Benthic Monitoring

The Benthic Monitoring Programs is organized through the District Municipality of Muskoka in conjunction with the Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network Protocol (OBBN) at the Dorset Environmental Science Centre.


A heartfelt THANKS! goes to our Volunteer's who continue to attend this fun and informative initiative each year.  What started as a small group has now grown to include several people, some who return each year to participate.


The term benthic simply means "on the bottom".  Macroinvertebrates are small bugs living on the bottom of a waterbody, visible to the naked eye.  By collecting, studying and monitoring these small creatures over a period of time, a better understanding can be established as to the health of the water.  Over time, these "indicator species" can show if there are pollutants or stressors if they become absent, or their numbers decrease.  Some of the bugs are more tollerant to pollutants while others are less tolerant. (Jones C, et al, 2004)


There are 27 key species and not all will be found in a specific waterbody.  Some are stream dwellers while others are more comfortable in a lake setting.


On Ril Lake, we will establish a set of eight to ten reference sites (See Map Below) which are chosen with minimal human impact.  This will allow for the best possible conditions for the bugs to live and give us an idea of what species we have and by their numbers, indicate water health.


Please click on the PDF files below for a summary of our data collected to date.


More information can be found at the Muskoka Water Web at:

Follow "Biological Monitoring Data" on the left-hand side of the page.


By:  Casey Cook, EMT,ET


(Jones, C. K.M. Somers, B. Craig, and T. Reynoldson. 2004. Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network Protocol Manual, Version 1.0. Ontario Ministry of Environment.)


Benthic Monitoring Reports

Adobe Acrobat Document 207.7 KB
Adobe Acrobat Document 393.1 KB
Adobe Acrobat Document 473.2 KB