The 2007 Water Quality Initiative, including Community Action Plans, has wrapped up it’s “on-the-ground” work and results are now being analyzed and reported on. In all, a total of 133 volunteers were involved in the 2007 WQI monitoring program, and a further 150 individuals from Muskoka, Cox and Brackenrig Bays participated in Community Action Plan events over the summer.
Monitoring program volunteers collected samples from 164 sites across 19 lakes and rivers in West Muskoka and South Parry Sound. Please watch the MLA website (http://www.mla.on.ca) for the results in December.
Thanks to all the volunteers again this year, especially the new Team Leaders, who organized the volunteers for their areas and analyzed all of the bacteria samples week by week! If you are interested in volunteering in 2008, please contact the MLA office by phone or e-mail.
Community Action Plan achievements included:
Bulletins for each project - the first edition of these newsletters were distributed by e-mail in July. If you live in one of the Communities, the quarterly Bulletins have been started - first issue was in November.
Good Steward strategy was developed as a way for individuals to do their part to improve the environmental quality of the Community Action Plan communities. If you live in one of the communities, see your community website (listed below) for how to do your part and be recognized as a Good Steward of your bay! If you don’t live in one of the Communities, keep an eye open for docks sporting the plaque identifying that household as a Good Steward.
Stream Identification & Monitoring was undertaken by volunteers in Cox Bay and Brackenrig Bay. These dedicated folks documented each stream coming into the bay and later sampled all those that were flowing. By monitoring these streams, we will be able to have a good idea as to how phosphorus is coming into each bay.
Boat Cenci in both Muskoka Bay and Brackenrig Bay were undertaken by the MLA’s Marine Patrol. On two days over the summer, the Marine Patrol recorded all boat traffic into and out of the bays, as well as had a friendly conversation with the occupants of the boat to make sure that they were safe and sound. Understanding how many boats are using each bay and how they are using it will help these communities to promote boating practices in their bays that are environmentally and socially friendly.
Monitoring of benthic-macroinvertebrates was completed in each of the 3 communities, with the support of the District of Muskoka. Benthic macroinvertebrates are bugs that live in the mud at the bottom of the lake. Some of these bugs can only live in areas where the ecosystem is very good, whereas some of them can live where the ecosystem is impaired. Documenting which bugs are present can therefore indicate the ecosystem quality. Results are available on the Community Action Plan community websites (listed below), but as this is the first year of monitoring, conclusions can not yet be drawn. For further information, please contact the Muskoka Watershed Council.
A social event celebrating the accomplishments in the Cox Bay community was held at the Lake Joseph Club in September. Thanks to all who came out to make this a memorable event, and were also recognized as Good Stewards of Cox Bay!
In the coming months, we will be busy reporting on all of the exciting accomplishments of the past year, as well as drawing conclusions when and where possible. Please stay tuned!