Causation Study Update

Posted on August 24, 2022

The District Municipality of Muskoka and project consultants have experienced unexpected delays with respect to external data collection required for these projects. This has resulted in an overall delay for all causation studies.

The required data has recently become available, and the analysis portion of the studies is now underway.

When will the next stakeholder meetings be?

The next stakeholder meetings will occur in late Fall 2022. At these meetings, the draft report for each subject lake, including project results, will be shared and discussed. Stakeholder and public comments are welcome and encouraged. You can stay informed on the future meeting dates by subscribing to the Engage Muskoka Page. To subscribe, enter your email address in the “Stay Informed” tool.

When will the final report be published?

Following the public consultation on the draft report in late Fall 2022, the final report is anticipated to be published in late 2022 and brought forward to the District’s Community Services and Planning Committee in early 2023.

Is my lake still subject to Enhanced Protection Policies?

Yes. Until a causation study is completed and any recommendations adopted by Muskoka District Council, the enhanced protection policies will continue to apply to development on vulnerable lakes, as outlined in Section C2.6.6. of the Muskoka Official Plan (MOP).

What happens if my lake experiences another blue-green algae bloom this summer?

The scope of each Causation Study is to determine the cause of one specific blue-green algae bloom and are intended to provide an in-depth review of a snapshot in time to determine why a bloom occurred. For that reason, blue-green algae blooms in subsequent years will not be a part of the current/underway Causation Study. Further, if current Causation Studies did include new blooms, the project would be delayed due to more data collection and analysis requirements.

If you suspect a blue-green algae bloom, call the Pollution Hotline at 1-866-663-8477.

If my lake experiences another blue-green algae bloom, will another Causation Study be initiated?

Currently, there are 9 lakes in Muskoka on Schedule E2 of the Muskoka Official Plan as a result of a confirmed blue-green algae bloom. While the Muskoka Official Plan envisions causation studies to be undertaken on all lakes that experience a confirmed blue-green algae bloom, it does not provide guidance on a priority order for the vulnerable lakes to be studied. For the current lakes undergoing a Causation Study, they were recommended by staff to District Council based on development potential, historical water monitoring and stewardship activities, stakeholder impact, and engagement between the District and the lake association.

Once the current causation studies are complete, District staff will once again review the vulnerable lakes and provide options for the consideration of District Council..

I have more questions. Who do I contact?

Please feel free to reach out to Cassie Emms, Planner, if you have any questions about the Causation Studies. You can email her at

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