I snapped a picture of this Fisher (Martes pennanti) stealing my baseball glove! I chased this stocky weasel thinking it would drop the glove, but Fishers are so strong I never saw the glove again. Fishers are carnivorous but unlike their name) don't catch or eat fish. They may have been named by early Dutch settlers after the European Polecat known as the "Fitchet." Fishers are about the only successful predators of the Porcupine. So, does anybody have any ideas why the Fisher wanted the baseball glove?
Contaminated Drinking Water
There is growing concern about contaminated drinking water from excreted drugs. Estrogen from the Birth Control Pill for example, is found in municipal sewage and inevitably, our watershed. These pharmaceuticals are having an impact on wildlife as reported in a CBC article by Aly Thomson called Birth Control Pill Threatens Fish Populations. The article describes an experiment that exposed Fathead Minnows to small amounts of Estrogen. The results showed sudden crashes in the minnow's population with ecosystem implications. Most disturbing was that the male fish started to produce eggs after Estrogen exposure. This article suggests that the problem of drugs in our waterways can be solved with better wastewater treatment. Currently, Huntsville is in the process of upgrading its sewage treatment plant. Depending on which process variation is adopted, our plant could have the potential to filter or prevent Estrogen and other pharmaceuticals from entering our waterways and ultimately our drinking water. The article can be found here http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/birth-control-pill-threatens-fish-populations-1.2796897 For more information on Huntsville's wastewater treatment facilities and upgrades see District of Muskoka's website http://www.muskoka.on.ca/content/water-and-sewer
Bring your tree questions and stories to the Woodlands and Wildlife Forest Festival hosted by the Muskoka Conservancy and Westwind Forest Stewardship on Friday November 14, 2014. The $50 registration fee ($30 for students) covers a full day of workshops and presentations on topics such as, wildlife friendly forestry, species at risk, forest health, invasive species, and living with deer. The event will take place at the Active Living Centre, 20 Park Dr. in Huntsville. The keynote speaker is Michael Runtz, and lunch is included. Register online or by phone - firstname.lastname@example.org (705)645-7393 ext.200. Don't miss it!
Black and Orange Beetle
A lot of insects that feed on Milkweed are black and orange. I found one today I had not seen before and I am guessing it is toxic to predators (or at least tastes yucky) with those bright warning colours. The Milkweed Leaf Beetle (Labidomera clivicollis) feeds on Swamp and Common Milkweed and prior to leaf meals, clips the side veins to drain some of the sticky sap. This gorgeous beetle is about a centimetre long with a green thorax and black and orange elytra (which can vary considerably).
Muskoka Summit on the Environment presented Environment vs. Economy:
Resolving the Dichotomy on May 8-9 2014 and although I only attended one of the two days, I can report it was exceedingly successful. Kudos to the organizers for tackling one of the most challenging dichotomies we face as a species – and one we don’t actively discuss because it seems so impossible to solve. Yet, the presenters at the conference spoke about this topic with confidence when clarifying problems (with world class expertise) and offered the most creative and contemporary solutions that exist today.
The conference opened with a five-minute video about Muskoka and the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed (see http://www.muskokawatershed.org/fmw1/about-fmw/) and an original song performed by two high school students.
Robert Sandford, one of Canada’s most respected water policy experts from the University of Saskatchewan, creatively shared the social, economic, and political Consequences of Hydro-climatic Change. He is the author of Cold Matters-The State and Fate of Canada’s Fresh Water.
Elena Bennet from McGill University spoke about agricultural landscapes and how they can provide us with things that we need called- ecosystem services. She offered a new way of looking at landscape planning, while interacting with biodiversity and multiple ecosystem services to meet the needs of a growing global population.
Another researcher from the University of British Columbia whose important work also contributes to policy and decision-making is Kai Chan (see http://chanslab.ires.ubc.ca/people/chan/). He argues the way humans currently use resources not only results in environmental problems but economic ones too. He offered creative economics for mitigating problems “upstream” by investing and offsetting (see http://www.offsetters.ca/).
The Keynote speaker at the conference was renown artist Robert Bateman. He pointed out that in 1930, there were 2 billion people on the Earth. Now there are 7 billion. It took 500,000 years for the first billion and 13 years for the last billion. His message was clear – the planet cannot sustain any more rapid growth. Bateman urged us that this does not mean a negative lifestyle outcome. Changes needed are based more on a philosophical shift. It means simpler, more meaningful lives connected with nature and closer to home. Mr. Bateman donated thousands of dollars worth of his art in support of the MSE Research Grant.
There were many other speakers at the conference the following day who I did not get to hear, however, presentations from the conference will be posted on the District of Muskoka Watershed Council’s website in the next few months. Please see - http://www.muskokawatershed.org/
In the below download file please find the Notice of Public Information Centre (PIC #2) for the Mountview Wastewater Treatment Plant and Huntsville Sewage Works Upgrades Class Environmental Assessment. PIC #2 will be held on Tuesday, April 15th in the Town of Huntsville at the Active Living Centre of the Canada Summit Centre.
Additional project information can be found at the District Municipality of Muskoka website:
Working Around Water...
The Muskoka Conservancy, based out of Bracebridge, hosted a symposium on Wednesday March 26, 2014 called “Working Around Water.” Contractors, builders, landscapers, architects, lake associations, and many others were in attendance to hear the latest technologies and eco-intelligent solutions related to working near or along the shoreline. Presenters shared insight on topics such as erosion control, wildflower and grass ecology, and biofilter septic technology. The Ministry of Natural Resources, The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and a panel of Municipal government representatives discussed the work permit process and associated rules and regulations. The symposium created a wonderful opportunity to link appropriate groups of people for sharing knowledge and open dialogue. If you are looking for help when working around your waterfront, a business registry was created from the participant list and will be available on the Muskoka Conservancy’s website (we will try to post it here also). If you would like more details, or have any questions about the symposium, contact the Nature Conservancy or Lake Vernon Association’s Environmental Committee – email@example.com
This summer, the WCE is developing a centre of excellence. The focus of the centre is to contribute to business development for entrepreneurs. A second lab will be built to provide services for companies to develop and/or test products related to clean water technologies such as domestic septic treatment. Developing technologies such as these will contribute to maintaining the health of the Muskoka watershed and will promote business opportunities for the region. The new lab will also help expand the lake monitoring program (such as heavy metal testing). If anyone from the Lake Vernon Association is keen to help out with funding, please contact Dr. Colin Yates at (226-220-0133).
Shoreline Related Workshops
Grab your calendar!
The Muskoka Conservancy's Spring Shoreline Workshops are here! These all run in the evenings from 7pm till 9pm.
Nutrient Loading Tuesday, March 18 in Bracebridge
Canada Geese Wednesday, April 2 in Gravenhurst
Flooding and Naturalization Wednesday, April 9 in Huntsville
Flooding and Naturalization Tuesday, May 6 in Gravenhurst
Erosion Thursday, April 24 in Bracebridge
Attracting Wildlife Wednesday, May 21 in Huntsville
All workshops are free but they fill up fast so pre-registration is recommended. Call (705) 645-7393 ext. 200 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot and for details on workshop locations.
The Muskoka Conservancy is hosting a separate professional development opportunity called "Working Around Water" on Wednesday, March 26 from 9am-4pm. Topics will include erosion control, permitting & planning, septic technology & site planning, and landscaping. Cost is $50. Call (705) 645-7393 ext. 200 or e-mail email@example.com to register.