The Friends of the Muskoka Watershed (FOTMW) and its citizen scientists are studying the effects road salt may have on lakes in the area.
“Volunteers are testing to see how much road salt or chloride is draining as runoff into some Gravenhurst area lakes,” explains Spencer McPherson, project lead.
According to studies done by FOTMW, Gravenhurst Bay in Lake Muskoka and Jevins Lake have “some of the highest chloride levels of the lakes tested in Muskoka.”
He explains the volunteers and citizen scientists from the Gull and Silver Lake Residents’ Associations and PROBUS Gravenhurst are working with FOTMW to figure out how road salt is impacting the Gravenhurst watershed area. According to McPherson, they’re using scientific water quality testing kits provided by FOTMW.
“As there are no natural local marine salt deposits in Muskoka, and the lakes with elevated chloride levels all have major winter-maintained highways in their immediate catchments, road salt is the only logical salt source,” writes Dr. Norman Yan in a report for FOTMW.
The pilot project is starting in Gravenhurst, however, McPherson is hopeful it can be rolled out across Muskoka by the fall.