If you are resident or frequent visitor of Collingwood and the Blue Mountains area, you have certainly noticed that the Georgian Bay water levels have dramatically dropped in the last two years. Why are water levels in Georgian Bay falling? To learn about the causes and impacts of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron falling water levels, you can look to “Stop The Drop”, a new initiative that has been established to bring attention to this issue.
Stop the Drop is a non-profit campaign whose mission is to ”engage users in sustained self-education, dialogue and activity to address water level issues in Georgian Bay, starting now”.
Stop the Drop will spend $200,000 around the Bay this summer on this campaign, to recruit participants to an online community through coordinated online and in-person activity. In addition to working with associations of boaters, marina operators, tourism establishments, etc., Stop the Drop will be physically present at all marinas around the Bay, with flyers and branded items such as bumper and boat stickers, flags, personal referral programs.
Stop the Drop’s engagement medium is to recruit participants to an online community. Joining and using the community is free. There are strict privacy policies in place to ensure member information is not shared with outside commercially-oriented parties. On a first visit, a user would have the opportunity to sign a petition addressed to various levels of government that influence this water level issue. But the message is not advocating a specific cause or solution – rather it asks politicians to notice that their voters are paying attention to this issue, and to what they do, or do not do, about it.
Once registered as a member, the user is invited and enabled to ”get informed, get heard, get involved (when you can)” by checking into their personal community portal when prompted as little as 1-3 times per quarter (or as much as they want). Each time the user can expect to get focused, up-to-date information, short surveys, and notification of age-appropriate activities they could engage in to help the cause, all of which take no more than 15 minutes. Examples of topics that will be covered, written by knowledgeable, objective parties include:
Water Levels 101 – Georgian Bay &the Middle Lakes
Who is Doing What About Water Levels in Lake Huron?
Why it’s worth showing up. How community engagement has succeeded or failed in other environmental contexts
How to answer the question: “Why should I join Stop the Drop?”
The key to our success will be to engage all participants to keep checking in throughout the year. Governments know that petitions are easy to circulate and sign in this digital age. Most signers never stick around to pay attention. Stop the Drop users will be different – partly because we make it so easy for them to get what they need quickly.
Visit the www.Stopthedrop.ca website to learn more about this project.