Tag Archives: cottage

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.

 

 

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.
sale

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.

Lake Muskoka ice is gone!

Quick Update:

We are having some crazy weather here – like many other places. Strong winds with above-seasonal temperatures overnight. At 7:00 am this morning it was 16C, the expected high tomorrow only 1C.  It was all enough to make the ice on Lake Muskoka disappear!

Look at the two images below; essentially the same view separated by three weeks.

Lake Muskoka April 19 7:00 AM
Lake Muskoka April 19 7:00 AM
Mar 29 2013
Mar 29 2013

What do you really want to know? Muskoka Watershed Council wants to hear from you.

In cottage real estate we get asked a lot of questions: Is it weedy?; Eeeew! What’s that stuff?; Why don’t we see crayfish anymore?; My boathouse dock’s underwater – what’s with the water levels this year?; Is my water safe for swimming?; etc. It’s really a lot of fun to answer most of the time!
But here’s a chance to have some of what you want to know, perhaps monitored over time and have it reported on every 4 years!

As many readers of this weblog know, the Muskoka Watershed Council (MWC) is a volunteer based non-profit organization with the mandate to champion watershed health in Muskoka; I am one of those volunteers.

MWC produces a Report Card every four years. The Report Card is a science-based evaluation of the health of the water, land, and wetlands in Muskoka and the municipalities that share Muskoka’s watersheds. Three Watershed Report Cards have been released to date (2004, 2007 & 2010)  We are also assisting the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve with the development of a State of the Bay Report for Georgian Bay, which will be released this year.

For the next Watershed Report Card due to be released in 2014, we want to hear from you, what you want to know about the health of our watersheds.
Click on the page below to ask your questions or find out more.

2014_RC_Request

Spring in Muskoka? Nice, but still waiting.

It got up to 8 degrees C today, and really quite lovely, but we have some work to do to get all this ice and snow out of here. Other than today, our high temps have been -2 or so with night temperatures 10 degrees below that.  Lake Muskoka is still totally ice-covered, so the cottage awaits.

20130404-600_0648-2
Lake Muskoka at Hoc Roc river.

It looks like temps will be above freezing for … well, after tomorrow.

But, the ice is still very thick; hope so – we have to go price an island property on Lake Jo tomorrow, and we have to go by snowmobile. I might wear a CO2 lifejacket I got as a sailboat gift at Xmas … just for warmth of course.

Spring at the Cottage in Muskoka … not here, not yet.

Many times in the past, at work in Toronto, Chicago, Orlando, or Boston, I’d hear about spring equinox (night and day of approximately equal length) and begin to wonder how conditions were at our Muskoka cottage.

In case you are at work planning for spring at the cottage, I have an update for you. Depending on where you are, it may not be all that spring-like, and it isn’t here either.
On Lake Muskoka, I made this image less than 20 minutes after the spring equinox today (Mar 20th). It’s hard to tell, but it was snowing and the high today is expected to be -2C.

20130320-600_0455-Edit
Lake Muskoka from Muskoka Beach area. Mar 20, 2013, spring less than an hour old.

Here’s how the spring weather looks coming up this week:

forecast

If you are reading this a bit later here’s the current forecast.

And have a look below at the historic records for this date. Last year we hit 24.8C – much better than -18 in 2007!

records

We did have an “early” spring last year and cottage real estate, just took off for us.

Speaking of spring, we’re at the Cottage Life show on April 5th -7th, really getting the cottage season jump-started; actually we are there Sunday the 5th from 1-5pm, so come and say hello.

If you want tickets give us a call.

Muskoka Moments starts with a winner!

I posted a few videos today. One is the 1st of a Muskoka Moments collection.

The idea of Muskoka Moments is to show people and places in Muskoka, but more importantly, to try to show the connection between the two.

Our first video Backyard Swamp, Bracebridge, is a perfect example to lead off. The star of the video, shows off his knowledge of the natural world around him and his excellent backyard! The video was created by a newbie to Final Cut Pro -nice work!

If anyone has a 1 or 2 minute video (or aspires to shoot some) that shows the connection between people and our beautiful environment here in Muskoka, let me know.

We can even do the editing for you!

Go for the painted version – sell your cottage fast, and it may help with those typos too.

Perhaps because Muskoka experienced more cottage sales in March, April and May 2012 than 2011, more cottages were listed, building something of a buyer’s market here.

Monthly Sales 3 Years (Muskoka Haliburton Association of Realtors)

Although the best way to sell a cottage quickly is to properly price it, there are additional things that can help: improve its condition, de-clutter, keep up with the maintenance, add staging and of course, market it well. There’s one more, ahem … “proven” … tactic that I didn’t know until we were sent a photo from a client of ours.

The Procedure

You can call on some divine intervention for help, but apparently “you have to believe.” As a seller you need to bury a statue of St. Joseph upside-down in the front lawn. Some detail on this at snopes.com.

Wow! In looking into this it’s unbelievable, at least to me, there’s even a st-josephstatue.com where you can buy a St Joseph Home Selling Kit, AND they’re all on sale at the moment – at either a “discount price” or a “super discount price” – how lucky is that?!

St Joseph Home Selling Kit (“nice” version)

A quote from the $9.47 unpainted statue description: “This product is a litle(sic) cheaper than the painted version, but always remember that the help from St Joseph has only to do with your faith in the saint, not what type of items you choose.” Ok, so good for them; there’s little in the way of hard pressure for the up-sell.

St. Joseph may not be the patron saint of spelling – or web typos – but hey, if you spend $3.00 more for the “nice painted statue” at a “super discount price,” it can’t hurt – right?