Protecting Muskoka’s Vulnerable Lakes: Causation Studies

Overview Text:

In order to protect one of Muskoka’s most valuable assets, the District undertakes a comprehensive water quality monitoring program each year. The data collected from this program is used to identify lakes that are considered vulnerable based on specific water quality indicators such as confirmed blue-green algae blooms or increasing phosphorus levels.

When a lake is listed as vulnerable, one of the first steps outlined in the Muskoka Official Plan (MOP) is to initiate a waterbody-wide causation study to determine the causes and relative contributing factors to the identified water quality indicators.

Although the overall framework for undertaking a causation study is outlined in the MOP, studies are to be tailored to respond to the unique situations and contexts of individual lakes. Additionally, because the causation study approach is a new methodology, the approach and process is best initiated through a pilot project. Every causation study undertaken will be evidence-based through the use of the best available science.

The District of Muskoka has retained an environmental sciences consultant to undertake a Causation Study Pilot Project and Peninsula Lake has been selected to be studied first. Pending funding and other resources, the District plans to undertake causation studies for other vulnerable lakes, specifically Stewart Lake, Leonard Lake and Three Mile Lake over the next two years. The complete list of vulnerable lakes can be found in Schedule E2 of the MOP.

To receive project updates and to stay informed of the outcomes of the Peninsula Lake Causation Study Pilot Project and future causation studies on vulnerable lakes in Muskoka, please subscribe to our courtesy notice list by contacting Emily Crowder via email Emily.crowder@muskoka.on.ca

Overview Text:

In order to protect one of Muskoka’s most valuable assets, the District undertakes a comprehensive water quality monitoring program each year. The data collected from this program is used to identify lakes that are considered vulnerable based on specific water quality indicators such as confirmed blue-green algae blooms or increasing phosphorus levels.

When a lake is listed as vulnerable, one of the first steps outlined in the Muskoka Official Plan (MOP) is to initiate a waterbody-wide causation study to determine the causes and relative contributing factors to the identified water quality indicators.

Although the overall framework for undertaking a causation study is outlined in the MOP, studies are to be tailored to respond to the unique situations and contexts of individual lakes. Additionally, because the causation study approach is a new methodology, the approach and process is best initiated through a pilot project. Every causation study undertaken will be evidence-based through the use of the best available science.

The District of Muskoka has retained an environmental sciences consultant to undertake a Causation Study Pilot Project and Peninsula Lake has been selected to be studied first. Pending funding and other resources, the District plans to undertake causation studies for other vulnerable lakes, specifically Stewart Lake, Leonard Lake and Three Mile Lake over the next two years. The complete list of vulnerable lakes can be found in Schedule E2 of the MOP.

To receive project updates and to stay informed of the outcomes of the Peninsula Lake Causation Study Pilot Project and future causation studies on vulnerable lakes in Muskoka, please subscribe to our courtesy notice list by contacting Emily Crowder via email Emily.crowder@muskoka.on.ca

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    Hutchinson Environmental Sciences Ltd. (HESL) is pleased to have been selected by the District Municipality of Muskoka (DMM) to perform a causation study for algal blooms experienced on Peninsula Lake. The purpose of the project is to summarize and analyze existing information and complete additional water quality sampling and analysis to inform the likely causes of algal blooms in Peninsula Lake and determine the need for additional sampling, analysis or management activities. Findings will be documented in a detailed technical report to the DMM. The intent of this survey is to introduce Hutchinson Environmental Sciences Ltd. to the

    Survey Image




    Hutchinson Environmental Sciences Ltd. (HESL) is pleased to have been selected by the District Municipality of Muskoka (DMM) to perform a causation study for algal blooms experienced on Peninsula Lake. The purpose of the project is to summarize and analyze existing information and complete additional water quality sampling and analysis to inform the likely causes of algal blooms in Peninsula Lake and determine the need for additional sampling, analysis or management activities. Findings will be documented in a detailed technical report to the DMM. The intent of this survey is to introduce Hutchinson Environmental Sciences Ltd. to the residents and cottagers, and other lake users, in the Peninsula Lake area and gather information on the public’s lake use and their perception of the severity of algal issues in the lake and how those have changed over time. This survey is an important opportunity for lake residents and others who enjoy the lake, to provide historical information to HESL and the DMM to inform our understanding of the lake’s history.

    Hutchinson Environmental Sciences Ltd. is a small team of highly qualified aquatic scientists with extensive experience working on lakes in Ontario and Muskoka in particular.  Dr. Kris Hadley will act as Project Manager and will lead field collection, data analysis and reporting, and will be supported by Brent Parsons, Clarke Heitman and Dr. Neil Hutchinson.

    This survey will be active until November 30, 2019.


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