Muskoka Watershed Council is a volunteer-based non-profit organization incorporated in 2019 with the mandate to champion watershed health.
MWC is comprised of representatives from a wide range of stakeholders, including municipal, provincial and federal governments; lake and area ratepayer associations; local industry, academia, tourism, real estate and other interests from across our watersheds.
MWC is governed by a set of By-laws and Policies & Procedures.
Chair – PETER SALE, Academia
DIRECTOR – Peter F. Sale is an environmental scientist whose research into ecology of coral reefs spanned a career at the University of Sydney, (1968-87), University of New Hampshire (1988-93), University of Windsor (1994-2006), and most recently United Nations University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health (2007-2014). He remains University Professor Emeritus at the University of Windsor. Educated at the University of Toronto and the University of Hawaii, he now lives with his wife Donna in Muskoka, continuing to write and speak on critical environmental issues. His recent book, Our Dying Planet, tells the story of our impacts on the environment from the perspective of an ecologist who has seen environmental decline with his own eyes. He brings his expertise in aquatic ecology to the deliberations of the Muskoka Watershed Council.
Past-Chair – GEOFF ROSS, Skeleton Lake Association
Geoff Ross moved to Muskoka in 2010 after a career as a Professional Engineer developing water and air pollution control standards and programs with Environment Canada. His work included control of coal-fired power plant emissions contributing to acid rain, smog, climate change and other major air issues. He represented Canada in technical work under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and participated in negotiation of the Ozone Annex to the Canada/U.S. Air Quality Accord. Geoff holds degrees in Engineering and Physiology. He is a past President and member of the executive of the Skeleton Lake Cottagers’ Organization, and devotes his spare time to carpentry, sailing, canoeing , curling, XC skiing and tennis. He joined the Muskoka Watershed Council in 2012.
NANCY ALCOCK, District of Muskoka/Town of Huntsville
Biography not available.
PATRICIA ARNEY, Community – Muskoka Lakes
Patricia Arney joined MWC in 2001 and served as Chair from January 2012 to January 2014. She operated a summer business in Bala for years and moved to Muskoka full time in 1998. Patricia is a dedicated volunteer having held executive positions on the Muskoka Ratepayers Association, Habitat Restore Muskoka, Moon River Property Owners’ Association, Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce, and Georgian College Board of Governors. She was a member of the Standing Advisory Committee for the Muskoka River Water Management Plan as well as the Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group. She offers strong governance skills and a passion for education in all aspects. Patricia has a MEd in Applied Psychology.
MARIO BUSZYNSKI, Township of Seguin
Biography not available
DAVID BYWATER, Georgian Bay Biosphere
David Bywater has been part of the Georgian Bay Biosphere team since 2011 and over the years has worked on a range of conservation, stewardship and outreach programs. David leads the planning and delivery of conservation programs for GBB, such as State of the Bay and Integrated Community Energy and Climate Action Plans. A key component of David’s role is monitoring ecosystem health in the Biosphere by networking with partners, academics and agencies. David has a Bachelor of Environmental Sciences from the University of Guelph. Outside of work, you can often find David happily spinning on a bike (in all seasons!), cooking in the kitchen, or curled up with a good book.
JAVIER CAPPELLA, Westwind Forest Stewardship Inc.
Javier Cappella is a Registered Professional Forester and ISA Certified Arborist and manages Crown land forests as well as providing professional arboriculture services to both rural and urban clients. Javier has a passion for sustainable development, protecting and managing trees, and helping people see the forest for the trees.
JOHN COOPER, Community – Gravenhurst
John Cooper has been a Muskoka cottager for nearly 60 years, a permanent Gravenhurst resident for over 12 and an active pilot for 49 years. Prior to retirement, John was the CEO of Cooper Canada, the largest sporting goods manufacturer in the country at the time and the world’s largest manufacturer of ice hockey equipment.
