Category Archives: water quality

Muskoka Lakes Association AGM

This Friday, the Muskoka Lakes Association will hold its AGM in Port Carling. Details below and here.

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The 121st Muskoka Lakes Association Annual General Meeting will be held on July 25th at the Port Carling Community Centre. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Come and enjoy some refreshments and snacks and have to opportunity to meet other members.  You’ll hear about new MLA programs and updates on activities we’ve undertaken on your behalf.  You’ll also meet incoming President Michael Hart and hear about his ideas for the coming years.

We hope you’ll come out and enjoy an evening with your fellow MLA members.

Please reserve your space by emailing info@mla.on.ca or calling 705-765-5723.

In Muskoka, the environment is the economy. For cottagers, protecting the Muskoka watershed, protects your investment.

This is the most important thing you can do today to help protect the Muskoka watershed which gives us all so much everyday!

The Muskoka Watershed Council has launched an online campaign to bring the 2014 Watershed Report Card to life! This new user-friendly digital report card will provide information on water quality; phosphorus levels in your lake, the likelihood your lake will get algal blooms, the health of your wetlands and tons more. What is not measured cannot be managed. If you love Muskoka and care about protecting its natural beauty please get involved! There are many ways you can help:

  • Leave comments on the campaign page
    • What do you think of this project?
  • Share the link with interested friends and family members
    • Know anyone who loves our scenic environment? Fwd this email!

Please visit the campaign page for further details about this project. It is important to have active participation during the first week of the campaign, so please do what you can to share the care of this special place of rocks, trees, and especially water, that we all love. A small contribution can make a big difference to the protection of our environment. Tell us what you think of the campaign by leaving a comment on the campaign page: www.igg.me/at/StewardshipWorks.

 

We are very fortunate to have such a passionate network of people supporting our mission to champion watershed health in Muskoka and its associated watersheds.

 

Thank you!

Muskoka’s Lakes: The Calcium Story

Dr. Watmough explains  implications of calcium losses on lake ecosystems.
Dr. Watmough explains implications of calcium losses on lake ecosystems.

As mentioned last month in this cottageinmuskoka blog entry and this news story from the Huntsville Forester (Cottage Country Now), the decline of calcium in our lakes can affect our lakes recovery from acid rain as well as zooplankton in our lakes, which are are very sensitive to declining calcium levels.

From the Muskoka Watershed Council Lecture Series I have just finished editing and have just posted this video on the Muskoka Watershed Council’s YouTube page.

This is interesting information of value not only for those who own a cottage in Muskoka, but all of us who live in or visit Muskoka. In the presentation Dr. Shaun Watmough of Trent University helps us understand:

Why should we care about calcium in the environment?

How are calcium levels in lakes, vegetation and soils changing?

What is causing these changes?

What will be the impact of timber harvesting on lake calcium levels?

What are the critical uncertainties?

Declining calcium slows the recovery of acidic lakes.
Declining calcium slows the recovery of acidic lakes.

 

 

Reminder: The Great Muskoka Paddling Experience is this Saturday!

Even if you aren’t paddling in the event, it’s an … ahem… Great Experience to watch.
This Saturday, at Annie Williams Park in Bracebridge, come out and see why The Great Muskoka Paddling Experience has become an epic one in Ontario paddling and beyond.

https://vimeo.com/76351898

The Great Muskoka Paddling Experience generously supports the work of the Muskoka Watershed Council. Past cottageinmuskoka.ca post, and here are some additional links to published articles on the event:

– Muskoka Watershed Council media release: story
– Town of Bracebridge media release: story
– What’s Up Muskoka : story
– Muskoka Magazine: story  (scroll down a page).
– Bracebridge Weekender: story

Timber harvesting and the health of our lakes: The Calcium Story

©www.cottageinmuskoka.ca
©www.cottageinmuskoka.ca

Mentioned in a number of Muskoka Watershed Council lectures over the past few years, calcium decline in Muskoka Lakes and in particular, the consequences of timber harvesting on lake calcium levels have been hinted at as a potential direct cause of declining health of our lakes in Muskoka. Here’s a past primer news story from the Huntsville Forester (Cottage Country News).
This week, we have an opportunity to discover more.

