Ril Lake & The TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup



Hello Ril Laker’s:


The following is a short description to familiarize you with this program taken directly from the Vancouver Aquarium website link to the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup:


“The TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is one of the largest conservation initiatives of the Vancouver Aquarium.  What started 15 years ago as a small beach cleanup by four Vancouver Aquarium employees has now grown into the second largest cleanup in the world (The U.S. is in first place - for now!). Powered by Canadians, this program allows people from all regions and all walks of life to make a positive difference to their environment. Last year alone, over 52,000 Canadians registered to clean up 1,240 shorelines removing 87,489 kg of harmful shoreline litter. The Vancouver Aquarium, with the help of our tremendous sponsor, TD, work every year to ensure that we're reaching as many communities as possible, but we don't do it alone.”

Our latest initiative has been completed!! On Saturday September 20, 2008 a group of volunteers including, Bob McAuslan, Judy Felton, Courtney,Felton, Andrew Ambrocichuk, Dianne & Alan More, Warren Cook and myself set out at 10:00 am to scour the culverts and inlets around Ril Lake to “pick up trash”. We broke into two groups with one group cleaning the ditches while the other group cleaned the culverts, shorelines and inlets. We started at the east end of the lake and worked our way around picking up items such as building materials, culvert joiners, pop cans, plastic water bottles, rope, plastic bags, etcetera.


We separated the items into recyclable, garbage, building materials and as the Baysville Lion’s Club has a bin at the Landfill for beer bottles, we donated all of the beer bottles/cans to them.



We’re hoping to make this an annual event an d if anyone would like to see more on this wonderful Canadian project, please clink the link


Thanks to all the volunteers and to Warren and Alan who took the garbage to the dump the next day!!! Hope to see you there next year and please check out the pictures!



Casey Cook – October 1, 2008



Ril Lake, “One of 41 Lakes on Alert that are Over Threshold on Phosphorous”


It was our pleasure to welcome Rebecca Crockford of the Muskoka Watershed Council, at the Ril Lake Meeting held on Sunday August 5/07 at the Seniors Centre in Baysville. Rebecca presented a very informative and in-depth synopsis of the steps the District, Watershed Council & the Muskoka Heritage Foundation are using to approach issues of water quality. One of the most significant points for us is that Ril Lake is one of 41 Lakes in Muskoka on alert for elevated Phosphorous levels. We have started several projects to try to assist in getting this problem under control as follows:


  • Ø “Docktalk Program”
  • Ø Benthic Testing    
  • Ø Terrestrial Plot    
  • Ø “Adopt A Pond” – Frog Watch & Turtle Tally


I will be continuing to research ways to keep Ril Lake healthy and hope that through these information sheets and by “word of mouth” we are able to inform all of the Ril Lakers the importance of becoming involved in the renaturalization of our lake and ways to get the phosphorous levels under control.


Thank you and please do not hesitate to call or email if you have any questions at:

(705) 767-2215          




Water Quality Update – By: Casey Cook (705) 767-2215


On Tuesday September 19, 2006, I met with Judi Brouse, Director of Watershed Programs at the Muskoka Heritage Foundation to discuss the water quality on Ril Lake. The meeting was extremely informative and very positive.


There was some concern at the Ril Lake meetings about the “over threshold” quality of the water.   This designation refers to the amount of phosphorus in the lake. The testing of the phosphorus has been taken each spring since 1980 by the District of Muskoka. There are two graphs on the District website (, one that shows our readings and one that explains each section. There are no definite reasons for the variance in the phosphorus readings, however by adding different types of monitoring, after a period of time we will be able to compile more information. An example of another type of testing is Benthic monitoring which is a study of the bugs that live in the lakes and form the base of the aquatic food chain.


