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 Operating Procedures.
Chair - GEOFF ROSS, Skeleton Lake Association
Vice-Chair - KAREN MAXWELL, McKay Lake Association
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – Karen Maxwell sits on MWC as a representative from the McKay Lake Cottagers’ Association. She has been a cottager on McKay Lake for over 29 years and more recently became a full-time resident. As co-president of her lake association, Karen manages, communicates and advances various environmental programs and initiatives for her lake.
Karen grew up cottaging on Georgian Bay where she developed a deep love of the water. This love brought her to Muskoka and its natural rocks, forests, small bodies of water and hidden environmental gems that she works hard to protect. Volunteering with MWC is Karen’s way of staying connected to her mother, an Information/Education Officer for the Credit Valley Conservation Authority for almost 30 years, and protecting lake health for the next many generations to come.
Past-Chair - KEVIN TRIMBLE, Community/Brandy Lake
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – 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.
NANCY ALCOCK, District of Muskoka/Town of Huntsville
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – 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.
LISA BARRY, Township of Algonquin Highlands
Lisa Barry is a councillor in the Township of Algonquin Highlands, currently in her third consecutive term of council. Lisa is the current chair of the Environment and Stewardship committee and has been a huge champion in creating an open dialogue with the three other county Environment committees. Lisa is an environmentalist at heart and happy to be part of the Muskoka Watershed Council representing her municipality.
SANDY CAIRNS, Town of Gravenhurst
Biography not available.
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.
MARGARET CASEY, Community - Lake of Bays
As a seasonal resident on Lake of Bays for over half a century, Margaret Casey has been active with many local organizations and initiatives including the Lake of Bays Association, the Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation, the Muskoka River Water Management Plan PAC and various advisory committees to the Township of Lake of Bays. She was a District Councillor from 2003 to 2010. She and her husband have 4 sons who also share their passion for Muskoka’s clean water and forested landscapes. In addition to cross country skiing, kayaking and canoeing, she is also involved with the Don Watershed Regeneration Council and the Ontario Forestry Association from her home in Toronto.
JOHN COOPER, Community - Gravenhurst
Biography not available.
CHRIS 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.
LOUISE CRAGG, Community - Muskoka Lakes
Louise Cragg grew up in Toronto cottaging on Lake Simcoe but has now been in Muskoka for more than 50 years. Louise and her husband Chris live in a century cottage on Lake Muskoka. They have a daughter and two sons in Guelph, Toronto and Stockholm Sweden and 2 grandchildren. Louise has an undergraduate degree in Math and Computer Science from Waterloo and a MBA from York. She worked in the high tech area for 35 years and was a Vice President of Information Technology for a number of billion dollar companies in the Toronto area for more than 20 years. She is now retired and spends half time in Muskoka and the rest as a “snowbird” in Florida. She is a past president and Environment Chair of the Muskoka Ratepayers. Louise is a member of Watershed Council and is an active team leader with the MLA Water Quality program. Louise places a very high importance on keeping the environment clean in Muskoka particularly the lakes. She is an avid golfer, gardener, world traveler and antique boater.
ALLEN EDWARDS, District of Muskoka/Township of Muskoka Lakes
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – Biography not available.
JO-ANNE GOODWIN, Community - Muskoka Lakes
Biography coming soon!
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, Consultant
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.
CAROLINE KONARZEWSKI, Lake of Bays Association
Caroline Konarzewski is a retired educator. She graduated from the University of Montreal and is a Primary Education Specialist. Over the course of her teaching career she taught in the Montreal area and later in the Toronto area before retiring to Lake of Bays where she now lives fulltime. After retiring to Muskoka ,Caroline joined the Lake of Bays Association as a volunteer in 2009 and became involved with the FrogWatch program, a division of the Toronto Zoo Adopt-A-Pond Program. Caroline gives workshops in the community and in elementary schools on the identification of Muskoka’s amphibian population. She encourages people to become more aware of the value of wetlands and to become active “Frog Watchers”. In this presentation you will learn how to identify frogs that you have heard and/or seen and how you can report your findings to the Toronto Zoo Adopt-A-Pond FrogWatch and other citizen scientist programs. Caroline is presently the Environment Chair for the Lake of Bays Association.