John’s passion lies in attracting more year-round jobs that pay a fair wage to the region. He is an active member of the Muskoka Watershed Council, Gravenhurst Rotary Club, PROBUS Gravenhurst, the Seniors Centre, and a Director of the Sparrow Lake Association. John has also sat on the economic development advisory board for the Town of Gravenhurst for several years. At any given opportunity he is a staunch supporter and promoter of the arts and cultural attractions in Muskoka.
CHRISS CRAGG, Muskoka Lakes Association
Chris Cragg is a Director of the Muskoka Lakes Association and Chair of their Environment Committee. Since 2019 he has been a Provincially appointed advisor to the Minister of Environment, Conservation & Parks on flooding and environment in the Muskoka River Watershed, as part of the Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group. A substantial portion of his 45-year engineering career has been spent on dam safety particularly at Ontario Power Generation’s 70 hydroelectric power stations which include over 200 dams. He has written some 40 technical papers/conference presentations including, most recently “The Evolution of Water Management in the Muskoka River Watershed”, for Muskoka Watershed Council, Nov 2020. His experience includes stints as Chair of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers and President of the Society of Energy Professional. Also, former President of the Antique & Classic Boat Society which showcases antique wood boats at the Gravenhurst Boat Show since 1993. He is a third-generation owner of a family waterfront property on Lake Muskoka.
LANCE DeCAIRE, Community
Biography not available.
ANDREW FYFE, Planner
Biography not available.
JO-ANNE GOODWIN, Community – Muskoka Lakes
Jo-Anne Goodwin is hoping to draw from both personal and work experience to contribute to keeping Muskoka beautiful and healthy. Jo-Anne’s love of her childhood home in Muskoka led her to pursue a career as a Senior Water Resources Technologist for several Consulting Engineering firms. At these firms, Jo-Anne worked on many stormwater management, hydrologic and floodplain mapping studies for private industry and government agencies. Larger projects worked on in her career were hydraulic studies for drainage of Hwy. 407, a flooding and remedial measures assessment for the City of Hamilton and a Probable Maximum Precipitation Study for Northern Ontario’s Hydro Dams. Prior to that Jo-Anne worked for the Toronto Region Conservation Authority supervising capital work projects aimed at protecting and enhancing the shoreline of Lake Ontario in the Toronto Area. Most of her experience was gained in Toronto but she is hoping that she can use it now to help Muskoka withstand the changes that it has and will continue to endure. That is what drove her to her career choice in the first place and being a member of the Muskoka Watershed Council will be a wonderful place to start.
KATHLEEN HEDLEY, Kawagama Lake Cottagers’ Association
Kathleen recently retired to her real home on Kawagama Lake. Kathleen spent over 30 years working in the federal government in various positions, all related to environmental protection. Her choice of career was dominated by her love of the cottage that she spent all of her summers at from a very young age. Kathleen has experience working on a wide range of environmental issues, from water and air quality to contaminated sites and environmental assessment. In her professional career Kathleen also led numerous multi-stakeholder consultations leading to world leading regulations and environmental monitoring programs.
NEIL HUTCHINSON, Limnologist
DIRECTOR – Dr. Neil Hutchinson became passionate about environmental science as a teenager and coupled its emergence as a discipline with his personal attraction to water and Canadian geography. Having worked on water quality from Newfoundland to BC and from southern Ontario to Nunavut, he considers himself fortunate to have taken part in the great strides made in environmental management over his 45-year (and counting!) career as a summer student, graduate student, government scientist, consulting scientist, managing his own firm of dedicated, likeable and talented individuals and, recently, moving into semi-retirement.
His professional career has focused on pollutants and stressors of aquatic systems, with a focus extending from geochemical to laboratory to whole-watershed levels of investigation and a specialization in Precambrian Shield systems. He’s a stickler for clarity in thought and writing. He always strives to serve clients with sound and objective advice and creative feasible solutions. He has worked at the highest levels of peer review, providing input to all levels of the environmental assessment process, provided evidence to the Senate of Canada and served three three-year terms on Grant and Scholarship Selection Panels of Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.
