February 2016

Register Now for the  Muskoka Summit on the Environment!

Elizabeth May
Muskoka Summit on the EnvironmentRegistration is now open for the 2016 Muskoka Summit on the Environment, which will take place May 27-28th at the Rene Caisse Theatre in Bracebridge. Space is limited so register soon! Take advantage of early-bird rates by registering before May 1st.
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

Art show and posters and research, oh my!

There is more going on at the 2016 Muskoka Summit on the Environment than just speaker sessions. There are opportunities for students, researchers, businesses and artists to highlight their work, as well!
  • Graduate students can apply for the $7,500 MSE Research Grant to support environmental research within the Muskoka River Watershed in the fields of environmental science, resource studies and/or policy. Submission deadline is February 26th.
  • Researchers are invited to submit an abstract for posters that describe innovative and exciting research in the fields of environmental science or studies/policy related to our broad theme of proposing creative solutions to address the issue of climate change. Posters will be displayed during the Summit and one student will be awarded with a $250 prize. Poster abstracts are due by March 15th.
  • Artists are invited to participate in the 2016 MSE Art Show & Sale to showcase their work on the theme of solutions for a warming world. Entry deadline is April 30th.
  • Businesses and organizations can highlight their efforts to reduce the impact of climate change and adapt to the coming climate by sponsoring the 2016 Muskoka Summit on the Environment. Starting at just $50, one of our four levels of sponsorship is just right for you!
Planning for Climate Change in Muskoka
What will Muskoka's climate be like in 2050, and what are the steps we all need to take to prepare for this 'new' world?

Muskoka Watershed Council adopted the Planning for Climate Change in Muskoka report at its meeting on January 22nd.

Climate change has been happening for many decades and is now becoming apparent in people’s daily lives. Muskoka cannot prevent climate change, although every one of us, by making various changes in our lives, can participate in the global effort to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases – the primary cause of climate change at the present time.

This report is about the climate that Muskoka is likely to experience at mid-century and examines the likely impacts of that mid-century climate on our lakes and waterways, our forests, our built infrastructure, our communities, and our way of life.

It includes recommendations for actions to address some of those impacts for provincial agencies, district and municipal governments, local businesses, community groups and individual Muskokans.
Climate Change Lecture - April 21st
Volunteer Spotlight

LOU GUERRIERO, Chair, Muskoka Watershed Council

Lou Guerriero, MWC ChairMWC welcomed a new chair in January, as Lou Guerriero took over the reins from Peter Sale. Lou has served as Vice-chair for the past two years, as well as chair of the Strategic Directions Committee, the group responsible for producing the Muskoka Watershed Report Card.

Lou has been an active member of MWC for the past 11 years, and this experience will be put to good use as Lou leads MWC for the next two years. In addition to his membership on MWC, Lou served as a Gravenhurst Town Councillor for 7 years and sat on the board of directors for the Sunny Lake Ratepayers’ and Cottagers’ Association for 12 years. Before retiring, he had 35 years of technical sales and management experience in the computer and telecommunication industries. Lou is a graduate of McMaster University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics and Mathematics.
Christy Doyle, MWC Director of Environmental & Watershed Programs, talked with Lou about his involvement with Muskoka Watershed Council and what lies ahead for the organization.
Christy: How did you first get involved with Muskoka Watershed Council?
Lou: My first involvement was as the appointed representative of the Gravenhurst Town Council in early 2004. I was very pleased with this opportunity having owned property on Sunny Lake since 1986 and being involved with the lake association for many years.
Christy: Since you started volunteering with MWC in 2004, you’ve contributed to so many key projects including several Report Cards and also our latest position paper on climate change. What can MWC expect next, with you as Chair?
Lou: I see the Muskoka Watershed Council continuing to capitalize on its strengths that have evolved over the past 15 years like the Report Card, the Muskoka Summit on the Environment and, most recently, our climate change report. Continued focus on being responsive to the needs of the local municipalities and lake associations is a given. And, let’s not forget the depth and breadth of the skills and experience of our members that gives our work the critical balance between the environment and the economy in Muskoka.
Christy: Where would you like MWC to be two years from now?
Lou: That’s a tough one. Perhaps to be recognized by everyone in Muskoka as the “go to” resource for reliable science-based information, education and future planning advice might be a bit ambitious. But I think our current work on climate change will be the catalyst that can lead us in that direction.
Christy: What’s your favorite part about living and volunteering in Muskoka?
Lou: In the simplest of terms, it’s the people of Muskoka. My experience has been that they’re always ready to help where they can and when they do they always give 100%. Smiles and thank-yous are never in short supply.

