Road salt a real concern for local lakes
The Friends of the Muskoka Watershed announced yesterday that volunteers are measuring road salt discharge into Gravenhurst lakes.
Volunteer Citizen Scientists from the Gull and Silver Lake Homeowners' Association and PROBUS Gravenhurst are studying how road salt affects the Gravenhurst watershed. The Friends of the Muskoka Watershed are supplying scientific water quality testing kits.
Studies show Gravenhurst Bay in Lake Muskoka and Jevins Lake have significant chlorine levels. Road salt affects 20% of Muskoka's recreational lakes' animals due to their low calcium levels.
Friends of the Muskoka Watershed volunteer director, Dr. Neil Hutchinson has been monitoring local chloride levels and working with volunteers to identify how it enters the lakes.
According to Dr. Norman Yan, Muskoka has no natural marine salt deposits, and the lakes with elevated chloride levels all have substantial winter-maintained roadways in their catchments, therefore road salt is the only probable salt source.
The organization will expand its pilot project in the fall. After determining how chlorine enters lakes, the next stage is to discover community-wide solutions.