SRA’s Fish Friends first online lesson launched 26Feb2021

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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Accelerated erosion not helping our treasured lakes 17Jan2021

On a lengthy winter outing in the area of Sandy Lake on a slightly above zero day this past week I noted several sites where sediment is flowing into streams that flow into Sandy Lake or Marsh Lake, or that lie directly on Sandy Lake.

Puddling on Jackie’s Brook

The first site was on a power line where a significant stream flows out of the forest on one side and into the forest on the other and there is extensive puddling from OHVs crossing the stream. I think the stream is known informally as “Jackie’s Brook”. It goes into the woods, falls down over the edge of ridged bedrock outcrop and then crosses the powerline again on its route to Marsh Lake; there is also extensive puddling at that second crossing of a powerline.

OHV (Off-Highway Vehicles) use on publicly accessed lands can be very controversial, and is banned in HRM Parks unless specifically permitted (By-law P-600).  Personally, I am OK with OHVs accessing power lines  but…not without significant responsibilities and accountability. One solution: OHV organizations take responsibility for managing ATV routes in such areas, e.g. see this document describing how OHV use was/is managed in the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area; their involvement this way was a big factor in gaining community and political support for establishment of the Five Bridge Lakes Protected Wilderness Area in 2011.

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I am revising the Lake, Streams & Wetland Pages 5Jan 2021

Just in case anyone is looking at these pages… I am reorganizing and revising them.
I expect it will be completed circa mid-February, 2o21

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New Year Wishes

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In the Water and on the Drumlin by Bedford Lions Sandy Lake Beach Park

Some reasons to celebrate and some reasons to be concerned about Sandy Lake & Environs
Short link for this page: (

A presentation by David Patriquin to the Bedford Lions Club on Dec 3, 2020.

View Hi-Res Video of presentation (1920×1080 px)
View on YouTube (Low-Res)
View A few of the Slides below for a quick overview of what’s in the talk

Sandy Lake is a near-pristine lake lying within a partially developed landscape in the suburbs of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Bedford Lions Club led the way for establishing the Sandy Lake Beach Park  in 2003/4.

It’s a wonderful spot, for children especially, with safe swimming, paddling, fishing and opportunities for diverse nature activities. Mixed Acadian forest with patches of Old Growth occurs on drumlins by the Beach and is readily accessed via old forestry roads.

There is pressure to develop in an area of the watershed that provides most of the water for the lake.

In this presentation to the Bedford Lions Club on Dec 3, 2020, David Patriquin describes
 the benefits of  the lake and the surrounding area for recreation and wildlife (0-19 min);
some interesting features of old growth forest on the drumlin by the beach (19-32 min);
 life in the lake and possible impacts of further development in the watershed on lake water quality (32- 67 min).

Find out more about the natural history of the area at

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Nov 6, 2020: “Let’s resolve unfinished business by finally protecting Sandy Lake and Sackville River”

Use this webform to tell city councilors we need an expanded park.

From the Sandy Lake-Sackville River regional Park Coalition:

Help us expand the existing park to protect this irreplaceable natural area. Time is running out.

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Halifax Peninsula has something to tell The Burbs about the importance of wetlands and natural stream corridors

A wetland southwest of Sandy Lake, just north of Hammonds Plain Road
Click on image for larger version

An article in HalifaxToday  tells us “Flooding in Halifax [peninsula] shouldn’t be a surprise” as historical maps of the city show it was built over dozens of wetlands, bogs and streams… View
Flooding in Halifax shouldn’t be a surprise, says archaeologist, by Chris Stoodley in Halifax Today Oct 10, 2020

It begins:

After Halifax saw heavy rainfall earlier this week, an archaeologist says people shouldn’t be surprised about flooding.

On Oct. 5, flooding trapped at least one car on the south end of Barrington Street in downtown Halifax.

Jonathan Fowler, a Saint Mary’s University archaeologist, says it’s bound to happen as historical maps of Halifax show numerous brooks, streams, bogs and wetlands running throughout the peninsula.
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