His off-work time finds him messing about in canoes, kayaks or sailboats, skiing and performing music as a flutist or in his alter ego as “Singer-Songwriter-Scientist”, performing his original and Canadian folk music.
PETER JOHNSTON, Town of Gravenhurst
Peter was born and raised in Muskoka, returning after university to settle down and start a family. He served as the Deputy Clerk-Treasurer and Clerk-Administrator for the Town of Gravenhurst, and was elected District Councillor, serving on both the local and Muskoka Councils.
Leaving in the mid-80s, Peter served 12 years as a Senior Advisor with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing in Sudbury, the last of which he was the Acting Regional Manager for all of northeastern Ontario.
Most recently, Peter was the Chief Administrative Officer for Bonfield municipality near North Bay before being elected as a Muskoka District Councillor for Gravenhurst.
PETER KELLEY, District of Muskoka/Township of Muskoka Lakes
Peter started his career as a corporate lawyer in private practice and served as President of GE Commercial Distribution Finance. Upon leaving GE in 2007, he successfully co-founded TCF Inventory Finance, now a $2.7 billion subsidiary of TCF Bank.
For 23 years Peter and his wife have been cottagers on Lake Joseph and made Port Carling their permanent home in 2015. His professional, municipal, and community service experiences have allowed him to gain a unique perspective that allows him to understand and represent the interests of all of Muskoka’s residents, both seasonal and permanent. Peter is active in a number of community and service groups in Muskoka Lakes and sits on the board of Friends of the Muskoka Watershed.
When he is not out sailing or tinkering at home or at the cottage you might see him driving through town in his vintage 1934 Ford Roadster.
RICHARD LAMMERS, Community – Bracebridge
Dr. Richard Lammers is a Research Assistant Professor in the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space at the University of New Hampshire. Richard was one of the founding members of the Water Systems Analysis Group and has been Co-Director since 2008. He received a PhD in Physical Geography from the University of Toronto in 1998 and has been a researcher at the Institute since 1996. The focus of his research is understanding the dynamics of global and regional-scale hydrology with an emphasis on human interactions within the hydrological cycle and on high latitude hydrological systems. His most recent work involves integrating hydrology with energy, economic models and water rights to understand the resilience and vulnerability of water, land, food, and energy systems. His research interests also include understanding the convergence of human and biogeophysical datasets, modeling, and analysis; inter-basin hydrological transfers; the hydrological cycle at high latitudes; future change; spatial datasets and geoprocessing; river networks; and techniques of Internet-based data serving and analysis. Richard now resides in Bracebridge.
JESS LARIO, Student/Youth
Jess is an environmental biology student currently working on her Masters at the University of Alberta. She has a background in environmental science, having completed her environmental technician diploma at Canadore College and a degree in Environmental Biology from at Nipissing University. In the summer she was fortunate enough to work for the District of Muskoka as the Biological Monitoring Technician. This gave her the opportunity to explore many of the lakes within Muskoka, big or small! During her free time she likes to go kayaking, hiking, or spending time with her dog and family!
PETE LeMOINE, Community – Gravenhurst
DIRECTOR – Pete has been a cottager on Morrison Lake since birth. Thirty years ago, Pete and his wife Sandy bought property on the lake and built their own four-season cottage. Six years ago, they made the cottage their home and love living here fulltime!
Pete recently retired from 41 years in high technology and is very busy with volunteer work, projects around the home, cycling, kayaking, and skiing. He is the been the lake steward for Morrison Lake for many years and has been involved with Lake Partner Program water testing for decades.
Pete has had a variety of roles within MWC. He has a strong interest in protecting and enhancing the watershed for future generations. Pete brings a business background to the MWC board to complement the ecology and science expertise of the other members.