Dr. Shaun Watmough, an Associate Professor in the Environmental Resource Science Program at Trent University in Peterborough will present.
Here is a synopsis of the lecture:
Decades of acid deposition have depleted soil calcium reserves and, when combined with timber harvesting, predicted losses of calcium from soil are considerable and may ultimately threaten long-term forest health and productivity and lead to negative impacts on lakes.
In this talk, Dr. Watmough will provide an overview of our current understanding of calcium biogeochemistry and describe the reasons for the widespread decline in calcium levels in lakes and the implications of calcium losses on soil fertility and forest health in addition to impacts on lake ecosystems.
With an emphasis on south central Ontario, Dr. Watmough will document a nutrient budget for a selection harvesting regime in central Ontario hardwood forests. This work is then extrapolated to regional harvesting activities and management issues are discussed.

The lecture is this Thursday, October 10, 2013 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm at Nipissing University – Muskoka Campus, 125 Wellington Street, Bracebridge, P1L 1E2. As always, admission is by donation

The link for this lecture and registration is here.

Muskoka and Global: Environmental Good News Stories.

Did you know that Gravenhurst Bay in Lake Muskoka is 4 to 5 times cleaner than it was 1970?
Did you know that everyone alive in the 70’s had toxic levels of lead in their blood?
Did you know that Muskoka has only half as many acid lakes as it once did?
Well, how about this then: if it wasn’t for the life in lakes, we would all be blind, deaf , stupid and dead.

Dr. Norman Yan
To be blunt; we would all be blind, deaf , stupid and dead if it wasn’t for the life in lakes.

From the Muskoka Watershed Council Lecture Series I have just finished editing and have just posted this video on the Muskoka Watershed Council’s YouTube page.
Dr. Norman Yan, an extremely engaging speaker, revisits some past environmental successes, what we have learned and the steps we need to take to solve today’s environmental problems.

Phosphorous is the conrolling factor in eutrophication.

Learn how the reduction of phosphorus resulted in a clean up in Gravenhurst Bay while the International Joint Commission was still debating whether its carbon or phosphorus that spikes algal growth? This local Muskoka cleanup helped convince the world that phosphorus is the cause of cultural eutrophication. This phenomena is of increasing concern as population grows and the climate heats up; after all, we learned from this lecture, that algae really love heat.

Current photo of lake in China where people swim in an algal bloom.
Current photo of lake in China where people swim in an algal bloom.

Revisit the change to unleaded gas which got the toxic levels of lead out of our blood. Dr. Yan also discusses the many benefits of the ban on DDT, as well as the immediate benefits of the recent Ontario ban of cosmetic pesticides and herbicides. Also be sure not to miss houses disappearing from view as the Sudbury environment improves over 40 years!

Muskoka. Our environment is far more than our economy.

From the Muskoka Watershed Council Lecture Series I have just finished editing and have just posted this video on the Muskoka Watershed Council’s YouTube page.

All of us should be familiar with the fact that in Muskoka, our environment is our economy; over half our GDP comes from tourism and cottaging. In this lecture, Peter Sale attempts to convince us that our environment is far more than our economy.
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Every year some 5 billion cubic metres of water pass through Muskoka – that’s 3 1/2 times the entire volume of Lake Muskoka. Half is evaporated or transpired by Muskoka’s forests and plants, the other half – some 2.5 billion cubic metres flows into Georgian Bay. As climate change affects Muskoka – producing warmer and wetter winters, but dryer summers with more intense storms – we may be trying to find ways to hold on to that water, just a little longer; maybe the beaver has a solution for us.

wetlands 5

Peter, who describes himself as a strange, but harmless ecologist, talks about some of the many creatures in Muskoka including the beaver, the expected effects for Muskoka from climate change, an idea or two on solutions, and that there are other ways of valuing our environment other than simply to value it as a storehouse of resources to dig up and take away.