The following is a simplified idea of how the numbers work:

- Below 10.0 micrograms/litre --- oligotrophic (unenriched) (provincial standards for Ril Lake)

- Between: 11 & 20 --- mesotrophic (moderately enriched)                   

- Over 20 --- eutrophic (enriched)                                                            

- Ril Lake At Present:  Between: 9.0 and 10.1                                         

- Desirable phosphorus range: Between: 5.5 & 8.25

(as defined through the District Lake System Health Program)     



Phosphorus is the nutrient that controls algae. A certain amount of phosphorus is necessary to keep lakes healthy and in keeping with most things, too much or too little is not healthy.   Natural Phosphorus enters a lake through run-off from the surrounding land, sediment and precipitation. Human sources come from runoff, septic seepage, fertilizers, altering shorelines and agricultural runoff. The background level for phosphorus is the amount of phosphorus from natural sources assuming that there is no development on a lake. The threshold concentration is equal to the background level of phosphorus plus 50%. In Muskoka, this standard is more responsive than the provincial standard and ensures that lake water quality is protected to a high level.


If the 10 year average concentration of phosphorus is greater than the threshold value, then actions should be taken to reduce the loading. A lake will be “de-listed” as over-threshold after the District has recorded 3 consecutive measurements below the threshold value. Each lake has its own equilibrium and this varies on size, depth, and type of shorelines. Another factor influencing change on our lakes is climate change. Although we cannot change the climate, we are able to do certain things to keep a healthy level.


On Friday September 22, 2006 my brother Warren, his son Alex and I went out and did a Secchi depth testing and will do one or two more before the season is over. I will be meeting with Judi again to discuss the readings and will pass this on to the Association. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Judi for her help and look forward to meeting with her again. There are several brochures pertaining to water and environment available at the Muskoka Heritage Foundation which is located on Taylor Road just behind the Muskoka Cottage Brewery. If there are any questions please do not hesitate to call or email me and I will endeavour to obtain answers for you.                                                                                                                  

                                 “Dock Talk Program”


Written By: Casey Cook


Hello. I would like to start by thanking our Guests: Barbara King, Federation of Ontario Cottagers Association (FOCA); Judi Brouse, Director, Watershed Council; and Wil Brunner, Biological Monitoring Technician for the District of Muskoka; and of course all of the Ril Laker’s that attended our meeting.


We had the pleasure of the above noted people at Ril Lake to introduce us to FOCA’s “Dock Talk Program” which is a province wide stewardship community outreach program to protect our shorelines, lakes and water quality.

Barbara began the meeting by explaining the objectives and giving us information and tips as to how to introduce ideas and methods to keep the shoreline and property healthy which in turn will assist in keeping our water quality healthy. This included updates on septic information and new products that are available to lengthen the life of a system, for example: Effluent filters:   Septic tanks are designed to retain solids that accumulate over time. Some of these solids are byproducts of the waste treatment process, while others are materials that may not be capable of being processed, such as human hair. It is important that the solids are retained in the septic tank and not released to the drain field. Excessive discharge of solids to the drain field can cause it to plug and lose efficiency in treatment and dispersal of the normal liquid flow. If the problem persists, the drain field may need to be replaced. Septic tank effluent filters provide a relatively inexpensive means of preventing solids discharge. They are usually installed at the outlet of the septic tank, collecting solids that may be discharged from the tank. Solid accumulation in the filter will cause poor performance of the septic tank, but creates a problem that is far easier and less expensive to clean and maintain than solids accumulation in the drain field. Due to build up on the filter, they will need to be cleaned yearly. This filter runs anywhere from $100 to $200 plus installation. You can probably give a quick call to your local septic installer for more info on pricing.

We visited three properties where Barbara explained the importance of proper run-off and ways to ensure that the watershed run-off is being properly filtered before reaching the lake.   Again, there are several inexpensive ways to approach this, an example being: for steep driveways, a small trench can be dug on an angle and lined with wood which leads to the forested area so that water is channeled to where it can filter through the ground. Another is to ensure that eaves-troughs are not draining onto your septic area but have extensions, again to channel the water to the forest for proper filtration. Judi, Wil & Barbara contributed to the shoreline renaturalization by explaining several indigenous plants, shrubs & trees available that act as filters and help prevent erosion.

This program is a very important step ensuring our waterfront properties are kept healthy and maintain the aquatic life required to sustain it.

I have had some wonderful feedback on the day and again would like to thank our guest speakers as well as all attendees.

We will be forwarding this information on to our Association Members at our meetings and the website will continue to provide important links to answer any questions that may arise.