Environmental Monitoring

Ril Lake has been involved in several forms of environmental monitoring over the years. Starting with Mr. Ken Johns in the early 1970’s, who was seen by many as he collected water samples, taking Secchi depth measurements which is a method to measure the water depth clarity, ultimately sending his findings to the Dorset Environmental Science Centre.


Environmental monitoring is the collection and study of data from many sources such as wildlife, air, water and soil to follow changes and determine if there are trends over time. This information is important to understand how we can best maintain a healthy biodiversity and minimize negative impacts related to human activities. (Environment Canada, 2010)


As residents of Muskoka, we are fortunate to live in a region where the Dorset Environmental Science Centre (DESC) has been conducting environmental monitoring and reporting since the mid 1970’s in partnership with Government Agencies, Non-Government organizations and Educational Institutes. The Centre’s goal was to establish regulations having science-based viability, related to housing and commercial development in the area. It is important to understand this pro-active approach was put in place to limit negative impacts to the lakes and ecosystem health which is often caused by developed shorelines and urbanization. Studies have been undertaken to monitor environmental impacts such as excessive nutrients, atmosphere contamination (acid rain), effects of mercury and invasive species. Over time, the studies have expanded to better understand interactions between humans and other components such as how the land is used, species variety and decline, chemical and pollution input, as well as climate trends and related effects. (Dorset Environmental Science Centre, 2011)


               Ril Lake has expanded our community-based monitoring initiatives to include several activities. We are now active members of the following studies:

  •  Biological Monitoring, Benthic Monitoring Program, District Municipality of Muskoka – Annual invertebrate study through the Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Protocol (OBBN)
  • Terrestrial Plot Monitoring, District Municipality of Muskoka – Woodland plot set-up to monitor growth and change
  • Toronto Zoo’s, Adopt-a-Pond Program, “Frog Watch” and “Turtle Tally
  • Invasive Species identification and monitoring – Ontario Federation of Angler’s and Hunters, Invasive Species Watch 
  • Dock Talk Program – Federation of Ontario Cottager’s Association (FOCA)
  • Shorereline Remediation – Encouraging shoreline restoration through the purchase of indigenous plants
  • Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up – Annual shoreline clean up initiative in September

It is thanks to the efforts, enthusiasm and continued participation of our volunteers that we are able to gather this important information, submit the findings and compile data on changes affecting our lake.

Very heartfelt and sincere thanks to our volunteers!!


Please explore the tabs located in the environmental section of our website to follow the activities and understand more of our continued efforts and their importance to the health of Ril Lake.


Thank you!

All References are available in the document: Ril-Website References

Respectfully Submitted By: Casey Cook, EMT, ET (September 2011)

Website References (Updated September 2011)
Microsoft Word Document 29.0 KB