We needed to move approximately 2.5 tonnes of blended, raw wood ash from our storage site at the Rosewarne transfer station in Bracebridge to our three test sites in Muskoka – three volunteer sugar bushes – so that the ash could be spread on the designated test plots. This was equivalent to about 22 garbage cans full of ash for each site, 66 cans in total.
Current Ontario regulations dictate that wood ash – at this time classified as a non-hazardous solid waste – must be transported from the storage site by an approved (read licensed) waste hauler.
Thanks to Nick Andrews, Director of Operations for Aces, for volunteering a roll-off bin truck along with John, a most capable and helpful driver, who were dispatched to move these cans to the 3 sites, all of which required superior driving skill for a truck of that size to access.
Friends of the Muskoka Watershed is sincerely grateful for the Aces team and its equipment for making these vital deliveries possible.
Truth be told, neither have we. But we are desperately looking for one. And maybe you have seen it.
You see, we really need a place to store and process approximately 100 tonnes of wood ash in preparation for our large-scale deployment in the third year of the ASHMuskoka program. And though we gratefully acknowledge the support which the District Municipality of Muskoka has provided by allowing us storage space at the Rosewarne transfer site in Bracebridge for our first year, it is not enough space for our next phase.
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If you are able to put up our request for assistance poster, that, too, would be appreciated. You may download a printable PDF version here:
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”.
Friends of the Muskoka Watershed is extremely pleased to announce that Neil Hutchinson has joined our Board of Directors.
Neil brings a broad environmental perspective, technical knowledge of water quality and practical experience to the FMW Board.
Neil completed an Honours B.Sc. in Ecology at the University of Guelph in 1978 (where Gord Miller was one of his instructors) and his Ph.D. in Zoology (Aquatic Toxicology) at Guelph in 1985. He came to the Dorset Research Centre of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment in 1984 and completed 2 1/2 years of post doctoral research on acid rain toxicology before gaining employment as a scientist with the Inland Lakes Program of the Ministry the of Environment (MOE, now MECP), working alongside Norm Yan, with a focus on nutrient management and policy development. He left MOE for the private sector in 1998 and worked for 11 years across the country as the Senior Aquatic Scientist at Gartner Lee Limited.
In November 2009 he formed Hutchinson Environmental Sciences Ltd. as a consulting firm specializing in aquatic science, technical facilitation and peer review services. He maintains 10 staff with offices in Bracebridge and Kitchener, ON and his clients include municipal, provincial and federal governments and Boards, First Nations, Inuit Organizations and private sector developers, industry and mining companies. His work spans the country from Muskoka to Nunavut and includes 20 years advising the District of Muskoka on their Lake System Health Program. His major career highlight was being introduced as “The Mick Jagger of Lake Management” several years back.
Neil has served on the Board of the Muskoka Heritage Foundation, served three, three-year terms as a reviewer of research and scholarship applications for NSERC, was a founding member of the Muskoka Watershed Council, is Chair of the Science Committee for Georgian Bay Forever and a member of the Rotary Club of Bracebridge.
When not at work, Neil lives on the shore of a small lake outside of Bracebridge, in a home which he shares with his wife Barb (their three daughters have all left Muskoka), a happy dog and too many blackflies in June. Hobbies include making music (recording and performing his original folk songs and playing flute in the Muskoka Concert Band), canoeing, kayaking, skiing and sailing.