Friends of the Muskoka Watershed AGM held on June 11
After much study, Friends of the Muskoka Watershed (FOTMW) has selected their project plans for the
next five years. The plans to help protect Muskoka watersheds were announced at their AGM on
Sunday, June 11 at the Muskoka Discovery Centre in Gravenhurst.
FOTMW also held their business meeting and had presentations from their partner Trent University, and
two scientists who are directors on the board. But the big news is their long-term plan.
With input from advisors, the board, local experts and using published literature, FOTMW evaluated 14
watershed threats to determine the top seven plans for FOTMW’s focus for the future. The threats were
evaluated for: severity, extent and trend; current government actions; and potential for local
community action to help resolve the threat.
At the top of the list are plans to address calcium decline and increasing levels of road salt. e The study
of hazardous algal blooms and novel toxic chemicals are on the workplan too. Tying that all together is a
goal to motivate the community to participate in protecting Muskoka. Below is the full list of projects for
the next year. (See the full report at https://fotmw.org/our-major-programs/)
1. Calcium decline has damaged Muskoka forests. We plan to involve the community in
restoration using wood ash.
2. Calcium decline has reduced forest carbon capture. Working with university researchers, we
will determine what impact healthier forests could have on climate change. How much more
carbon will forests capture after ash additions?
3. Calcium decline in forests may increase the risk of spring floods. We will determine if an
increase in calcium will increase forest transpiration, reducing the severity of spring floods.
4. Road salt is damaging many Muskoka lakes. We are identifying the source and raising
awareness of the issue
5. Hazardous algal blooms are on the rise. We plan to study their causes so we can better predict
occurrences and investigate solutions.
6. Novel toxic chemicals may be damaging our lakes. We will determine if aquatic life is
threatened and action is needed.
7. Public will and action are needed to protect the environment. Through Citizen Science and
other projects, we will motivate, educate and provide opportunities for the community to
participate in protecting Muskoka.
FOTMW Chair Peter Kelly also shared some updates. “Revenue Canada has recognized us as a registered
charity, allowing us to issue tax receipts for donations, and that is making a difference,” he says. “We are
in an excellent position for the future and it’s going to be a good one for FOTMW. We focus on sciencedriven
A new board was elected. Financials were approved and about 35 guests heard scientific reports from
Dr. Neil Hutchinson on the road salt study and plans, and Dr. Shaun Watmough of Trent University and
Dr. Norman Yan on the results of additions of ash to our forests.