Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) has just purchased 34.4 hectares (85 acres) of land comprised of the most diverse and least disturbed bog within the Lake Simcoe watershed.

 

"Acquiring this sizeable piece of land is a major coup for LSRCA," said  Virginia Hackson, Mayor of East Gwillimbury and Chair of LSRCA. "We are unwavering in our commitment to protect our watershed and adding this parcel of environmentally significant land to our holdings improves our chances of saving precious bird, animal and plant habitats from degradation or destruction."


Located in Durham Region, the land, known as the Derryville Bog was purchased by LSRCA through support from the Natural Spaces Land Acquisition Program, (a joint initiative of the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Ministry of Natural Resources) Durham Region and private donors. The Derryville Bog is designated as a provincially significant wetland and biological area of natural and scientific interest. The bog is home to Canada Warblers, a bird species at risk of extinction, a regionally rare butterfly species called the Brown Elfin and over 30 species of significant plants and other animals.

LSRCA now owns a total of 1525 hectares (3,767 acres) of environmentally sensitive lands including 21 conservation areas, 9 natural heritage areas, wetlands, upland forests and Lake Simcoe shoreline. LSRCA also manages 617 hectares (1,125 acres) of forested tracts and natural, cultural heritage lands.

"Through the acquisition and management of ecologically sensitive lands, LSRCA is working to preserve the essential values associated with plants and animals, improved air quality and safe drinking water in order to maintain a better quality of life for those living, working and recreating in the Lake Simcoe watershed," said LSRCA's Land Securement Officer, Kevin Kennedy.

The conservation authority strives to protect environmentally sensitive lands including wetland complexes, marsh and bog lands because they perform a critical function in improving the health of Lake Simcoe. These tracts of land, largely undisturbed by human activity, also provide critical wildlife habitats and protected areas to support breeding and nesting.

For more information on LSRCA's land securement program, please contact Kevin Kennedy, Land Securement Officer at 905-895-1281 ext 317 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Hydrogen sulfide. That rotten egg smell.

Dr. Rui Wang, the Vice-President of Research, Economic Development and Innovation as well as a professor of Biology at Lakehead University, has been fascinated with it ever since he came across an old, cracked painted Easter egg in his daughter’s room many years ago.

In 2001, Dr. Wang and his research team garnered world-wide recognition in the scientific community when they discovered the mechanism for the production and function of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in the cardiovascular system in a process catalyzed by an enzyme called CSE.


Now, they’ve made another ground-breaking discovery.

Toiling away in Lakehead University’s Cardiovascular and Metabolic Unit Laboratory for the past three years, Dr. Wang’s team of scientists has been trying to figure out how mammalian cells can sense changes in oxygen levels and take necessary measures to cope with hypoxia (oxygen and blood flow deprivation). Hypoxia occurs in life-threatening situations like heart attacks and strokes.
It turns out that H2S gas is key to this puzzle, proving, in Dr. Wang’s words, that “we are what we smell.”

The breakthrough,in Dr. Wang’s words…
“Mitochondrion is the power plant inside the cell. It produces ATP to drive our cells to work. It’s like gasoline for a car engine.
The production of ATP is dependent on the availability of oxygen which is carried by blood flow to different organs in our body.

This is why when a heart attack occurs, less blood flows to the heart, less oxygen is supplied, less ATP is produced, and the heart does not work well.
Our team demonstrated that indeed mitochondria can produce H2S under stress conditions due to a specific enzyme moving from the cytosol into the mitochondrion of the mammalian cells.

Once this step is achieved, H2S inside the mitochondria will help to produce more ATP when oxygen levels are lower – the situation that may be encountered in hypoxia, which is a lack of blood flow and oxygen supply.

This will protect and rescue our cells from hypoxia damage. These results suggest that mitochondria inherit the ability from bacteria to produce energy using H2S as the fuel to cope with emergency situations to maintain the energy supply to our cells and organs. Furthermore, as mitochondrion in our cells is evolved from bacteria, our study unveils a missing link in the evolution from bacteria to mammalian cells in terms of energy metabolism.”

The results of this major breakthrough appear in one of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

The paper “Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) metabolism in mitochondria and its regulatory role in energy production” is written by Dr. Wang and fellow co-authors Ming Fu, Weihua Zhang, Lingyun Wu, Guangdong Yang, and Hongzhu Li.

“We have been able to show that the production of H2S is important for the energy supply to our body when it faces specific health threats,” Dr. Wang says. “We can use this new knowledge to help biomedical practice deal with different diseases, such as those occurring in the heart or brain.”


Paradoxically, H2S – the “sour” gas that produces that distinctively unpleasant and distasteful odour – is actually deadly to humans in high doses. But as Dr. Wang and his team have proven, adequate production of this “toxic” gas in our body could be key to the prevention or treatment of hypertension, heart attacks and strokes in humans.

“Delving further into the mysteries of hydrogen sulfide is one of my main research priorities,” he says. “This is just the beginning of our work to find clinical solutions to deal with low oxygen-related diseases.”
LSRCA completes strategic plan

Annual General Meeting showcases impressive 2011 achievements and opens 2012 business

Amid representatives from both the federal and provincial governments, watershed municipalities and community environmental groups, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) held its 61st Annual General Meeting at the Holiday Inn Express in Newmarket on Feb. 3, 2012.

In addition to celebrating 2011 accomplishments, the order of business called for the election of the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors. In a unanimous vote of confidence, board members re-elected current Chair, Mayor of East Gwillimbury, Virginia Hackson and Vice Chair, Township of Scugog Regional Councillor, Bobbie Drew, to their seats. Both women have held their positions for six consecutive terms.

“I’m honoured to be able to continue supporting the work of such a skilled group of staff and dedicated board members,” said Mayor Hackson. “Having been in this watershed for my entire life, it’s an absolute joy to continue to lead an organization that is focused on protecting and restoring our precious land and lake. I’m looking forward to working together with staff and the board to meet the challenges and opportunities 2012 has in store.”

Closing out the business of 2011, Mayor Hackson showcased some of the Authority’s impressive accomplishments summarized in LSRCA’s 2011 Annual Report. Highlights included the authoring of five peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of Great Lakes Research; winning the 2011 Smart Commute Central York Employer of the Year Award; completion of the Authority’s Strategic Plan, Focused Future 2014; and highlights from LSRCA’s International Twinning Mission to Mexico.

Wrapping up her presentation, Mayor Hackson thanked board members for their tireless support of the Authority’s work; federal, provincial, municipal and the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation for their partnerships; and watershed communities for their interest and commitment to working towards achieving the Authority’s vision of A Watershed For Life.

To read a copy of LSRCA’s 2011 Annual Report and strategic plan: Focused Future 2014, please visit www.LSRCA.on.ca and click on Reports & Studies.

North Gwillimbury development threatens wetlands and forests

A new development being proposed for the south shore of Lake Simcoe will have a large impact on one of the watershed’s largest forested areas. Metrus Developments proposed Maple Leaf Estates will turn a core part of North Gwillimbury Forest in the Town of Georgina into a large subdivision. Metrus is relying on a 28-year-old planning approval for a mobile home park to pave the way for its new plans for more than 1,000 detached homes.

The proposed development would disrupt a provincially significant wetland and destroy critical forest cover at a time when the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan calls for increasing forest cover in the watershed.  It would also isolate the Arnold C. Mathews Nature Reserve, created through the vision and generosity of local residents.

A local residents group – the North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance – has formed to oppose the development and has just launched an action-oriented website.

To join the action, learn more and see a map, go to www.SaveNGForest.org.

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