Recently, Water Canada, a magazine that is well respected for their content about Canada’s most important natural resource, published an article about the calcium decline issue in fresh water lakes around the world. They referenced an article posted in July of this year in Scientific Reports, a journal that publishes research from all areas of the natural and clinical sciences, entitled Widespread diminishing anthropogenic effects on calcium in freshwaters. This article had input from 29 scientists from around the world with inclusion from two local scientists, Drs. Jim Rusak and Andrew Paterson, who are employed by the MECP (Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks) in Dorset, Ontario. The study based its findings on 440,599 water samples from 43,184 inland water sites from 57 countries, which included data from some Muskoka lakes.
The Water Canada article, Declining Calcium Levels in Freshwater Lakes Have Negative Impacts on Some Species, highlights the fact that acid rain is the main cause of the global issue of calcium decline in lakes and that, as acid rain is improving there is less control of lake calcium levels by acid rain and more control by the natural historical regulator, carbonate chemistry.
Located in Muskoka, Friends of the Muskoka Watershed is creating Canada’s first N.I.W.A (non-industrial wood ash) recycling project that is engineered to reverse the calcium decline issue in the local forests and lakes. The ASHMuskoka project relies heavily on a strong relationship with the community (for supplying 100 tonnes of wood ash by the third year), local municipalities and the provincial government (for logistics, and support), and local experts in the field of acid rain, climate change and environmental issues.
Calcium decline is affecting half the lakes in Muskoka, so we look forward to working with our community to help resolve this problem using residential wood ash, turning a waste into a winDr. Norman Yan
Part of building strong relationships is creating a 13 member Advisory Committee, for ASHMuskoka, comprising of key community leaders, from education to lake association members to local members of government and also includes Dr. Rusak, one of the scientists that provided findings to the above study on calcium decline.
Part of the ASHMuskoka project involves helping other communities roll out their own wood ash recycling programs in communities that, like Muskoka, were impacted by acid rain and calcium decline.
Dr. Norman Yan, Chair of Friends of Muskoka Watershed, spearheaded the ASHMuskoka project, and noted that “Calcium decline is affecting half the lakes in Muskoka, so we look forward to working with our community to help resolve this problem using residential wood ash, turning a waste into a win”.