With our extensive natural areas and numerous lakes and waterways, Muskoka is rich in natural capital, which is vital to our economy and the quality of our lives. Effective management can sustain that capital to the maximum extent possible while permitting the development required to house our population and sustain our economy.
This natural capital – the soils, forests, grasslands, wetlands – also plays a role in determining the flow of water into streams, rivers and lakes. However, we lack a detailed understanding of how natural capital affects flow from place to place across our watershed, and how climate change may modify these regulating processes.
MWC recommends that an advanced form of integrated watershed management (IWM) be implemented in Muskoka, ultimately to drive all aspects of environmental management and land-use planning. Recognizing the strong dependence of the economy and community on a high quality environment, IWM can be designed to meet the needs and goals of every business owner, wage earner, property owner and visitor in the watershed. By integrating socio-economic criteria with environmental management, IWM is intended to create more sustainable communities.
Over the past two years, MWC has produced a number of resources discussing IWM and its application in Muskoka.
- Restoring Muskoka shorelines and integrated watershed management
- Texas Freeze and Muskoka Flooding: What We Can Learn From Recent Events Down South
- Current planning is not doing enough to protect the Muskoka River Watershed
- Drawdown Ecology – why can’t we just lower the lakes?
- An integrated solution for flooding, climate action and economic prosperity
- Flooding and the elephant in our Muskoka watershed
- Thinking Like A Watershed
- What Covid-19 Teaches Us About Dealing with Climate Change and Development Pressure
- Watershed Council Makes a Case for Integrated Watershed Management
- How important is that wetland?
The Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group (MWAG) submitted an interim report on issues and priorities for protecting the watershed and supporting the local economy to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP). Several of the recommendations relate to IWM.
- Read the Interim Report at https://www.ontario.ca/page/advisory-group-report-protecting-muskoka-river-watershed.
- Read MWC’s submission to MWAG at https://www.muskokawatershed.org/blog/submission-to-mwag/.
- Read the District of Muskoka’s report on Provincial Funding for Watershed Initiatives (15 March 2021) at https://muskoka.civicweb.net/filepro/document/36892/Report%206(2021)-5%20-%20Watershed%20Initiatives.pdf.
- Effective Watershed Planning by Debra Martin Downs
- Integrated Watershed Management: Pitfalls, Prospects, and Perspective by Barb Veale
- The Watershed as an Ecological Unit: Creating Context for Rational Management by Jack G. Imhof
- Watershed Management: Why not manage water as part of an ecosystem? by Kevin Trimble & Richard Lammers
- Muskoka River Water Management Plan (Muskoka Water Web)
- Integrated Watershed Management Plan for the Peace and Slave Watersheds (March 2018)
- A Quick Guide to Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters – US Environmental Protection Agency
- Getting in Step: Engaging Stakeholders in Your Watershed – US Environmental Protection Agency
- Designing flow regimes to support entire river ecosystems by Jonathan D Tonkin, Julian D Olden, David M Merritt, Lindsay V Reynolds, Jane S Rogosch, and David A Lytle
- Implementing integrated water management: illustrations from the Grand River watershed by Barbara Veale & Sandra Cooke
- Integrated Water Resources Management in Canada: the experience of watershed agencies by Dan Shrubsole, Dan Walters, Barbara Veale & Bruce Mitchell
- Science-based, stakeholder-inclusive and participatory conservation planning helps reverse the decline of threatened species by C.M. Lees, A. Rutschmann, A.W. Santure, and J.R. Beggs
- Rethinking how the Muskoka River watershed is managed, particularly with more flood events anticipated (Huntsville Doppler, 9 April 2021)
- Water levels – One year later (Unique Muskoka, 18 May 2020)
- Can the MNRF control major flooding? (Huntsville Doppler, 29 April 2019)
- Understanding Muskoka’s Watershed (Unique Muskoka, 26 April 2019)