A healthy and vibrant watershed is the foundation of life and livelihood in Muskoka.
The Friends of the Muskoka Watershed (FMW) is an incorporated non-profit organization which promotes the protection, wise management, and where necessary, the remediation of Muskoka lakes and watersheds by fostering applied research to improve indicators of watershed condition, diagnostic research to identify threats to watershed health, strategic research to underpin science-based management, monitoring and reporting of watershed status and trends, and two-way communication between Muskoka residents and policy makers.
FMW is working to develop and build the capacity for innovative, action-oriented freshwater research and remediation in Muskoka through the creation, construction, and operation of the Muskoka Limnology Institute and the Institute’s premiere program, Environment Care.
FMW also partners with and provides funding to like-minded organizations for the wise management, sustainability, and environmental health of our Muskoka watersheds, thereby helping to ensure that the Muskoka we have continues to be the Muskoka we love.
Our current efforts include:
- Freshwater environmental research – Environment Care, The Muskoka Limnology Institute, and the Muskoka Watershed Ecological Observation Network (MWEON)
- Membership – that’s the “Friends” in Friends of the Muskoka Watershed
- Fundraising for FMW and partner programs and projects – this includes engaging with patrons, benefactors and sponsors
- Partner and volunteer management
- Program and project management
- Outreach activities, community engagement and education
We are guided in all that we do by our Philosophy and Roadmap, the full text of which is available here.
Essentially, our philosophy says that we believe that the work needed for wise management of our Muskoka watersheds includes:
- Assessment – ongoing research and monitoring of Muskoka watersheds to select appropriate environmental indicators that reflect what we value, detect changes in or from baseline conditions and any emerging threats,
- Outreach – ongoing two-way communication with Muskoka residents and policy makers to solicit input on what residents value about our watersheds, to seek knowledge on what trends in environmental condition they perceive and share with them the knowledge of what trends environmental scientists have seen, to solicit feedback on whether or not they are content with current conditions, and, finally, to solicit advice on and support for preferred solutions,
- Evaluation – ongoing tracking of the status and trends of all environmental threats that are of concern to the public and of remedial actions taken to fix the problems,
- Diagnosis – research to understand the causes of environmental deterioration or threats of deterioration, where the cause-effect linkages are not yet understood
- Action – ongoing action to prevent future problems from becoming serious, to remediate problems that are deemed serious, and to conduct follow-up monitoring to determine the success of restorative interventions.
In order to accomplish this, our strategies are such that:
- We seek to enlarge the individual and corporate membership base in the FMW to increase our resources, knowledge and influence base, and ensure our members understand how our work will enhance the value they derive from the watersheds of Muskoka.
- We form partnerships and working relationships with other like-minded organisations and agencies to foster the needed work. These include other environmental NGOs (e.g., the Muskoka Conservancy, and the Muskoka Lakes Association), other like-minded non-environmental NGO’s (e.g., the Lakeland Association of Realtors and the Muskoka Discovery Centre), and government agencies such as the District Municipality of Muskoka and MOECC’s Dorset Environmental Science Centre.
- We are building the capacity for local, solutions-oriented freshwater environmental research through the creation, construction, and operation of the Muskoka Limnology Institute.
- We mobilize the knowledge acquired to where it can achieve the greatest benefits. We communicate broadly with our members, the public, academics, policy makers and the media using both traditional and newer electronic means to increase awareness of threats to and the condition of Muskoka watersheds. Such communication includes, but is not limited to, newsletters, regular Muskoka environmental report cards, position papers on particular environmental issues or threats, lectures to the public, support for the Muskoka Summit of the Environment, preparation of fact sheets, documents summarizing best management practices for individual threats, and integrative handbooks targeting specific user groups.
- We raise the funds needed to increase the research conducted to document environmental condition in Muskoka, and to diagnose the causes of local environmental deterioration,
- Finally, we advocate for policy changes to protect the Muskoka environment and foster actual interventions to remove documented environmental threats where we can.
We are sincerely grateful for the generosity and commitment of all of our members and donors. Thank you.