November 2015

Experience Muskoka in your own Perception kayak!

Get your raffle tickets now and help support watershed health in Muskoka!
Perception KayakFirst prize is a Perception Tribe 13.5 Tandem Kayak with paddles worth $1,000, second prize is a Perception Tribe 11.5 Solo Kayak with paddle worth $797 and third prize is a beautiful handcrafted ash paddle from Grassmere Paddles worth $200.
Tickets are only $10 each or 3 for $25 and are available at Algonquin Outfitters in Huntsville and Bracebridge and the MWC office at 16 Robert Boyer Lane in Bracebridge.
The draw will take place on Friday, November 27th at 3 pm in the Council Chambers at the District of Muskoka, located at 70 Pine Street in Bracebridge.

It's time to renew your FMW membership!

Friends of the Muskoka WatershedWith winter just around the corner, it's time to renew your membership with Friends of the Muskoka Watershed (FMW).
MWC and FMW have a very busy year ahead, including the 2016 Muskoka Summit on the Environment (Solutions for a Warming World) and the 2016 Muskoka Love Your Lake program. You can help us continue our good work by renewing your annual membership today for only $40 online or by calling 705-646-0111.

Environmental lecture focused on starting at the bottom

Chris JonesAn eager crowd of over 25 people gathered at the Huntsville Public Library on September 17th to hear Laurentian University PhD Candidate Chris Jones discuss the results of his three year research project on what bottom-dwelling macroinvertebrates can tell us about stream and lake condition. Macroinvertebrates, like the bugs found in the bottom of our lakes and streams, have long been used as indicators of ecosystem health and water quality.

The Canadian Water Network (CWN) funded a 3-year study of invertebrate communities in Muskoka lakes and streams to help answer the question of how these critters can be used to monitor the cumulative effects of multiple stressors in our watershed. The goals of the study were to characterize baseline biological condition, provide insights about which biological indices best distinguish developed and undeveloped lakes, and evaluate the influence that development and land-use has on biological communities.

The findings of the research program will be used by the District of Muskoka in its popular Biological Monitoring Program to better report on the health of the lakes and rivers through lake association benthic monitoring programs.

The talk culminated with Sarah Sinclair from Conservation Ontario providing an up-close look at some of the critters found in Muskoka’s water.

Professor from Birmingham provides insights on how Muskoka's lakes can help save the world

Dr. John Colbourne 
Is there anything more interesting than Daphnia? To well-known Muskoka researcher Dr. Norman Yan, the answer is no, and he is not alone. Dr. Yan's colleague, Dr. John Colbourne from the University of Birmingham, gave an intriguing presentation at the Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre on October 26th in Gravenhurst featuring the tiny water fleas called Daphnia.
Dr. Colbourne proposed using Daphnia as miniature indicators of the quality of our environment. As he explained, Daphnia have fascinating ways of coping with environmental change and hardship, including adapting to the thousands of human made chemicals that are poisoning our waters. It turns out that the ways these water fleas cope, combined with toxicological and evolutionary studies using other useful species in biomedical research, will allow to more immediately and accurately understand how chemicals adversely impact normal biological processes in most animals, including humans.
This research will contribute to solving two existing challenges which inhibit our capacity to effectively assess environmental risk – comprehensiveness and timeliness – and will allow us to make better science-based decisions on how to best manage potential chemical health risks.
Using Daphnia as our indicator, we can expose them to the waters of our target lakes and then measure the thousands of resulting metabolites in their blood. The responses of these sentinel fleas will tell us much more about environmental threats, far beyond the current methods.
We are very excited about the possibilities this research presents for Muskoka and beyond. We believe that we are in a position to directly benefit from this program as well as to aid in refining and perfecting the processes for the benefit of the world’s freshwater lakes.
We are now beginning to work with Dr. Colbourne and his team to build capacity in Muskoka for sample collection in our lakes as well as to do some preliminary analysis before shipping samples to Birmingham for complete evaluation. We will be striving to build further analytical capacity in Muskoka to support this effort and we will be embarking on fundraising activities in support of these goals.
If you are interested in finding out more about the program and how you can help us to succeed, we encourage you to contact us. Working together we can make a remarkable difference on a local and global scale!

Volunteer Spotlight

KEVIN TRIMBLE, Climate Change Impacts Subcommittee

Kevin TrimbleKevin Trimble is an ecological consultant with more than 25 years of experience assessing the impacts of many types of land use change in Ontario, most recently with Golder Associates in Barrie. Originally from an aquatic background, he integrates a number of terrestrial and aquatic disciplines with the water resource and groundwater sciences and has directed many types of restoration projects.
Muskoka Watershed Council (MWC): What made you want to volunteer with MWC?
Kevin: I was looking for a way to make a contribution with my background in the ecological aspects of land use, and also find a way to get better acquainted with the area and volunteerism here. I heard about MWC from an old friend, Al Shaw of Riverstone Environmental, and later from a new neighbour, Peter Sale, and I was so taken aback by how objective the group is, that I immediately wanted to be a part of it.
MWC: What MWC projects are you involved in?
Kevin: Apart from the main council, I got involved almost immediately in the Climate Change Impacts Subcommittee. I was impressed by the scientific backgrounds of many members, but also the ability of the less scientific members to play a key role in digesting all of the detailed information and turning it into something that a broader public can understand and act on. It has a very relevant and important task so I was happy to show support and help out.
MWC: What is your favourite part about living in Muskoka?
Kevin: I cottaged on Lake Simcoe my whole life, but was relatively unfamiliar with Muskoka until we moved here last spring. Being near the water is a huge draw for me, especially being able to live and work here year round. But I’ve also been taken by the sense of community and the mix of long time and newer residents in the towns we’ve spent time in so far.
Great Muskoka Paddling Experience

5th annual Great Muskoka Paddling Experience a success!

