Making Waves: Integrated Watershed Management

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The Muskoka River Watershed is facing pressures due to increased development, severe weather events resulting from the changing climate, increased contaminants (e.g., nutrients and road salt), management of invasive species, loss of species at risk habitat, and shoreline erosion. Local residents are also concerned about water quality and quantity management and the impacts of flooding.


The Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group (MWAG) was appointed to advise the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) regarding priority geographic areas and issues in the Watershed. MWAG provided recommendations for projects across three key themes:

  • Integrated Watershed Management
  • Flood Mitigation
  • Watershed Enhancement

In 2020, the MWAG provided a report to the Minister, highlighting important issues facing the Muskoka River Watershed, including severity and risk of flooding, erosion and siltation, threats to water quality, threats to biodiversity and natural habitat, and the need for integrated watershed management.


After careful review and consideration of the Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group's recommendations and advice, in April 2021, the Province announced an initial investment of over $4 million to fund several projects aimed at examining the existing conditions in the Watershed and exploring ways to reduce the impacts of flooding and to address the health of the Muskoka River Watershed. The District of Muskoka is leading the majority of these projects, in partnership with the Muskoka Watershed Council.


The outcomes of these projects will set the stage to design a comprehensive approach to watershed management under which land-use decisions, environmental projects, infrastructure projects, and broader public policy options can be assessed. The initiative will support and advance the implementation of an Integrated Watershed Management approach for the Muskoka River Watershed by gathering information to:

  • Improve knowledge of the challenges facing the Muskoka River Watershed;
  • Better understand the causes of fluctuating water levels in the Muskoka River Watershed;
  • Improve understanding of erosion and siltation in the Muskoka River Watershed;
  • Improve knowledge of existing and emerging threats to water quality; and
  • Improve knowledge of emerging threats to biodiversity and natural habitat.

The District's 12 projects are divided into three phases. Please follow the following links to view the pages for these three phases:

The Muskoka Watershed Council is presently establishing a Community Round Table. For information on the Community Round Table or to participate, please contact crt@muskokawatershed.org

Stay Informed:

To receive Integrated Watershed Management updates and to stay informed of all environmental initiatives being undertaken by the District, please subscribe to our courtesy notice list by entering your email address in the "Stay Informed" tool (located at the top right-hand corner of this page on your desktop, or scroll down on your mobile device) and click the subscribe button.



The Muskoka River Watershed is facing pressures due to increased development, severe weather events resulting from the changing climate, increased contaminants (e.g., nutrients and road salt), management of invasive species, loss of species at risk habitat, and shoreline erosion. Local residents are also concerned about water quality and quantity management and the impacts of flooding.


The Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group (MWAG) was appointed to advise the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) regarding priority geographic areas and issues in the Watershed. MWAG provided recommendations for projects across three key themes:

  • Integrated Watershed Management
  • Flood Mitigation
  • Watershed Enhancement

In 2020, the MWAG provided a report to the Minister, highlighting important issues facing the Muskoka River Watershed, including severity and risk of flooding, erosion and siltation, threats to water quality, threats to biodiversity and natural habitat, and the need for integrated watershed management.


After careful review and consideration of the Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group's recommendations and advice, in April 2021, the Province announced an initial investment of over $4 million to fund several projects aimed at examining the existing conditions in the Watershed and exploring ways to reduce the impacts of flooding and to address the health of the Muskoka River Watershed. The District of Muskoka is leading the majority of these projects, in partnership with the Muskoka Watershed Council.


The outcomes of these projects will set the stage to design a comprehensive approach to watershed management under which land-use decisions, environmental projects, infrastructure projects, and broader public policy options can be assessed. The initiative will support and advance the implementation of an Integrated Watershed Management approach for the Muskoka River Watershed by gathering information to:

  • Improve knowledge of the challenges facing the Muskoka River Watershed;
  • Better understand the causes of fluctuating water levels in the Muskoka River Watershed;
  • Improve understanding of erosion and siltation in the Muskoka River Watershed;
  • Improve knowledge of existing and emerging threats to water quality; and
  • Improve knowledge of emerging threats to biodiversity and natural habitat.

