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Muskoka’s Climate Action

In December 2020, the Muskoka District Council officially declared a Climate Emergency, deepening the District’s commitment to reducing Muskoka’s climate change impact, and protecting Muskoka’s community, economy, and ecosystems from the impacts of our changing climate. The District of Muskoka is prioritizing climate change adaptation and mitigation through the measures outlined below:

Muskoka Community Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan (CEERP)

Muskoka's Community Energy & Emissions Reduction Plan (CEERP) was endorsed by Community and Planning Services Committee in March 2024 and will be brought forward to Muskoka District Council at the April 2024 meeting. The plan includes actions for the District of Muskoka and towns/townships in Muskoka, as well as for businesses, community groups, utilities, institutions, residents and visitors. This plan was developed by the community, for the community, through financial and facilitation support provided by the District.

Full Plan: Muskoka Community Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan 

Summary of the Plan: CEERP Backgrounder
Climate Change Initiatives Coordinator
Since 2018 the District of Muskoka has dedicated resources for a full-time staff member to focus on all projects relating to climate change initiatives and supporting the actions throughout the District that relate to the environment. Currently, the Climate initiatives Coordinator is working on several action items, identified below, and many others.
 New Leaf Climate Action Plan
  • The Muskoka Climate Change Action Plan (New Leaf Climate Action Plan) was approved by District Council in December 2020.
  • The New Leaf Plan incorporates climate change adaptation and mitigation actions for the corporate and community aspects of climate change. It is a product of interdepartmental efforts across the District with input and direction from the New Leaf Community Working Group (NLCWG) and various stakeholders from the community. The strategic priorities for the action plan were developed to align with the Districts Strategic Plan and are the following:
    • Natural Environment
    • Governance
    • Economy
    • Infrastructure
    • Community
  • Since the New Leaf Action Plan was approved, significant progress has been made on advancing many of its initiatives. Of the 112 total MCCAP Actions, 34 are complete and 51 are in progress/actively being pursued. Additional details on these actions are outlined in Muskoka’s Climate Change Action Plan 2023 Report Card.
  • The New Leaf Action Plan aims to create small and large steps to drive change by categorizing goals with short, medium, and long-term actions with financial considerations. 
 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory
  • In 2020, The District of Muskoka completed a corporate and community GHG inventory analysis. The hired consultants used data to quantify annual GHG emissions per sector for both corporate and community emissions.
  • The District of Muskoka has ambitious GHG reduction goals which were established during the GHG inventory assessment and are compared to the 2018 GHG baseline:
    • 50% reduction in both community and corporate emissions by 2030
    • Net-zero emissions for both the community and corporate by 2050
  • District of Muskoka’s Corporate GHG emissions breakdown from the 2018 baseline.

 A blue pie chart outlining data

  • Muskoka’s Community GHG emissions breakdown from the 2018 baseline GHG inventory.

A blue pie chart outlining data

This information was utilized in the creation of the Muskoka Community Energy & Emissions Reduction Plan. More information about this plan and how you can get involved is available above in the “Muskoka Community Energy & Emissions Reduction Plan (CEERP)” dropdown information.

 Staff Reports
  •  A new process for District staff reports for internal project updates and proposals requires a "Climate Change Implications" section to consider climate impacts (including impacts on GHG, temperature change and precipitation) using the "Clean Air Partnership's Municipal Climate Lens Tool”. Staff must elaborate if the project is net-positive or net-negative to the environment. Net negative impacts must detail any modifications or alternative considerations to reduce the negative impacts resulting in a 3-part summary of how significantly the project effects the environment. Impact summaries are included within Staff Reports and reviewed as part of the decision-making process during Committee or Council meetings. 
  • Training has been conducted to educate Staff on the meaning of the metrics, how the metrics should be considered throughout a project, and how to incorporate climate action into day-to-day work. Council Report – CPS-4-2021-1 - Launch of Staff Report Climate Lens and Climate Initiatives Update 
 Area Municipality Regional Climate Adaptation Plans
  • From August 2021 to early 2023, the District’s Climate Initiatives Coordinator has supported five of Muskoka’s Area Municipalities (Towns of Huntsville, Bracebridge and Gravenhurst and Townships of Muskoka Lakes and Lake of Bays) in the creation of Area Municipality specific climate change adaptation plans.  A collaborative process involving community stakeholders through the New Leaf Community Working Group including Area Municipality representatives and community experts.
  • During this process, impact; vulnerability; and risk assessments were completed to identify the most significant climate change related impacts likely to pose the biggest threats to Muskoka. The community working group also brainstormed immediate and successive actions to increase each community’s resiliency to the climate change impacts identified.
  • The Regional Climate Change Adaptation Plan was approved by the five Area Municipal Councils in early 2023. 
  • With the adaptation plan now approved, the Area Municipalities and District are working on implementing the actions outlined in the plans. This will improve the resiliency of Muskoka’s communities to our changing climate. 
 Climate Change Related Projects
  • The below projects are examples of ongoing or complete projects or resources that have positive impacts on Muskoka’s climate:
    • Integrated Watershed Management projects: 12 technical projects focusing on examining the existing conditions in the Muskoka River Watershed and exploring ways to reduce the impacts of flooding.
    • Floodplain Mapping: Outlines areas of high flood risk based on the watershed. A useful tool in supporting informed decisions and investments to reduce the impacts of flooding on Muskoka’s infrastructure and communities.
    • Ongoing investigation into potential climate change grants including pollinator gardens and fleet electrification studies.
    • Muskoka’s Roadmap to 60% Waste Diversion: Focuses on reducing household waste by improving the recycling system, increasing composting (green bin) curbside pickup in Muskoka, subsequently reducing greenhouse gas emissions from households in Muskoka.
    • Clean Muskoka Together: A year-round Muskoka-wide community litter clean-up program that provides interested participants with all the tools to complete a litter clean-up. Sign-up to receive your toolkit to clean-up your neighbourhood in time for Provincial Day of Action on Litter - the second Tuesday in May.
    • Household Hazardous Waste Drop off: Hazardous waste including batteries, paint, lightbulbs, aerosol cans, or many other waste products can be very harmful to the environment if thrown in the garbage and taken to a landfill. Muskoka has a free drop-off system scheduled for certain dates throughout Muskoka. Be smart about your hazardous waste and do the right thing.
    • District of Muskoka Transportation Programs: Public transit is a great way to reduce an individual’s greenhouse gas footprint and increase accessibility for individuals without a personal vehicle. Muskoka has been expanding its’ public transit to decrease the community’s greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Water Conservation Tips: Water is a very valuable resource and although Muskoka is fortunate to be surrounded by fresh water, residents of Muskoka must take action to prioritize keeping the water supply contaminant free and use as little as possible. Not only will this help the environment, but it will also reduce household water bills!

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