District Releases Muskoka 2016 Lake Water Quality Data
The District Municipality of Muskoka recently released the results of its Lake System Health Water Quality Monitoring Program for the 2016 season. The data collected adds to the long-term data set the District has for a large number of lakes in Muskoka.
The main components of the program include recreational water quality monitoring, shoreline surveys through the Love Your Lake program, and biological monitoring conducted by lake associations with the assistance of District staff, including benthic macroinvertebrate monitoring.
Recreational water quality monitoring includes testing for phosphorus and other nutrients, calcium, chloride, and pH. In fact, Muskoka collects data on 46 different chemical parameters, as well as physical parameters like temperature and clarity. This data provides an indication of the general health of Muskoka’s lakes, and is collected at 193 sites across Muskoka on a rotational basis.
The 2016 program collected data at 84 sites on 71 lakes. Details of the monitoring program are provided in the 2016 Lake System Health Water Quality Monitoring Program Year End Report and the data for each lake is available in the 2016 Lake System Health Water Quality Monitoring Program Data Report, available at www.muskoka.on.ca. Lake Data Sheets for each site monitored are available on the Muskoka Water Web site at www.muskokawaterweb.ca.
To supplement the recreational water quality data collected, Muskoka also assists volunteers and associations with the collection of biological data through citizen science programs, the most popular of which is the Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network, also known as “bugs in the mud”. Data was collected through this program from 35 sites in 2016.
As education and stewardship activities are key to protecting our water quality, Muskoka assists with implementing the Love Your Lake program, supported by Watersheds Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Federation. The program includes shoreline assessments, personalized shoreline property reports with stewardship recommendations, and subsidized shoreline renaturalizations. Lake of Bays and Three Mile Lake participated in the program in 2016.
Learn more about the Lakes System Health program, including which lakes are scheduled to be monitored in 2017, on the District of Muskoka website at www.muskoka.on.ca or the Muskoka Water Web site at www.muskokawaterweb.ca.