The District's 12 projects are divided into three phases. Please follow the following links to view the pages for these three phases:

The Muskoka Watershed Council is presently establishing a Community Round Table. For information on the Community Round Table or to participate, please contact crt@muskokawatershed.org

Stay Informed:

To receive Integrated Watershed Management updates and to stay informed of all environmental initiatives being undertaken by the District, please subscribe to our courtesy notice list by entering your email address in the "Stay Informed" tool (located at the top right-hand corner of this page on your desktop, or scroll down on your mobile device) and click the subscribe button.



  • Muskoka's E-RODE Survey - Now Open!

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    The District of Muskoka has implemented a new program that will allow citizens to collect and submit erosion information for lakes and waterways throughout the Muskoka River watershed. This project is part of the Integrated Watershed Management initiative. The program's ultimate goal is to create an inventory of eroding sites to identify areas where future work may be required to improve river and lake water quality and aquatic habitat.

    This new program has been appropriately called E-Rode, which includes a new app that can be accessed on your phone anywhere you have cell reception or from your home computer. You, as a Citizen Scientist, are being given the opportunity to flag locations where you see erosion occurring on lakes or rivers. This program is part of a larger initiative being undertaken by the District of Muskoka.

    Click Here To Complete the Survey

  • Public Survey Now Open!

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    Do you enjoy beaches, trails, or marinas in the Muskoka River Watershed? Have ever gone boating, fishing, hunting, or camping (and more!)? We want to hear from you!

    The District of Muskoka has launched a survey to gain information on Public Access in the Muskoka River Watershed. This survey is part of the District’s Making Waves: Integrated Watershed Management Initiative.

    Please fill out this survey by June 30 to help the District identify public access issues and opportunities in the Watershed.

    https://forms.office.com/r/HrgJ6gUMPv

  • Project Consultation in Partnership with MWC Community Round Table

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    In partnership with Muskoka Watershed Council, the District of Muskoka has scheduled the following project consultation opportunities during Community Round Table (CRT) meetings. These projects are part of the Making Waves: Integrated Watershed Management Initiative.

    All of these meetings are open to the public and will occur via zoom. Consultation will occur during these meetings. More consultants will occur as projects progress.

    Wednesday, June 8, 4:00 – 5:30 PM
    Presentation: The collaborative approach of IWM by Barb Veale
    Consultation: Public Access Inventory. Note: an online survey will follow for further consultation.

    https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85255529441
    Meeting ID: 852 5552 9441
    To join by phone: (647) 558-0588


    Wednesday, June 22, 4:00 – 5:30 PM
    Consultation: Erosion Survey

    https://us06web.zoom.us/j/87910975158
    Meeting ID: 879 1097 5158
    To join by phone: (647) 558-0588

    Wednesday, July 13, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
    Presentation: Muskoka River Water Management Plan
    Consultation: Water Quality Indicators
    https://us06web.zoom.us/j/88904783153
    Meeting ID: 889 0478 3153
    To join by phone: (647) 558-0588


    Wednesday, July 27, 4:00 – 5:30 PM
    Presentation: Watershed Health Indicators Project Results
    https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83938728850
    Meeting ID: 839 3872 8850
    To join by phone: (647) 558-0588

  • The Ripple Series: Diving Deeper into Integrated Watershed Management in Muskoka

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    Collectively termed "Making Waves," The District Municipality of Muskoka (District) has initiated twelve technical projects that will assess the existing conditions within the Muskoka River Watershed. These projects will evaluate how the Watershed is currently managed and monitored, inform actions that will help reduce the impacts of flooding and address the health of the Watershed. The results of these projects will advance a future Integrated Watershed Management Plan to manage social, environmental, and economic factors together on a watershed basis.

