December 2015
2015 Happy Holidays!

2016 Muskoka Summit on the Environment

Muskoka Summit on the EnvironmentRegistration opens soon for the 2016 Muskoka Summit on the Environment, which will take place May 27-28th at the Rene Caisse Theatre in Bracebridge.
The 2016 theme is Solutions for a Warming World and will feature six internationally renowned speakers who will address Climate Change from different perspectives, including:
The talks will culminate in a panel discussion led by Paul Kennedy, host of CBC Radio's Ideas, that will form the basis of a Summit communiqué.
2016 Muskoka Summit on the Environment

Become a Sponsor!

Participate in the 2016 Muskoka Summit on the Environment by becoming a sponsor!

Muskoka Summit on the Environment is a premier environmental event with almost 300 participants from across Ontario and beyond.

The success of the event is due in a large part to our sponsors. There are four levels of sponsorship available, each with its own benefits. Visit the MSE website to learn more.

MWC Receives Grant for Phragmites Awareness

GMPE Donation

MWC was one of four organizations that received a Smart and Caring Muskoka grant at a ceremony held on November 13th in the District of Muskoka Council Chambers. Patricia Arney accepted the cheque from Jodi Holder and the Muskoka Community Foundation on behalf of MWC and the District of Muskoka. The grant for $750 will assist with education, awareness and action on invasive species in Muskoka, specifically to develop an awareness piece on Phragmites.

 Muskoka Community Foundation

Learning How to Manage Invasive Species

Plant Management Strategy WorkshopOn December 10th, several MWC volunteers, together with District staff and Councillors, attended an Invasive Plant Management Strategy workshop in Midland. Hosted by the Ontario Invasive Plant Council and Sustainable Severn Sound with funding from the Invasive Species Centre, this workshop covered Ontario's new Invasive Species Act and also highlighted some effective municipal and community strategies (including ones in Lambton Shores and the City of London) that are successful in managing and slowing the spread of invasive species.

Here in Muskoka, we have dozens of invasive species across our watershed, in our gardens, our roadside ditches, our lakes, and our forests, and there are ways for you to slow down or minimize their ​spread. Next summer, MWC will be holding workshops to raise awareness about invasive species and their management, including Phragmites, or you can learn about Muskoka's invaders in the Living in Cottage Country handbook.

Paddling Event Donates to MWC and FMW

GMPE Donation

Organizers of the 2015 Great Muskoka Paddling Experience Dennis Lawson (left) and Sandy Schofield (right) presented a cheque for $4,500 to Friends of the Muskoka Watershed Chair Norman Yan (centre) in support of Muskoka Watershed Council activities. The funds were raised through registrations for the event held on October 10th, which saw 182 boats and 211 paddlers participate.

Hunter's Bay Radio Donates PSAs to MWC!

Listen to Hunter's Bay Radio online at or on the radio at 88.7 FM to catch one of four public service announcements featuring tips on living sustainably in Cottage Country from MWC's new handbook. The PSAs were generously donated to MWC as a way to promote watershed health across Muskoka.
Hunter's Bay RadioHunters Bay Radio is Muskoka’s not-for-profit Community Radio Station. They operate with a contingent of over 50 staff and volunteers and fill a void in the local media by providing a wide variety of music and community programming, not otherwise available in the region. MWC is very grateful for this opportunity to reach a broader audience with our watershed health messages.
MWC and FMW are also excited to be regular guests on Green Tapestry, an environmental show hosted by Michael Peppard every Thursday at 10:35 am.

It's time to renew your FMW membership!

Friends of the Muskoka WatershedWith 2016 just around the corner, it's time to renew your membership with Friends of the Muskoka Watershed (FMW).
2016 will be an exciting year for MWC and FMW. We're releasing our research and analysis on climate change; tackling invasive species; promoting shoreline stewardship with Love Your Lake; and gathering with renowned environmental experts to discuss Solutions for a Warming World, and we need you!

You can help us continue our good work by renewing your annual membership today for only $40 online or by calling 705-646-0111.

And the Winners Are...

We are thrilled to announce the 3 winners of the FMW raffle for 2015.

  • 1st Prize, a Perception Tribe 13.5 Tandem Kayak, goes to Moira Innes of Port Carling
  • 2nd Prize, a Perception Tribe 11.5 Solo Kayak, goes to Hal Bonus of Thornhill
  • 3rd Prize, a custom, hand-crafted ash Grassmere paddle, goes to John Patterson of Dwight

Congratulations to our winners and a big Thank You to everyone who bought tickets. Your support is crucial to our ability to successfully implement our environmental programs, including research, awareness, and remediation, in Muskoka.

We’d also like to thank Algonquin Outfitters for their valuable assistance in obtaining the Perception Kayaks, displaying them in their stores in Bracebridge and Huntsville and for selling tickets, and Grassmere Paddles for their exceptional paddles.