Algae and Water Quality. Looking back to see the future

As mentioned in previous posts, cottage owners and cottage buyers want to know about water quality on lakes in Muskoka. Because water quality has a direct relationship to property value, and algae – particularly algal blooms – directly affect water quality, we all want to know as much as we can .

I just completed and uploaded a video here for the Muskoka Watershed Council YouTube page. The subject is a talk that was presented by Dr. Andrew Paterson of the Dorset Environmental Centre at the Muskoka Stewardship Conference at Nipissing University in Muskoka (Bracebridge). The event’s theme was What Are You Watching?

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This highly interesting talk looks at studying lake sediments deposited over hundreds – and even thousands of years. Sediments are archives of environmental change and within them are clues to possible triggers of algae outbreaks.

Dr. Paterson talks about sediment research done in Lake of the Woods in north-western Ontario and the Hudson Bay Lowlands which may help scientist understand occurrences in the lakes of Muskoka. There is discussion on the relationship between water quality and property value for cottagers. The seeming paradox of stable or even declining phosphorous levels – the usual algal bloom suspect- at the same time as blue-green outbreaks are increasing. And of course, the effect of climate change.

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Algal Bloom Three Mile Lake 2005

Of particular note is the 2005 toxic algal bloom in Three Mile Lake in 2005, where research may indicate the possible triggers of record high temperatures coupled with record low precipitation which occurred in the fall of 2005 in Muskoka.

Slide 1

There is significant evidence that a warming climate is related to the increase in algal blooms. Dr. Paterson suggests that if algae was the music that we hear from a radio: then phosphorous is the volume; other nutrients (particularly nitrogen), light, etc., influence what species are present – are the “tuning”; and climate is the antenna. The presentation concludes that blue-green algae likes it hot!

Slide 1

Click here for the link to the video on YouTube.

Sparrow Lake Fishing Derby & Picnic

We have hosted these two events in the past on behalf of the Sparrow Lake Association. I am glad to see it continue; also to see that the fishing derby continues to be catch & release.

We urge all Sparrow Lake and Severn River residents and visitors to join the SLA and enjoy these events as well as the annual Regatta. The SLA does important work to protect your investment in, and enjoyment of, this wonderful area.

Here’s a link to download the Sparrow Lake Association brochure.

Message from the SLA President

Please join us for the annual Sparrow Lake Association Fishing Derby and Picnic on July 6, 2013.

The fishing derby starts at 10:00 a.m. and ends at 11:30am–no fishing license is required as it is Free Fishing Week in Ontario. All ages are welcome to fish but only children 14 and younger are eligible to win prizes. You are required to hand in an entry form at the end of the Derby to be eligible for prizes. This is strictly a catch and release tournament and tracking of fish caught is on the honour system, as witnessed by an adult. Entry forms will be available at the Franklin Park Dock (adjacent to Silver Pines) prior to the start of the Derby or can be downloaded from our website http://www.sparrowlakeassn.com/fish.html

The Picnic starts at 12:00 Noon on the back lawn at the Silver Pines. The cost is $8 per person for: (1) the choice of a Hotdog or Hamburger; (2) a cold drink; and (3) ice cream. There will be activities  for the children afterwards. Please RSVP by July 3, 2013 and let us know your preference for a Hamburger or Hotdog. You can RSVP by phone 705-684-9241 or by completing the electronic form on our website http://www.sparrowlakeassn.com/fish.html  

We hope to see you all at the SLA Fishing Derby and Picnic.  If you have any questions, please let me know.

Bob Corbett

President

Sparrow Lake Association

president@sparrowlakeassociation.com