ASHMuskoka is a three-year project of the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Its three main objectives are:
- to encourage public engagement in environmental protection and restoration, in this case restoration of Muskoka watersheds from ecological osteoporosis,
- to launch Canada’s first Non-Industrial Wood Ash (NIWA) – mainly residential wood ash – recycling program designed to solve the problem of calcium decline in our watersheds; and
- to learn the amounts of wood ash needed to benefit our local forests – their soils and trees and the waters to which these forests drain.
To conduct this work we are working in partnership with the District Municipality of Muskoka, the MECP’s Dorset Environmental Science Centre, the Muskoka Steamship and Discovery Centre, and researchers and their students from Laurentian and Trent universities and the University of Victoria. The ash is being collected from hundreds of local wood burners, and will be added in two stages. In the fall of 2019 we spread ash on forest soils in three Muskoka sugar bushes, to learn how much ash is needed to restore an entire block of forest. This larger demonstration is our plan for 2021.