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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
Please join us for the annual Sparrow LakeAssociation 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.
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.
Many years ago my Grandmother won a contest with Toronto radio station CKEY (now long gone). I think you had to write in, and the best story about signs of spring won. The prize was a ride in the radio station’s traffic helicopter during a weekday rush hour. Grannie’s story was something about the pussy willows growing up right out of the snow in front of the Sundial restaurant on the way up to Muskoka (also long gone). Anyway, she gave me the helicopter ride – that was cool!!!
Whether: “is the ice-out”, other signs of spring, habits of wildlife or indicators of a healthy lake, we are often asked about key things cottagers need to know – or go by, and we are happy to help!
But here’s an opportunity to get all the scoops on what to look for: plan to attend the Muskoka Stewardship Conference, put on by the Muskoka Watershed Council. This conference is titled What Are You Watching?
Planned, are talks on algae (identification and monitoring), loon surveying, water quality, landscaping for wildlife, NatureWatch programs and more. There’s even the opportunity to join naturalist Al Sinclair on an outdoor birdwatching session before the talks begin.
Taking place at Nipissing University in Bracebridge, the whole day is only $30 and includes lunch. Register, and get more info here.
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.
A fascinating presentation by Thomas Lovejoy of George Mason University, this is the evening keynote lecture from 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.
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.
In this straightforward and important talk, Steve gives us an acronym to help understand threats to biodiversity, speaks of the need to link Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, and talks about the Strategic Biodiversity Plan for Ontario.
Many of us remember the really interesting, but bleak landscape that was Sudbury a few decades ago. As one of the epicentres of sulfur dioxide pollution from the nickel smelters, Sudbury’s landscape resembled the Moon, or Mars much more than the rest of Northern Ontario.
Well things are quite different now and Stephen Monet presents the 4th lecture from 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.
Another highly engaging presentation, this one by Andrew Gonzalez of McGill University and the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science, is the 3rd lecture from 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.
As always, there were a lot of questions at the end of the talk and because we ran out of time, more questions one-on-one after the meeting. It thought it might be helpful to repeat them here as sort of an FAQ about water quality and cottage waterfront living. But after typing out a few Q&As, I thought I should send you to a better source.