ROB MILLIGAN, Community – Lake of Bays
Rob Milligan, President and Chief Strategist at Perimeter Public Affairs, is an award winning public policy practitioner and has been described as a policy entrepreneur. Prior to starting PPA in 2008, he spent over thirty years with provincial ministries including: Natural Resources, Environment, Northern Development and Mines; Office for the Greater Toronto Area; Municipal Affairs and Housing; and Finance. Originally trained as an applied geomorphologist and snowmelt hydrologist, Rob has specialist knowledge in water security, watershed planning, management, and institutional arrangements. He was the prime author and editor of the Ontario’s 1984 Bi-centennial publication “The Water Quantity Resources of Ontario” and Head of Basin Planning with Ontario’s Conservation Authorities and Water Management Branch. He has an Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo, is a registered professional planner and member of the Canadian Institute of Planners. In addition to his professional activities he is currently Chair of the Planning Sub-committee; a Past Chair of the Muskoka Watershed Council; a Past member of the Board of the Muskoka Conservancy; and a Past President of the Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation.
Treasurer – DARYLE MOFFATT, Community – Seguin
DIRECTOR – Daryle and his wife owned a cottage on Otter Lake just south of Parry Sound but have recently moved away from the waterfront. Daryle sat on the Otter Lake Ratepayers’ Association’s Board from 2014 to 2018 as its treasurer and membership director in 2017 and 2018. From 2018-2022 he served as a municipal councillor with the Township of Seguin.
Daryle is a Chartered Accountant with over 25 years experience and has been working as a sole practitioner for about 5½ years with a focus on taxation. He plans to retire permanently to his new house in the West Parry Sound area in a few years, where he enjoys cycling, tobogganing, skating on the lake and playing in the snow.
CATHY OAKDEN, Community – Huntsville
Biography not available.
DAVID PARSONS, Ril Lake Association
DIRECTOR – As a four-season cottager on Ril Lake for over 20 years, David Parsons has been continually active in the Ril Lake Association, joining the executive in 2009. His current role is Environmental & Municipal Liaison, which includes monitoring and maintaining lake water data. David is a retired college educator and programs coordinator, with a background in civil construction. He enjoys being on the water, as an avid sailor, having restored two sailboats that have been on the lake since the 1960’s.
MICHAEL PEPPARD, District of Muskoka/Township of Lake of Bays
DIRECTOR – Michael Peppard is the founder and Executive Director of EcoMuskoka Conservation, a not-for-profit corporation whose mission it is to engage communities in local greening projects. For the past fifteen years Michael has been engaged in managing environmental programming for not-for-profits across Ontario. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Guelph and a Certificate in Restoration Ecology from Niagara College. Michael is a community engagement specialist who is striving to bring his skills to his new home in Muskoka.
SABRINA RICHARDS, Township of Algonquin Highlands
Sabrina is the owner of Big Hawk Lake Marina and is a permanent resident on Little Hawk Lake in Algonquin Highlands. She has over 20 years of experience in the logistics and transportation industry assisting importers and exporters navigate not only Canadian but International regulations at various levels and with various departments of government. In her former role as National Operations Manager for a large National Company, she was responsible for human resources, budgets, client retention and growth. Her experience in government regulations will be an asset in her new role as a councillor with the Township of Algonquin Highlands.
Vice-chair – AARON RUSAK, Georgian Bay Land Trust
DIRECTOR – Aaron Rusak is the Protected Areas Manager for the Georgian Bay Land Trust. He has been cottaging in Go Home Bay his whole life and feels a deep connection with the natural landscapes of Georgian Bay. An avid birder and naturalist, Aaron has spent many hours exploring the wild areas in Georgian Bay, often hip-deep in a wetland to get a better look at a species of flora or fauna.
BET SMITH, Climate Action Muskoka
Bet Smith is a Canadian alternative folk singer-songwriter who weaves environmental and socio-political philosophy into rich, reflective compositions. Bet’s reverence for nature is ever-present in her writing. She attributes this to time spent homesteading on a small island in British Columbia. Bet returned home to Ontario in 2014, settling in Bracebridge, and released a solo album, titled Downer, in February 2021.
