be found at

IJC Draft Report for Public Comment Assesses Governments’ Progress to Restore and Protect the Great Lakes

IJC Logo

IJC Draft Report for Public Comment Assesses Governments’ Progress to Restore and Protect the Great Lakes

January 18, 2017                                                                                               

For Immediate Release                                                                                                           

In its draft Triennial Assessment of Progress (TAP) report under the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the International Joint Commission commends Canada and the United States for their exemplary binational commitment and dedicated effort to meet several of the Agreement’s goals. The assessment is based on a progress report provided last October by the two countries, the work of the Commission and advice from the IJC’s Great Lakes advisory boards. The draft report is being released today to obtain public input over the next three months.

“Now that the IJC has released a draft assessment of progress report, the Commission is eager to hear from Great Lakes residents,” said US Commissioner Rich Moy.

“It is a key time in the history of the Great Lakes and the Agreement, and we strongly encourage everyone to provide their input and participate in upcoming public meetings,” said Canadian Chair Gordon Walker. “Public input is essential to Agreement success.”

Comments on the IJC’s draft TAP report as well as on the two countries’ progress report are welcome until April 15, 2017 via email to and online at Public meetings also will be held at the following locations:

  • March 2, 2017: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
  • March 21, 2017: Detroit, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio
  • March 22, 2017: Sarnia, Ontario
  • March 28, 2017: Buffalo, New York
  • March 29, 2017: St. Catharines, Ontario

Details for each meeting will be provided on the ParticipateIJC website as well as in the next three issues of the IJC’s monthly Great Lakes newsletter Great Lakes Connection, and posted on the IJC website, Facebook and Twitter.

Some findings in the draft report that the IJC seeks the public’s comment on include:

  • Processes and procedures have been institutionalized to meet initial Agreement commitments, such as developing a framework to restore nearshore areas as part of lakewide management plans and to identify science and action priorities.
  • Significant new government investment has accelerated work to restore contaminated Areas of Concern and develop tools to measure habitat health and restore wetlands that are crucial to ecosystem health. Coastal wetlands are improving across the basin, which benefits native species and reduces the amount of pollutants and nutrients entering the lakes.
  • An initial list of eight chemicals of mutual concern has been created. Several others still need to be added and deadlines to develop binational control strategies to control them have long since passed. Progress to reduce legacy contaminants such as PCBs and dioxins is encouraging, but emerging contaminants such as PBDEs are equally toxic and long-lasting, and thus require immediate attention.
  • Water quality in western and central Lake Erie is unacceptable. The commitment to reduce nutrient inputs by 40 percent is laudable but mandatory controls are essential to ensure success.
  • Stopping the introduction of aquatic invasive species through ballast water controls and prevention programs has had excellent results. At the same time, existing aquatic invasives and terrestrial invasives such as Phragmites, Asian longhorned beetle and garlic mustard continue to challenge the entire ecosystem.
  • The governments have provided an extensive summary of the available science on impacts of climate change in the Great Lakes basin. Based on these findings and the work of the IJC’s Great Lakes Water Quality Board, Canada and the United States can demonstrate global leadership by developing a binational approach to Great Lakes climate change adaptation and resilience.

“Canada and the United States committed to addressing a broader range of issues in the 2012 Agreement, adding aquatic invasive species, habitat, groundwater and climate change with previous priorities such as toxic pollutants and nutrients,” said Canadian Commissioner Benoit Bouchard. “Over the past four years they’ve made significant progress in several areas.”

“What is perhaps most significant about this progress is that it results from the strong commitment and ambitious work by two countries, hundreds of scientists in and out of governments, academia, many nongovernmental organizations and the IJC,” said US Chair Lana Pollack. “This is a remarkable binational achievement that so many are working toward common goals.” 

A draft staff-prepared technical appendix will be posted on the IJC website by January 31, 2017 to provide additional background information for the draft TAP report.

The International Joint Commission (IJC) is an independent binational organization created by Canada and the United States under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. Under the Treaty, the two countries cooperate to prevent and resolve disputes relating to the use and quality of the many lakes and rivers along their shared border. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement assigns the IJC a role in assessing progress, engaging the public and providing scientific and policy advice to help the two countries restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes.

 For more information:

Frank Bevacqua

US Section

Washington, DC  


Sarah Lobrichon

Canadian Section

Ottawa, ON   


Sally Cole-Misch

Great Lakes Regional Office

Windsor, ON


You’re Invited to Shiver on the River!