RICHARD LAMMERS, Community - Bracebridge
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 finishing the last year of her degree at Nipissing University. She has a background in environmental science, having completed her environmental technician diploma at Canadore College. 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
CHAIR of the WORKING GROUP – Biography not available.
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, Seguin Township
BOARD OF DIRECTORS – Daryle and his wife own a cottage on Otter Lake just south of Parry Sound. They purchased the cottage in 1998 after arriving back to Canada from living in Luxembourg and now split their time between Toronto and Otter Lake. While they can only drive in to their cottage during the three seasons, they enjoy coming up in the winter, first by foot, then by snowshoe, by snowmobile, and lastly by car in 2020 when they had their road plowed. According to Daryle, winter at Otter Lake is 100% better than in the summer even with the challenges: less people, less noise and you get a better sense on life with the fire burning inside. When you go out and breath-in, when it is cold, your nostrils stick together, tobogganing, skating on the lake and playing in the snow – how Canadian.
Daryle sat on the Otter Lake Ratepayers’ Association’s Board from 2014 to 2018 as its treasurer and membership director in 2017 and 2018. In Fall 2018, he was elected as a municipal councillor with the Township of Seguin. He also sits on his local cottage road association as the secretary and treasurer and (as a founding member) had many challenges in that role that he did not appreciate until stepping into an issue – he has learned a lot about practical road issues to write a book.
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 continues to spend more time at the cottage except for 2020 when COVID-19 restricted his travel north (and as a municipal councillor, you need to lead by example). While he enjoys spending time with friends and family at the cottage, what he most likes to do is work on his hobbies and build, renovate and the like at the cottage to try and improve things for his family and hopefully his daughter’s family down the road. He would like to retire sooner rather than later so he can move permanently north to the West Parry Sound area, but he will put that on his cottage goal list, so he has something to reach for over the next few years.
KATE MONK, Explorers' Edge
Biography coming soon!
DAVID PARSONS, Ril Lake Association
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 2 sailboats that have been on the lake since the 1960’s.
MICHAEL PEPPARD, District of Muskoka/Township of Lake of Bays
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – 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.
AARON RUSAK, Muskoka Conservancy
Aaron Rusak is the Land Stewardship Coordinator with Muskoka Conservancy. The Conservancy is a Muskoka-based land trust, which aims to protect natural areas in Muskoka.
PETER SALE, Academia
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – 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.
ANDREW STRUTHERS, Town of Bracebridge
Biography not available.
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.
PAUL WIANCKO, District of Muskoka/Township of Georgian Bay
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – Paul Wiancko has a degree in Aquatic Biology from the University of Guelph and a degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Toronto. Following a brief time as an environmental consultant, Paul spent most of his career with Ontario Hydro/Ontario Power Generation in various environmental positions for fossil and nuclear stations, including fisheries, radiological emissions and zebra mussels, before retiring in 2002. A long time cottager on Six Mile Lake, Paul is involved in the Six Mile Lake Cottagers’ Association, Baxter Snow Riders, and the Southeast Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce. Paul was a Township of Georgian Bay councillor from 2003-2006 and is currently serving as a councillor for Georgian Bay as well as the District of Muskoka.
SAMANTHA HASTINGS, Commissioner of Community and Planning Services
Biography coming soon!
CHRISTY DOYLE, Director of Environmental & Watershed Programs
Christy Doyle joined the District of Muskoka as its Director of Environmental and Watershed Programs in 2015. Since then, the District’s environmental portfolio has expanded to include floodplain mapping, climate change initiatives, integrated watershed management approaches, and geomatics initiatives (e.g., Muskoka GeoHub).
Prior to her role with the District, Christy served as a Senior Advisor with the Province of Ontario within various Ministries (including the Ministries of Municipal Affairs, Energy and Infrastructure) and she has also held public and private planning positions within Muskoka and internationally. Christy is a registered a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners and the Ontario Professional Planners Institute and she holds environmental degrees from the University of British Columbia (BA) and York University (MES).
REBECCA WILLISON, Watershed Planning Technician
Biography coming soon!