Volunteer Spotlight

PIRET HURRELL, Policy & Research and Strategic Directions Committees

Piret HurrellBorn and raised in Hamilton, Piret went to McMaster University, obtaining BSc degrees in Chemistry and Geology and, more recently, an Environmental Techniques Certificate from Georgian College. Her career spans work in mineral processing, manufacturing, foundry, government, private and commercial laboratories, and R&D, in supervisory and managerial capacities. Piret moved to Bracebridge in 1997 and joined the Muskoka Watershed Council in 2010.
Piret believes that our natural environment is a wonderful gift. By protecting it today, it will continue to sustain us in the future.
Muskoka Watershed Council (MWC): How did you first hear about MWC?
Piret: I suppose it was several factors at the time. The 2010 Watershed Report Card had just come out and interesting articles on environmental issues in the local newspaper coincided with my completing some environmental courses at Georgian College.

MWC: What made you want to volunteer with MWC?
Piret: Looking at the MWC website, I decided it was a worthwhile group of dedicated people who are trying very hard to make our municipality an environmentally safe and enjoyable place to live, for now and future generations. The diversity of life experiences and knowledge of the MWC members presents a fantastic base from which to continue my own environmental learning curve as well as share my own thoughts and experiences.
MWC: What MWC projects are you involved in?
Piret: When I joined MWC I jumped in with both feet - sitting on both the Strategic Directions and the Policy & Research Committees. Five years later I am still on both committees. The projects in which I’ve recently participated are the 2014 Report Card, Climate Change, and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs).
MWC: What is your favourite part about living in Muskoka?
Piret: I love the small town feeling, fresh air (thanks to all our trees), many nearby lakes and the many wonderful people I’ve met whose work or volunteering makes this a great community.

Love Your Lake helps Renaturalize Three Shorelines in Lake of Bays!

Ramsay Property
The Bay Park
The Bay Park
Linton Property
Linton Property

Love Your LakeThree properties on Lake of Bays are more enticing to wildlife thanks to a shoreline renaturalization program implemented through Love Your Lake! With funding from Fisheries and Oceans Canada's Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program, property owners on Lake of Bays, where the Love Your Lake program is completing a second year, were eligible to receive a subsidy for creating or enhancing their shoreline buffer.
MWC would like to thank the Lake of Bays Association (LOBA) for their assistance with the Love Your Lake program and the shoreline renaturalizations, and Dale Linton and Jacqueline Ramsay for participating in the renaturalization program. In addition to the Linton and Ramsay properties, The Bay park in Baysville also received a makeover to make it more hospitable to wildlife while reducing erosion on the property. Thank you to the Township of Lake of Bays and LOBA for making this possible. Northway Gardeners generously assisted with developing the planting plans and provided the plants and much of the labour for the renaturalizations.
Lake of Bays AssociationMWC plans to continue this program on Lake of Bays in 2016, as funding permits. If you are interested in improving the shoreline buffer on your property, please contact for more information.

IISD-ELA and Climate Change

For the last 47 years, the IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) in Northwestern Ontario has been collecting detailed data on climate, stream and lake ecosystems, making their long-term dataset extremely valuable to understanding how climate change has, and will, influence precious freshwater resources.
If you follow MWC on Twitter and Facebook, then you know that IISD-ELA recently released a summary of their findings in five parts:
Join Friends of the Muskoka Watershed

Holiday Closure

The MWC/FMW office located at 16 Robert Boyer Lane in Bracebridge will close for the holidays beginning Thursday, December 24th and will reopen on Monday, January 4th.
Have a safe and happy holiday!

Species at Risk Spotlight

Wilsonia canadensis
Status: Special Concern
 Canada Warbler (photo by Emmett Hume)
There are 42 Species at Risk in the Muskoka-Parry Sound area, including the Canada Warbler, a small, brightly coloured songbird that nests on or near the ground and overwinters in South America.

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! MAKES A GREAT GIFT!

Events Calendar

  • January - Expected release of the Planning for Mid-Century: Managing Climate Change in Muskoka report.
  • January 8 - MWC Strategic Directions Committee meeting will take place from 10 am to 12 pm in the Birch Room at the District of Muskoka.
  • January 22 - MWC Policy & Research Committee meeting will take place from 10 am to 12 pm in the Birch Room at the District of Muskoka.
  • The next Muskoka Watershed Council meeting is scheduled for Friday, January 22nd at 1:00 pm in the Council Chambers at the District of Muskoka. A new Chair and Vice-Chair will be elected. 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.

Interested in helping MWC address environmental issues facing Muskoka and beyond? Call us at 705-646-0111!

Copyright © 2015 Muskoka Watershed Council, All rights reserved.
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