2023 Report Card

2023 Muskoka Watershed Report Card Logo

Muskoka’s watersheds stand at a crucial turning point. While currently healthy, they are gradually degrading in several ways, and our existing management systems seem incapable of halting or reversing this negative trend. We need an integrated, watershed-scale management system capable of dealing with the multiple stresses our iconic environment now faces.

About the Muskoka Report Card

The Muskoka Watershed Report Card, produced every five years by the Muskoka Watershed Council, scientifically assesses Muskoka’s watershed health. It educates residents and decision-makers about water and land conditions, enabling sustainable practices to bolster the strength of our remarkable natural environment. This is essential for our way of life and economy.

This summary Report Card below captures key highlights. Read the full Background Report for in-depth insights.

What is Watershed Health?

A watershed is a living and intricate ecosystem capable of maintaining its structure and functions unless faced with excessive stresses. Its health, or ecological integrity, signifies how effectively it preserves its typical structure and functions. Similar to how medical experts gauge human health, we measure watershed health by analyzing diverse indicators.

Muskoka’s Watersheds

This Report Card covers the entire Muskoka River Watershed (in blue), as well as a small portion of the South Georgian Bay Shoreline (in red) and parts of the Severn River-Lake Simcoe Watershed (in green) that intersect with the District of Muskoka. This vast 7,000 km2 area spans over 210 km from the Algonquin Highlands to Georgian Bay, including approximately 2,000 lakes amid extensive forests.

Map of the Quaternary Watersheds included in the 2023 Muskoka Watershed Report Card
Map of the Quaternary Watersheds included in the 2023 Muskoka Watershed Report Card.

Report Card Highlights

Dive Deeper into the Background Report

Or skip to a specific chapter:


Chapter 1 – Calcium Concentrations in Muskoka’s Lakes

Chapter 2 – Phosphorus Concentrations in Lakes

Chapter 3 – Benthic Macroinvertebrates in Muskoka

Chapter 4 – Chloride

Chapter 5 – Fish Populations in our Lakes

Chapter 6 – Hazardous Algal Blooms

Chapter 7 – Interior Forests

Chapter 8 – Fragmentation

Chapter 9 – How are Muskoka’s Avian Species Changing?

Chapter 10 – Invasive Species

Chapter 11 – Beech Bark Disease

Chapter 12 – Species at Risk in Muskoka

Chapter 13 – Weather and Climate

Chapter 14 – Ecosystem Integrity and Measuring Watershed Health

References and Acknowledgements

How Can You Help?

Learn More: The State of our Watershed Series