How Does a Changing Climate Impact Our Watershed?
The 2018 Muskoka Watershed Report Card produced by the Muskoka Watershed Council features 8 different indicators of watershed health. Climate Change is one of these indicators, categorized as a threat indicator rather than a health indicator.
Impacts of climate change such as changing patterns of precipitation, increase in air and water temperatures, and water level changes have been observed in the Muskoka Watershed. Two key measurements being taken in the Muskoka region to indicate climate change are days of ice coverage and surface water temperature. Data that has been collected indicates an increase in surface water temperature and a decrease in days of ice coverage on our lakes due to warming temperatures.
Climate change threatens the Muskoka Watershed because it alters the frequency and severity of disturbances such as drought, flood, fire, windfall, insect outbreak and disease, while also pushing the forest into a climatic regime that will favour growth to a different degree of each tree species. Growth rates will be reduced, reproductive success will be lowered and susceptibility to disease and pests will be heightened in tree species. Climate change will also pose an issue for homeowners who rely on wells for domestic water supply.
To learn more about how climate change impacts the Muskoka Watershed and what you can do to reduce the effects of climate change, check out the 2018 Muskoka Watershed Report Card at https://www.muskokawatershed.org/.