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Ontario Helping Protect the Muskoka Watershed

News Release

Ontario Helping Protect the Muskoka Watershed

Conserving Ontario’s Water Resources

Ontario's Government for the People is investing $5 million in a Watershed Conservation and Management Initiative to better identify risks and issues facing the Muskoka Region, allowing the community and province to work together to protect this vital area. The government will also match tax-deductible donations from people and businesses to the initiative, and any funding from other levels of government, up to a total of an additional $5 million.

"The Muskoka Watershed is one of the highlights of our province and a vibrant hub of Ontario's tourism industry," said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. "This is why we are committed to working with the local community to protect it. Together, we will ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty and the economic benefits this watershed brings to the region."

Effective watershed management is important to the people in our communities, especially at times when watersheds are facing pressures due to stresses such as increased development and flooding caused by severe weather events.

In the coming weeks, the government will begin forming an advisory group that will engage local organizations, municipal representatives, Indigenous communities, and the broader community to identify priority projects that could form part of this initiative.

By protecting this particular watershed and working with the local community, this initiative will help us develop a more comprehensive approach to watershed management, which can inform current actions and future development. The initiative will also respond to concerns raised by the community about projects such as the North Bala Small Hydro Project, which is proceeding subject to a number of permits and approvals in place that require the facility to operate in the most environmentally responsible way. This includes a water management plan that requires minimum continuous flow to protect water quality and aquatic habitat and to meet Lake Muskoka's water level objectives.

"Local residents and visitors love the Muskoka Region for its beautiful waterways, wildlife and other unique physical features. Working with the people who live in our communities, municipalities and businesses to protect and conserve this area ensures the Muskoka Watershed will remain a beloved Ontario destination for many more generations," said Norm Miller, Member of Provincial Parliament, Parry Sound-Muskoka.

"We are committed to protecting the province's water resources to keep Ontario beautiful and pass on a cleaner environment to future generations. We are providing real solutions to the issues facing the Muskoka region while supporting residents, the local economy and a thriving recreational and tourist industry," Phillips said.

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