iNaturalists events x Sandy Lake: Sunday April 21 and Saturday 27th, 2024

Announced Mar 29, 2024 by The Dirt Gang, on their Facebook Page:
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Bedford West Development Plans approved by Province, significant environmental concerns remain 2Dec2023

Map from HRM Document showing Areas 1&12

View: Housing Developments Approved for Bedford West
Nova Scotia Government. News Release, Municipal Affairs and Housing November 28, 2023

“On the recommendation of the Executive Panel on Housing in the Halifax Regional Municipality, Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Lohr has granted approvals that will enable the development of up to 2,060 homes in the following sub-areas of Bedford West:
– Bedford West 10 (subsections B and C)…
Bedford West 1 and 12 – Phase 1; the proposed development by MICCO WBHL Developments GP Limited includes up to 579 residential units consisting of 470 apartments and 109 townhomes and semi-attached or single-family units
– Bedford West 1 and 12 – Phase 3;…”

Bedford West 1&12 enclose some of the headwaters for Sandy Lake

An article by Linden Thomas in The Signal, Dec 1, 2023: Fast-tracked development in Bedford raises environmental concerns provides a good overview of the related environmental concerns. Continue reading

Posted in Community, Conservation, Halifax Green Network | Leave a comment

Councillor Morse requests staff report on plan to protect Eastern Hemlock in HRM 13Nov2023

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. “Their name comes from waxy white filaments they make to protect themselves from drying out. In a heavy infestation, hemlock trees can look gray from all the “wool” on twigs and branches. They can’t fly, but are spread by wind and also hitch rides on the feet of birds, which can carry hemlock wooly adelgids for long distances. These “hemlock vampires” were first discovered in 1951 in Virginia, and by 2005 had spread to fifteen other states.
Source: Paul Hetzler, Cornell Cooperative Extension
Photo source: Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station,

Date of Council Meeting: November 14, 2023
Subject: Staff report on plan to protect Eastern Hemlock in HRM
Motion for Council to Consider:

That Halifax Regional Council direct the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to provide a staff report on a Management Plan for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in HRM. Woolly Adelgid is an emerging insect pest that can be fatal to hemlock. The Management Plan should include best practices for treatment, with a special focus on older hemlocks in HRM, and include funding sources to develop and implement the

View full request Continue reading

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New legislation would give Minister of Housing “absolute power and discretion” over all planning and development in Halifax 13Oct2023

A portion of HRM. Why should it be necessary to develop on some of the most ecologically sensitive sites such as at Southdale and Sandy Lake?
Click on images on this page for larger versions.

UPDATE: Halifax considers taking Nova Scotia to court over controversial housing Bill 329 – Suzanne Rent in the Halifax Examiner, Oct 18, 2023. Intro in in Morning File
This is not good news, and is eerily eerily reminiscent of the attitudes the Ford Government of Ontario held  for its Greenbelt (until recently). It’s hard not to  interpret this new legislation as a way of getting around the bothersome facts about the exceptionally high ecological value of the lands where 6000 units would be placed at Sandy Lake – one of the nine sites identified for rapid development. 

Yesterday the province announced new legislation “to get more housing built, faster, in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM)” (NS Gov News Release, Oct 12, 2023)

It includes, amongst other measures:

giving the minister authority to make decisions on development in HRM without a recommendation from the Executive Panel on Housing or request from the municipality
granting all variances respecting set backs or street walls unless HRM can demonstrate that they materially alter the intent of the municipal planning strategy
temporarily freezing all municipal permit and development fees, including Halifax Water regional development charges and density bonus charges, for a period of two years; any increase would require ministerial approval
creating one of Canada’s first trusted partner programs, which will offer qualified developers – working with certified professionals who have a solid track record of quality developments – expedited services, allowing them to get shovels in the ground faster

HRM issued an unusually critical statement about the legislation (HRM Oct 12, 2023) Continue reading

Posted in Community, Halifax Green Network, Regional Plan, Water Quality | Leave a comment

October 13-22, 2023: The Fall Continental Mycoblitz 2023 in the Maritimes!

Bears Head Tooth or Lion’s Mane (Hericium americanum),  growing on hemlock, Halifax area.

Where: Everywhere mushrooms grow

The 2023 Continental Mycoblitz is open to anyone who is willing to make scientifically valuable collections of mushrooms – including photography, fieldnotes, and submitting a dried specimen. Any individual or organization can submit their most unique/interesting/exciting collections from the foray week to theproject. Mycologists and foray partners will examine each collection and will perform DNA sequencing on thousands of the specimens that are submitted.