Bet published an animated video for the album’s first single, Forgive You. Painstakingly hand-illustrated and set into motion by Bet herself, the video is a bleak portrayal of the ongoing environmental destruction occurring in the face of peaceful protest and new levels of climate awareness.
Bet also keeps a blacksmith’s shop in Bracebridge Ontario, which she calls Persephone Forge.
DON SMITH, District of Muskoka/Town of Bracebridge
Don grew up in Bracebridge and started his journalism career here in 1971. In 2014 Don was elected as a District Councillor for Bracebridge and has been the council-appointed representative on the boards of the Muskoka Watershed Council, Muskoka Tourism and Bracebridge Chamber of Commerce. Don was also appointed by the Provincial Government as vice chair of the Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group.
In the community, Don is a past president of the Rotary Club of Bracebridge and has served on a number of boards including the Chamber of Commerce, the YWCA of Muskoka and the McConnell Foundation.
Working in the publishing industry for his entire career, Don has owned both newspapers and magazines in Muskoka. Most recently, he is the founder and current publisher of Unique Muskoka. Don and his wife, Susan, have also been active in downtown businesses and they currently operate the Unique Muskoka store. A two-time recipient of the Bracebridge Businessperson of the Year Award, Don was presented the Robert J. Boyer Award by the Muskoka Heritage Foundation in 2010.
HELEN THOMPSON, Realtor
Helen Thompson moved permanently from Toronto to Muskoka 15 years ago and is the Managing Partner/Broker at Forest Hill Real Estate Inc in Bracebridge. Her interest in natural sustainability and the environment came to the forefront through her work and exposure selling waterfront properties. The noticeable changes in lakefront water levels and lake water quality revealed that preserving the ecosystem through education, stewardship and accountability was necessary to protect the health of the watershed from further deterioration. She is a member of the Muskoka Watershed Council representing the Muskoka Real Estate community and a member of the IWM Community Round Table initiative.
KEVIN TRIMBLE, Consultant/Brandy Lake
DIRECTOR – Kevin Trimble is an ecological consultant with more than 25 years of experience assessing the impacts of many types of land use change in Ontario, most recently with Golder Associates in Barrie. Originally from an aquatic background, he integrates a number of terrestrial and aquatic disciplines with the water resource and groundwater sciences and has directed many types of restoration projects. After cottaging on Lake Simcoe his entire life, Kevin and his family relocated to Muskoka in 2014.
CAMERON von BRATT, Consultant
Biography not available.
GLENN CUNNINGTON, Manager of Watershed Programs
Glenn joined the District of Muskoka as its Manager of Watershed Programs in 2022. He has 11 years of academic training and over 20 years of applied experience. He holds a Ph.D. in Road Ecology, allowing him to provide practical solutions for managing and mitigating the impacts of infrastructure projects on the natural environment. In his previous role as a private consultant, Glenn provided expertise in wildlife surveys, identification and mapping of Species at Risk habitat, and provincial and federal permitting. His projects regularly included due diligence studies, literature and peer reviews, habitat assessments, and the development and assessment of mitigation measures for Species at Risk.
REBECCA WILLISON, Watershed Planning Technician
Rebecca has been with the Muskoka Watershed Council since 2002 and the District of Muskoka since 2003. She has a degree in Zoology and a certificate in Environmental Conservation from the University of Guelph, as well as a certificate in Restoration Ecology from Niagara College. Since moving to Muskoka in 2001, she has enjoyed hiking the many excellent trails found in the area. Through her work with the District and the Muskoka Watershed Council, Rebecca is active in promoting good stewardship practices across the watershed, with an emphasis on maintaining good water quality.
CHRISTY DOYLE, Director of Environmental & Watershed Programs
ALANA PEREZ, IWM Program Coordinator
CHRISTIANE MASTERS, Laboratory Assistant
GRAHAM GOOD, Manager of Geomatics
How to Join
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Muskoka Watershed Council, please review the Statement of Council Member Responsibilities and then contact us to express your interest.