    Beginning in March 2022, a series of articles called The Ripple Series will be posted bi-weekly on the Making Waves Engage Muskoka Webpage that dive deeper into each of the twelve technical projects. Readers will learn what a hydrological model is, how dams are used to manage water through the Watershed, why natural capital and municipal policy are linked, and more. The Ripple Series will also discuss what floodplains are, how they are mapped, and how public access to lakes and parks can be environmentally and socially sustainable.

    The first article, published this week, looks at the hydrological model project.

    If you live, work or play in the Muskoka River Watershed, you may have experienced flooding at least once. The District is exploring watershed issues like flooding, which starts with an informed community. You can be part of the bigger picture of watershed health by being informed. Subscribe to the Making Waves Engage Muskoka Webpage today to get the latest project updates and articles delivered straight to your inbox.

  • Request for Proposals Issued for Remaining Integrated Watershed Management Projects

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    The District of Muskoka is pleased to announce that the remaining projects of the Making Waves: Integrated Watershed Management initiative were released this week. Competition closes on February 18, and it is anticipated that the selected consultants will begin work on the projects this Spring.

    These projects include:

    • A land use policy review
    • Identifying watershed health indicators
    • Identifying water quality indicators
    • A shoreline erosion survey
    • A public access inventory

    You can follow the Making Waves Initiative by clicking the “subscribe” button and entering your email address. You will receive important project updates, including announcements of when consultants are selected and when reports are published.

  • Consultants Selected for Making Waves: Integrated Watershed Management Phase 1 and Phase 2 Projects

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    Through the Request for Proposal process, the District of Muskoka is in the final stages of retaining consultants to complete the Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects for the Making Waves: Integrated Watershed Management (IWM) Initiative which is focused on the Muskoka River Watershed. These projects include:

    • Localized Structural Mitigation Measures
    • Watershed-scale Flood Mitigation Options
    • Operational Adjustments Study
    • Water Management Plan Review Scoping Study
    • Hydrological Model
    • Natural Capital Inventory

    The localized structural mitigation measures project and watershed-scale flood mitigation options project were combined into one project. Likewise, the operational adjustments study and the water management plan review scoping study were also combined into a single project. These projects were combined because of how the information and outcomes from one project will directly inform the next project.

    The floodplain mapping project was awarded in August 2021. To date, 7/12 projects have been awarded. Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects will be completed by the end of summer 2022. Request for proposals for Phase 3 projects will be issued before the New Year.

    The purpose of these projects is to better understand the current conditions in Muskoka River Watershed and its environmental challenges, such as flooding, erosion, and land use planning. The results of these projects will inform a future Integrated Management Plan for the Muskoka River Watershed. Part of the focus of the plan will be to help reduce the impacts of flooding.

    Be sure to subscribe to receive updates about when the project report are published.

  • Request for Proposals Issued for Remaining Phase 1 and 2 Projects

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    The Request for Proposal process is underway for the remaining Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects that make up the Making Waves: Integrated Watershed Management Initiative. Competition closes on October 4th, and it is anticipated that the selected consultants will begin work on the projects later this fall.

    You can follow the Making Waves Initiative by clicking the “subscribe” button and entering your email address. You will receive important project updates including announcements when consultants are selected and when reports are published.

  • Expanded Flood Plain Mapping Underway!

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    Did You Know? The District of Muskoka completed 1,509 square kilometers of LiDAR Mapping and 1,404 kilometers of shoreline floodline mapping in 2020. Check out the Muskoka GeoHub to see the results!


    Building on the 2020 mapping results, the District has initiated a second phase of flood plain mapping. HATCH Ltd. is leading the mapping project, which is part of the Making Waves: Integrated Watershed Management Initiative. The mapping project is expected to be completed this winter, and site survey and mapping locations will be shared as soon as the data is available.


    Be sure to subscribe to the Making Waves: Integrated Watershed Management Initiative page to receive important project updates.

Page last updated: 03 Aug 2022, 07:39 AM