For general information about the Mycoblitz see: continental-mycoblitz/

Mycologists in the three Maritime Provinces will coordinate the Mycoblitz efforts in our region, to try sequence over 1,000 collections of mushrooms from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

If you are located in Nova Scotia please contact Sean Haughian at the NovaScotia Museum ( to get more detailed informationabout collecting and documenting mushrooms for the Continental Mycoblitz, or to arrange for dropping specimens off at the Museum of Natural History.

Posted in Conservation, Events | Comments Off on October 13-22, 2023: The Fall Continental Mycoblitz 2023 in the Maritimes!

Sunday Oct 22, 2023: The 18th Annual SRA Fall Benefit Dinner & Auction

Click on poster for larger version

A note to Sandy Lake fans: The Sandy Lake  Watershed is the largest or second largest sub-watershed of the Sackville River watershed, depending on how the sub-subwatersheds are aggregated (see map below). Regardless, it’s very important to the larger  Sackville River watershed and vice versa. The Sackville River Watershed Association has been very active over the years in caring for the Peverill’s Brook which leads from Sandy Lake, through Marsh Lake to the Sackville River. The digger logs they have installed and care for on Peverills Brook are surely a factor in the occurrence of  gaspereau, sea-going brook trout, American Eel, sea-going white perch and salmon in Sandy Lake. Conversely, the intact forests covering much of the Sandy Lake Watershed, and the many wetlands, and Sandy and Marsh Lakes themselves are critical to the maintenance of fish populations in the larger Sackville River Watershed. and to minimizing maximum storm flows and runoff downstream.

From the SRA Announcement

“This year the event will be held on Sunday October 22 at the Kinsmen Community Centre.

“This is a year like no other in the 35 year history of the SRA. Bedford and Sackville were severely affected by flooding this summer. People and businesses suffered damage, lost property and valuable time as they cleaned up in the days and weeks following the flood. Continue reading

Posted in Conservation, Fish, Sackvile River Watershed, Sandy Lake, watershed | Leave a comment

Please keep an eye out for possible dead eels in Sandy Lake and other lakes 15Sep2023

©Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
More about American Eel here

It’s a request from Chris Kennedy of the LakeWatchers program sent to Karen Robinson of the Sandy Lake Conservation Association who forwarded it to me.

Says Karen R: “Chris Kennedy sent a request that we keep an eye out for possible dead eels in Sandy Lake and other lakes. He is finding them in the Shubenacadie water system as reported in the news, but wants to make sure it is not more widespread.  I am alerting our park walkers to keep an eye out just in case.” Continue reading

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Who is monitoring water level in Sandy Lake? 2Sep2023

Spotted on Sandy Lake
Click on image for larger version

UPDATE  Sep 4, 2023: There is still – a month and more after the Big Precipitation Events –  a lot of water being held back by the intact landscape. See below


Sandy Lake fan and top Sandy Lake iNaturalist reporter Sybil Nunn recently spotted the red-topped post at right in the water at Sandy Lake, just below the big parking lot.

She wondered what it’s for and speculated it’s for monitoring water levels.  That seems logical as there was massive flooding of the lake and many low areas withon in the Sandy Lake watershed in late July and early August and further downstream in Bedford. Two residents close to Sandy Lake estimated that the lake rose 5-6 ft above previous levels, and said it only started to come down a couple of weeks back. Continue reading

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Sandy Lake (Bedford, NS) limnological profiles reveal freshening and oxygenation of the water column after extreme rain events; and a worrisome “Metalimnion Oxygen Minimum” 2Sep2023

By the outlet on Sandy Lake, Aug 14, 2023. Insets: At left the YSI Probe with weight attached; right: YSI Instrument panel. A portion of the Van Dorn water sampling bottle can be seen by the anchor.
Click on images for larger versions

After  extreme precipitation events earlier in the summer of 2023, the entire  water column had lower conductivity values ( a measure of salt content) on Aug 14 compared to May 22  and bottom waters on Aug 14 were better oxygenated than on 6 other occasions in the past when deep water oxygen levels were measured in late summer/early fall. This flushing and oxygenation could be good news if there weren’t other adverse effects of the heavy precipitation. Observations in the latter half of August in 2021, 2022 and 2023 show the presence of a “Metalimnion Oxygen Minimum” at 5-6 m; it appears that it reformed quickly after the high precipitation events in 2023.  The occurrence of a Metalimnion Oxygen Minimum in Sandy Lake represents significant deterioration in water quality of the upper layers of the water column and  adds yet more reason to be concerned about the state of the lake currently and the possible impacts on lake water quality if the proposed major development on its headwaters was to proceed.
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Posted in climate Warming, Conservation, Water Quality, watershed | Leave a comment

Lawnsigns show support for Sandy Lake 19Aug2023

From the Sandy Lake Coalition, Read More

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