Shiver on the River

The Shiver is a family oriented event designed to bring people down to the Detroit River and learn from organizations that focus on protecting it and provide opportunities to learn about it. It’s a great time to get outside in the winter and discover the many wonderful attractions at Belle Isle Park too! See below for event information and download the Shiver on the River Flyer 2017.

Directions from Windsor, ON

  • Drive from Detroit Windsor Tunnel to the United States
  • Take a right on E Jefferson Ave to Detroit, United States
  • Take a slight right to E Grand Blvd and cross the MacArthur Bridge
  • Merge onto Sunset Drive and stay right to arrive on Casino Way 

Main Event held at the Belle Isle Casino

  • Exhibits, Displays and Refreshments ~ Environmental Arts and Crafts for Kids
  • Entertainment by Bob Kat Caricatures and Magic John Children’s Magician
  • Meet the Authors of Wanda and Winky & Water Walkers!

Snowshoe Belle Isle State Park

  • Riverside Kayak Connection Snowshoe Rental
  • From Casino 10 A.M. – 3 P.M. $5/two hours

Facility Hours

  • Belle Isle Aquarium: 10 A.M. – 4 P.M.
  • Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory: 10 A.M. – 5 P.M.
  • Belle Isle Nature Zoo: 10 A.M.- 4 P.M.
  • Dossin Museum: 11 A.M. – 4 P.M.
  • Belle Isle Boat Club (Rowers): 10 A.M. – 4 P.M.
  • Yacht Club: Tours Available
  • Coast Guard Station: 10 A.M. – 3 P.M. PLUS Ice Rescue Demonstration 2 P.M. @ Coast Guard Station (street parking available)

For more information contact Friends of the Detroit River
(734) 288 – 3889 ~
20600 Eureka Rd.,
Suite 313
Taylor, MI 48180

Tricia Blicharski, Director of Operations
Lou Ann Durand, Administrative Assistant
Co-Chairs, Jane Mackey & Michael Sproul
Shiver Coordinator, Peter Benz

Belle Isle

Essex Region Conservation Awards Ceremony

You’re Invited!

On Thursday January 19th 2017, the Essex Region Conservation Authority will be hosting their Annual General Meeting as well as the 2016 Conservation Awards Ceremony. The event will take place at the Essex Civic Centre, 360 Fairview Avenue West in Essex, ON at 7pm. Someone who works very closely with the DRCC on Detroit River initiatives and is very well known in the community will be receiving an award! Please come out and support the DRCC at this event to find out who it is. If you are unable to attend, the DRCC will feature the winner in our February newsletter, The Current, coming out at the end of the month.

Event Flyer



Sustain Our Great Lakes 2017 Funding Opportunity

Sustain Our Great Lakes is soliciting applications for competitive funding to restore and enhance habitat in the Great Lakes basin. Details about this funding opportunity are provided in the Request for Proposals. The submission deadline for full applications is February 21, 2017. Please note, the pre-proposal stage included in past years has been eliminated for 2017. Additional application information is available at

Sustain Our Great Lakes is a bi-national, public-private partnership that sustains, restores and protects fish, wildlife and habitat in the Great Lakes basin by leveraging funding, building conservation capacity, and focusing partners and resources toward key ecological issues

In 2017, grant funding will be awarded in three categories:

  • Stream and Riparian Habitat
  • Coastal Wetlands
  • Green Stormwater Infrastructure – New funding category in 2017

To be eligible for funding, projects must occur within the Great Lakes basin. Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and state, tribal and local governments. Up to $7.8 million is expected to be available for grant awards. Individual awards will range from $50,000 to $1.5 million. 

Sustain Our Great Lakes partners will host the following webinar to share additional information pertinent to this funding opportunity:

2017 Funding Opportunity – Guidance for Applicants
January 10, 2017 at 11 AM Eastern Time/10 AM Central Time
This webinar will provide additional information on the current funding opportunity, provide additional guidance on the application process, and provide answers to participant questions. Webinar participants can register by clicking here.

A recording of the webinar will be available for viewing at following conclusion of the live program. 

Please contact Aislinn Gauchay (612-564-7284; or Traci Giefer (612-564-7296; at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for more information.

Get Involved!

From tree plantings and clean ups, to advocacy and education programs, CLICK HERE to find out how you can be involved with protecting and enhancing the Detroit River.