Ontario Takes Next Steps to Protect Muskoka Watershed
Province Appoints Members to Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group
GRAVENHURST — Ontario is taking action to protect the Muskoka Watershed while supporting the local economy and a thriving recreational and tourist industry, as part of its Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan commitment to keep our water clean and healthy.
Today, Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and Norm Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka, announced the province's appointment of nine members to the Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group.
"I'm pleased to introduce the community and business leaders who will be working with the Province to help identify projects to protect the Muskoka Watershed and support economic growth in the region," said Minister Yurek. "The new advisory group will be a valuable resource for people and municipalities in the region that depend on effective watershed management as more development and flooding events occur."
In August 2018, Ontario announced a $5 million Muskoka Watershed Conservation and Management Initiative to better identify risks and issues facing the Muskoka Region. The government also committed to matching tax-deductible donations from people and businesses to the initiative, and any funding from other levels of government, up to a total of an additional $5 million.
The primary focus of the Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group will be to provide advice and recommendations to the minister to help protect and conserve the Muskoka Watershed and support the economic growth of the region.
Advisory group members have varied expertise in the fields of environmental protection and conservation, resource management, urban and land use planning, municipal government, natural or applied sciences, and finance within Ontario.
"The Muskoka Watershed is incredibly important to the health of our environment and our local economy," said MPP Miller. "I am pleased the newly appointed advisory group represents a mix of both year-round and seasonal residents and includes people from various backgrounds, skill sets and knowledge. I look forward to hearing what they recommend to protect the Muskoka Watershed for generations to come."
"I am very pleased to participate in this new initiative focused on promoting and protecting the health of the Muskoka Watershed. A number of environmental impacts underscore the need for a more comprehensive approach to watershed management, including recent and frequent flooding, increased development pressure, increasing nutrient loads and water quality concerns. This is a very timely initiative and I look forward to working with the many individuals and organizations who are already engaged in efforts relating to the environmental and economic well-being of the Muskoka Watershed," said Mardi Witzel, Chair, Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group.
Protecting and restoring watersheds in Ontario is part of our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan to ensure we balance a healthy environment and a healthy economy and that the province's pristine beauty and water resources can be enjoyed now and in the future.
- The Muskoka Watershed Region supports a tourism and recreational economy of approximately $400 million.
- The Muskoka River Watershed consists of 19 sub-watersheds, measuring about 62 km by 120 km, that discharges into the southeastern shores of Georgian Bay.
- Ontario’s more than 250,000 lakes, including the Great Lakes, contain about one fifth of the world’s fresh water.