Leech Lake, Muskoka

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bug Messages

We have all heard stories about how bugs help solve the most heinous of crimes. Well Leech Lake bugs have a story to tell us about our lake. They can tell us whether the way we treat the lake is good and allows them to live or they can tell us that there are conditions in the lake that are making it difficult for them to exist.

For the past two years, 2006 & 2007, Valerie and Rick McCoy in conjunction with the District Municipality of Muskoka, Ecological Monitoring Department have been hosting a bug fest on Leech Lake.

The District technician wades along the shore line and fills three buckets with mud from the lake bed. Then the Leech Lake volunteers go to work with Petri dishes, tweezers and eye droppers to extract the little invertebrates that live in the lakebed mud. The goal is to get 100 specimens from each bucket. The District then analyses the findings. Over time these little invertebrates will tell us a great deal about our lake. We will find out if we are trending in a healthy or an unhealthy direction. If remedial action is required the District Municipality of Muskoka can help us get on the right road. The program is entitled

Benthic Monitoring:

- What it is? The Monitoring of aquatic invertebrates over time as an indication of lake health.
- These animals live in lake sediment and are sensitive to pollutants & changes in habitat.
- Different species have different sensitivities so the program used 6 different species indicators & a pollution score to provide a picture of our Lake health which can be compared to other Muskoka Lakes.
- We have the data for 2006 & 2007 and we are waiting for some professional interpretation.
- The count was very difficult in 2007 due to a lack of animals compared to 2006. Dragonflies were way down - they are very sensitive to pollution & habitat alteration.

Leech Lakers here is where we come in! Valerie McCoy is looking for 10 volunteers. So please get involved. I did last year and had fun plus learned more about our lake. If you have children or grand children ages 8-12 they will enjoy the experience.

Date: Sunday, July 27, 2008
Time: TBD
Contact: vmccoy@rogers.com
Location: North western end of the lake adjacent to the lake spilloff into the Muskoka river feeder system.

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