MWC Comments on Ontario’s Aggregate Resources Act Review

A Blueprint for Change: A proposal to modernize and strengthen the Aggregate Resources Act policy frameworkThe Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) recently released A Blueprint for Change: A proposal to modernize and strengthen the Aggregate Resources Act policy framework, which proposed changes to legislation, regulation, policy and standards associated with the Aggregates Resources Act. A posting on the EBR seeked feedback on proposed changes to the Aggregate Resources Act policy framework which oversees the operation of pits and quarries in the province.
In general, MWC is strongly supportive of the Province’s interest in modernizing and strengthening its Aggregate Resources Act (ARA). Read MWC's response to the request for input at http://www.muskokawatershed.org/blog/ara-review/.
You can also learn more about aggregate resources in Muskoka by reading MWC's Aggregate Resources Position Paper.
New MWC Vice-chair & Chair
MWC welcomed a new Chair and Vice-chair at the MWC meeting in January. Kevin Trimble (left) begins a two-year term as Vice-chair and Lou Guerriero (right) will lead MWC as Chair for the next two years. Both are excited to be involved in upcoming MWC projects, including those coming out of the recently released Planning for Climate Change in Muskoka report.
Outgoing Chair
MWC was appreciative of the hard work and dedication outgoing Chair Peter Sale gave to MWC during his two-year term as Chair, which concluded at the MWC meeting in January. Past-chair Patricia Arney presented Peter with a certificate of appreciation and a small gift on behalf of all MWC members.

MWC learns about Sustainable Building in Muskoka

James Blackman discusses net zero building in MuskokaMWC was pleased to welcome James Blackman and Mark Allen, Co-Owners of Tapial Homes and Muskoka Sustainable Builders Inc., to the February MWC meeting to speak about sustainable building in Muskoka.
Their presentation, titled "Building for 2020: A Road to Net Zero Building in Muskoka", discussed rammed earth construction, net zero building and the various drivers for increasing energy efficiency in buildings. The key principles to developing energy efficient homes were explained, including site design and planning, energy modelling and air tightness. The challenges faced by Muskoka builders were highlighted, and the presentation concluded with a proposal on how to move Muskoka towards developing more net zero buildings.

New Club Helps Youngsters Take Care of Muskoka

GMPE Donation
The Muskoka Conservancy's Little Sprouts Eco-club is providing Muskoka's youngsters with an opportunity to learn about the importance of the environment. Started in July 2015 by Conservancy Board Member and Chair Christina Hunter, the program is open to children of all ages, but most members are between the ages of three and seven.
The group meets monthly to discuss an environmental theme and each child receives a sticker on a certificate for participating in the theme from the previous month. Past themes have included recycling, composting, reusing, saving water and rewilding. During the month, parents are encouraged to take pictures of their little sprout helping out with these eco-tasks and upload them to the Facebook group so everyone can follow along and stay connected.
The group is free to join with an option to purchase a t-shirt for $10. Meetings alternate between Bracebridge and Gravenhurst and the locations vary depending on weather. The club is ongoing and newcomers can join at any time. Catching up on pasts themes is simple by participating and posting pictures on the Facebook group showing their little sprout helping out. 
Muskoka ConservancyLearn more by joining the Facebook group Little Sprouts Eco-Club in Muskoka and start following along. You can also view past newsletters on the Muskoka Conservancy website and view photos from recent outings and meetings there too. 
Climate Change Actions

Species at Risk Spotlight

Acipenser fulvescens
Status: Special Concern
 Lake Sturgeon
There are 42 Species at Risk in the Muskoka-Parry Sound area, including the Lake Sturgeon. With an average length of 1 to 2 metres, it is Canada's largest freshwater fish.

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
 Get your copy of the Living in Cottage Country handbook 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

  • March 4 - MWC Strategic Directions Committee meeting will take place from 10 am to 12 pm in the Birch Room at the District of Muskoka. This Committee is looking at how to implement the recommendations in the Planning for Climate Change in Muskoka report as well as developing the 2018 Muskoka Watershed Report Card.
  • March 18 - MWC Policy & Research Committee meeting will take place from 10 am to 12 pm in the Birch Room at the District of Muskoka. This Committee is researching and analyzing environmental issues including stormwater management, endocrine disrupting compounds, and Crown land management.
  • March 18 - Muskoka Watershed Council meeting. 1:00 pm in the Council Chambers at the District of Muskoka. All are welcome to attend!
  • April 21 - Environmental Lecture: Planning for Climate Change in Muskoka by Peter Sale. Huntsville Public Library, 4 pm. www.muskokawatershed.org
  • 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 www.muskokasummit.org for more information.

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

Copyright © 2016 Muskoka Watershed Council, All rights reserved.
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