The 5th annual Great Muskoka Paddling Experience was held on Saturday, October 10th at Annie Williams Park in Bracebridge and organizers couldn't have asked for better weather! The event drew 182 boats and 211 paddlers to Bracebridge to compete for medals and prizes in one of 4 races, including a special 5 km race in honour of the 5th anniversary of the event.
The organizers wish to thank the many volunteers and participants for making the event a success. Proceeds of the event will be donated to the Muskoka Watershed Council to support watershed health in Muskoka.

Visit for more photos!
2015 GMPE
2015 GMPE
2015 GMPE
2015 GMPE

MWC comments on the Province's Wetland Conservation in Ontario: A Discussion Paper

Wetland Conservation in Ontario: A Discussion PaperMWC has always had an interest in the health of the wetlands in Muskoka. Recently, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) posted on the EBR seeking feedback to help identify the challenges and opportunities associated with wetland conservation in Ontario. The input received by MNRF will be used to inform the development of a Strategic Plan for Ontario Wetlands that will guide the government’s actions over the next decade.
Check out MWC's response to the EBR posting at

Lakelands Association of Realtors promotes book on sustainable practices

The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® recently gathered in support of the Muskoka Watershed Council’s resource publication Living in Cottage Country: What You Need to Know. The book, which is a comprehensive source of information for residents on sustainable practices for protecting the natural shorelines and watersheds throughout cottage country, can be purchased throughout the Muskoka region.
Read the rest of the article from the Real Estate Magazine at
Lakelands Association of Realtors promotes book on sustainable practices

FMW welcomes Paul Grinnell!


Paul GrinnellWe are pleased to announce that Paul Grinnell has joined Friends of the Muskoka Watershed as our Development Officer, replacing Lyndsie McGregor.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Lyndsie very much for her considerable contribution in helping to grow awareness of the Muskoka Watershed Council and Friends of the Muskoka Watershed in our communities. Thank you Lyndsie!
Paul comes to us with a broad range of experience in technical and senior leadership positions in the telecom and IT sector as well as frontline experience in sales, marketing, and business development. Most recently he was with The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® where, among other projects, he worked closely with Lyndsie and FMW to establish the FMW - Lakelands relationship which he will be continuing to grow in 2016.
Paul will be instrumental to our fundraising initiatives including growing our Friends of the Muskoka Watershed membership so that Muskoka Watershed Council may continue to succeed and make a positive difference in the health of our Muskoka River Watershed.

Our message will be seen across Ontario highways!

Thanks to Greg Hammond and the team at Hammond Transportation in Bracebridge, our Muskoka Watershed Council name and message will be seen on many of Ontario’s highways, including the very busy and important Highway 11 and 400 corridor.

Hammond Transportation has given us this opportunity by donating space on the rear panel of their coaches. The graphic, albeit a much smaller version, is shown below.

We’re grateful for this opportunity to increase our visibility and potentially grow our membership.

MWC Graphic on Hammong Transportation Coaches

Below the Surface by Lynda Lynn

Below the Surface Art Exhibition & saleArt Exhibition & Sale
21 Nov. - 18 Dec. 2015
Chapel Gallery, Bracebridge
Opening Reception Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, 1 pm to 4 pm
Artist's talk by Linda Lynn with commentary by Dr. Norman Yan, Professor of Biology, FRSC at 2 pm.
Our environment depends upon the microscopic things that few have the opportunity to see but are crucial to our health and environment. We hope that this body of work will help to promote a deeper understanding, interest in, and appreciation for the necessity of preserving the incredible hidden creatures that inhabit our water. Come and be intrigued.

Species at Risk Spotlight

Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Status: Special Concern
 Red-Headed Woodpecker
There are 42 Species at Risk in the Muskoka-Parry Sound area, including the Red-Headed Woodpecker, a medium-sized woodpecker that overwinters in south-western Texas.

Learn about this species at risk, where you're likely to find it in Muskoka, and how you can help protect it and its habitat in the Species at Risk Factsheet.
Living in Cottage Country Handbook
If you haven't already got your copy of the Living in Cottage Country handbook, look for it at your local Chamber of Commerce, municipal office, or real estate broker. You can also drop by our office at 16 Robert Boyer Lane in Bracebridge to pick up a copy for just $20!

Events Calendar

  • The next Muskoka Watershed Council meeting is scheduled for Friday, November 27th at 1:00 pm in the Council Chambers at the District of Muskoka. The draw for the raffle will take place following the meeting at 3:00 pm. All are welcome to attend!
  • Muskoka Summit on the Environment will take place May 27-28, 2016. The topic is Solutions for a Warming World. The Summit will take place at the Rene Caisse Theatre in Bracebridge. Visit for more information.

MWC is always looking for volunteers to help us champion watershed health. Please contact us today to learn about current volunteer opportunities!

Copyright © 2015 Muskoka Watershed Council, All rights reserved.
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