Water Quality Monitoring Program approved by HRM standing committee, sampling would include Sandy Lake 4Jun2021

An unpleasant algal bloom in Sandy lake in early August of 2019 was an “early warning sign” that the lake is in a precarious state. View DRAFT Report On the State of Sandy Lake, the Historical Trends and its Future Trajectory (David Patriquin, Feb 23, 2021)

Good News!!! Yesterday, this motion was approved by the Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee:

That the Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee recommend that Halifax Regional Council direct the Chief Administrative Officer to adopt and implement a detailed water quality monitoring program based on Framework 1 as outlined by AECOM in their Water Quality Monitoring Policy and Program Development Report, as outlined in the Discussion section of the staff report dated May 6, 2021.

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HRM releases Themes & Directions Report 20May2021

From the Report:

This document, the Themes and Directions Report, is the first deliverable of the Regional Plan Review. The purpose of this document is to explain the scope of the Regional Plan Review to the public, stakeholders and Regional Council, and to seek feedback. This document shares ideas about key planning issues and provides details of the work that will be completed during the review. The feedback we receive will help provide focus and direction for future work during the Review.

There will be opportunities for feedback, TBA.

View document as PDF (117 pages)

View by section under Regional Plan Review Continue reading

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Thurs May 6, 2021: Measuring and celebrating wetlands in the Sackville River Watershed

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A few early spring nature notes from Sandy Lake & Environs 23Apr2021

Loon on Sandy Lake at dusk

On Monday April 19th, Ed G and I lowered a probe to the deepest part of Sandy Lake and found that the lake had “turned over” and was well oxygenated from top to bottom. View the limnological limnological profile.

That was normal for a “dimictic” lake, but I had some concern that rising salt inputs could at some point inhibit spring turnover.  So this was good news, at least for 2021.

It was approaching dusk as I prepared to leave and the call of a loon provided some further good news. Continue reading

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Good News, 10 year synoptic survey of Halifax Area Lakes to continue, sampling on Mar 31, 2021

An example of the data: Historical Electrical Conductivity (salt) values for selected Halifax-area lakes including Sandy Lake (enlarged in inset).  From Clement, P.M. and D.C. Gordon. 2019, Fig. 5 (Conductivity readings as measured by Environmental Services Laboratory) in Synoptic water quality survey of selected Halifax-area lakes: 2011 results and comparison with previous surveys. Can. Manuscr. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 3170: xi + 98 p.

From HRM:

Helicopter to collect water quality samples at municipal lakes
Posted: March 26, 2021 – 12:00 pm

52 lakes within the Halifax Regional Municipality will be tested for water quality on Wednesday, March 31 weather pending. These water quality samples will be collected by helicopter and by boat. Residents should be advised that the helicopter will be travelling at low altitude to obtain these samples.

Testing in this method is conducted every 10 years to test for nutrients, chlorophyll a and heavy metals. This work is separate from the supervised beach water quality testing program, which is completed weekly in July and August at all municipally-supervised beaches.

For more information on water testing locations, view the list.

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On bathing in the water and in the forest at Sandy Lake – in March! 26Mar2021

Christmas ferns on a mound – the resting place of a very big tree that fell about 150 years ago –  in old forest by Sandy Lake, Mar 23, 2021
Click on images for larger versions

A couple of days ago, I had to “get away from it all” so I went to walk and just relax in my favourite hardwoods on the big drumlin on the east side of Sandy Lake.

I had expected that the lake would be ice-free, but it was still mostly covered over (although mushy) viewed from Sandy Lake Beach Park. No one will be bathing in Sandy Lake for a while, I thought.

Within minutes of climbing the drumlin, I was in a different world, free of all of the distractions of our complicated lives in Covid times. There was lots to celebrate about the natural world there. In the damp woods by the lake, hobble bush was getting ready to flower. As I walked through the hemlocks I looked for any signs of hemlock wooly adelgid (the “hemlock vampire”) and could see none, only healthy hemlocks. The ground below the hardwoods was well-lit, with leaf-out still many weeks away; evergreen Christmas ferns lay prostrate on the big mounds in this bit of Old Growth forest. Continue reading

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SRA’s Fish Friends first online lesson launched 26Feb2021

UPDATE  Mar 29, 2021: 4 lessons now available: Introduction, Watersheds, Habitat & Egg Observation, Shelter and Alevin Observation

View more at SACKVILLE RIVERS ASSOCIATION EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMVIRTUAL FISH FRIENDS/RIVER RANGERS 2021

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Original post
I just checked out the first video lesson the SRA  (Sackville Rivers Association) has posted in its new online Fish Friend Series series, launched because of  limitations on their hands-on programs in Covid times. It is incredibly well done.

The lessons are geared for elementary school children, but I still enjoyed and learned from this first video – especially about First Nations’ Perspectives.

In the first video (LESSON 1: INTRODUCTION)

  • Students are introduced to the SRA and the work they do
  • Students are introduced to the concepts of “Watershed” and “Habitat”
  • Students are introduced to scientific and traditional (Mi’kmaq) approaches to ecological knowledge

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On the State of Sandy Lake in early 2021

Swimmers left the beach at Sandy Lake Beach Park after an unpleasant algal bloom appeared suddenly in the morning of Aug 6, 2019.    The bloom dissipated within a few days. It was as  an ‘early warning sign’ that the lake is in a precarious state.

Since I began conducting observations on “Sandy Lake & Environs” in June 0f 2017, I have  compiled a variety of observations related to Sandy Lake itself and associated streams and wetlands.

The observations included descriptions of wetland communities, some ‘limnological profiles” at deep spots in Sandy Lake, and many measurements of  temperature, electrical conductivity ( a measure of the salt content) and  pH of lake and stream waters. Derek Sarty, Bruce Sarty and Ed Glover have assisted with many of these observations. Continue reading

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Webinar on Sandy Lake area Feb 23, 2021 7-8pm

Go to Nova Scotia Environmental Network Facebook Page

View Archived Webinar on YouTube

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Did the deer follow the hare or the hare follow the deer to Marsh Lake?

Hare and deer tracks together. Who was following who? Click on image for larger version

On a few-degrees-below-zero day in early February, I set out from Sandy Lake Beach Park  to go to  Marsh Lake. I especially  wanted to see the hemlock-lined Upper Peverill’s Brook in winter, where it flows into Marsh Lake.

Sandy Lake was frozen sufficiently that I could walk on it – but I stayed over shallow water just in case. I headed north and took a right turn at the point I figured was closest to Marsh Lake.  I headed up the drumlin; the ground was frozen with a few inches of snow on top, perfect for walking (I had cleats on) and for walking with minimal impact on the environment. Such days are my favourites for hiking into areas when you have to cross water and wetlands and the like to get to them. Continue reading

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