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.
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?
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
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.
To be blunt; we would all be blind, deaf , stupid and dead if it wasn’t for the life in lakes.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Wed. August 15 th at the Port Carling Community Centre at 7:00 is the latest of the Muskoka Watershed Council’s Environmental lecture series.
Did you know that Gravenhurst Bay is 5 times cleaner now than it once was? That Muskoka has only half as many acid lakes as it once did? That lead pollution, once a common environmental and human health problem, has all but disappeared? That the concentration of pesticides in the environment fell 10 to 100 fold once the cosmetic use of pesticides was banned?
We can, and often have, solved very large and complicated environmental problems that affect our health and the condition of the watersheds we share with thousands of other species. In this Muskoka Watershed Council lecture, Dr. Norman Yan will celebrate our past environmental successes by briefly reviewing the history of several good news stories. More importantly, he will talk about what we have learned from the past and the steps we need to take to solve today’s environmental problems.
We have created global environmental problems, but we have also solved environmental problems of a global scale on more than one occasion. Come learn how we can move from creating to solving such problems.
The idea behind Muskoka Minutes is to show work being done by scientists and others in the field here in Muskoka on the Muskoka Watershed Council’s YouTube Channel. More details are here on the day spent tracking Blanding’s turtles, a species at risk in Ontario. My thanks to Jeremy, Kelsey, Mike and also Glenda.
They used to have a much larger range in Ontario and were much more common in Muskoka – see below. They have many predators and like other turtle species have had their habitats carved up by roads.
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.
As a volunteer, as well as being on the executive of the Muskoka Watershed Council, I am the videographer. This gives me a great opportunity to ensure that truly wonderful ideas and presentations are not lost after the words are spoken and the video projector is turned off. I record, edit and post to YouTube, lectures and presentations at Muskoka Watershed Council events.
A most important event is the biennial Muskoka Summit on the Environment. On June 6th and 7th I recorded the presentations over the two day summit. Broadcast, in part, by CBC Radio’s Ideas with Paul Kennedy, (search for Buying Into Biodiversity), these were world-class lectures, presented here in Muskoka. I am delighted to be able to ensure these are available to the world.
It was presented by Justina C. Ray Ph.D. of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Canada. Justina raises some of the most important questions and current thinking on biodiversity and explores how our thinking has shifted over time, making biodiversity loss less apparent to us.
This has been an extremely busy Real Estate season so far, which is a good thing!
On the other hand, this has the resulting effect of slowing some of my other activities. I have some great video presentations from the April 28th Muskoka Watershed Council Stewardship Conference, and I’m really trying to fit in some time to process the material and post it. The 1st one is Jan McDonnell from the Ministry of Natural Resources with Birds At Risk in Muskoka.
We are very privileged to live in Muskoka where we enjoy healthy forests, with much natural cover.
Although I am a volunteer with the Muskoka Watershed Council, I recognize the current and past work done by all the volunteers and staff of the MWC for 10 years now. With the release of the 2010 Report Card, benchmarks for future Report Cards have been established; best ensuring that we do not lose our incredible resource.