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.

Continue reading

Posted in Conservation, Sandy Lake, Uncategorized, Water Quality, watershed | Leave a comment

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

Posted in About this site | Leave a comment

New Year Wishes

Posted in Biophilia, Conservation | Leave a comment

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

Continue reading

Posted in natural history, Sandy Lake, Water Quality | Leave a comment

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.

Continue reading

Posted in Conservation, Recreation, Regional Park proposal, Regional Plan | Leave a comment

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.
Continue reading

Posted in Conservation, watershed | Leave a comment

For the record: On Sep 22, 2020 Council passed progressive by-law that will help protect lake water quality

Sandy Lake, but not Marsh Lake and Jack Lake receives waters from storm sewers

At a special meeting of Halifax Regional Council on Sep 22, 2020, councillors passed Item No 11.1.4 Grade Alteration By law and Halifax Stormwater Standards for Development Activities.

Said Sackville Rivers Association President Walter Regan in a letter to Mayor and Councillors:

Please vote and pass Item No 11.1.4 Grade Alteration By law and Halifax Stormwater Standards for Development Activities

This new by law will help all of HRM and the environment by keeping the silt out of our local water courses ( including the Sackville River) and water in the ground where it’s needed for ground water recharge and the slow release of clean, cool and clear water to our rivers and lakes.

It will help reduce the capital and maintenance costs of infrastructure.

If done correctly can add to the beautification of local areas, protect wetlands and save our lakes and rivers from pollution and negative impacts from construction and storm water runoff while maintaining natural water cycles.

Will help reduce the negative impacts of Climate Change and local flooding (especially in areas like Bedford and Sackville). Continue reading

Posted in Sandy Lake, Water Quality, watershed | Leave a comment

Anticipating Hurricane Teddy & some thoughts about winds and Nova Scotia forests

Pit and Mound topography in hemlock/yellow birch forest by Sandy Lake. Based on the ages of the oldest trees, I  speculate that they were formed following a massive windfall during the Saxby Gale (1869) or the Great Storm (1873).
Click on image for larger version.

Hurricane Teddy is tracking northward and “is expected to impact Atlantic Canada and the Gulf of St. Lawrence region Tuesday and Wednesday as a “very dangerous” post-tropical storm as it moves through the region, bringing strong winds, heavy rain, storm surge and pounding waves” (CBC Sep 19, 2020).

They might have added tree falls (tipovers, windthrows) to that list.

My spouse looks out the window at our urban forest and at a towering tree  on a street one block to the north; she worries that it may fall to the southwest and on our house and asked me what I thought. “I don’t think we have to worry, at least this time around” I said. “Why”, she asked.  I said  “Because  I looked at the tree, it is about 3.5 ft diameter and  looks very healthy;  it has already survived Juan and Dorian and right now it looks as though this storm will not be worse than Dorian and nowhere near Juan in ferocity; and finally, even if the winds blow it over, it is likely to fall towards the west or north and not towards us.

“Why do you think so?” she asked. “I have been thinking about windblown NS forests” I said.    Read more on Nova Scotia Forest Notes

Posted in Acadian forest, Conservation, natural history | Leave a comment

Trips by Transit’s first “virtual trip” is to the proposed Sandy Lake – Sackville River Regional Park!

Trips By Transit is a K’jipuktuk (Halifax) based community organization that promotes citizens getting out and about in nature without having to own or have ready access to a car, or be limited by lack of familiarity with places to go.

Trips By Transit is a non-profit organization that works towards a world where there are no barriers preventing us from connecting with ourselves, our communities, and the natural world.

TBT offers free public programming and aim to promote a culture of accessibility, inclusivity and mutual respect.

View their website at, their Facebook page at and their Instagram page

For their very first “Trips By Transit Virtual Trip”, they chose to highlight the proposed Sandy Lake – Sackville River Regional Park!

View: Come Hike With Us: Sandy Lake – Sackville River Regional Park
YouTube Video, posted Sep 11, 2020. Continue reading

Posted in Acadian forest, Biophilia, HRM Greenbelt, natural history, Talks & Walks | Leave a comment

Update on Emerald Ash Borer in Bedford Area

In general, white ash exists as a component, not a dominant species in the mixed Acadian forest at Sandy Lake & Environs which may bode well for its survival. View iNaturalist record for this particular

From: Walter Regan <>

District 16 residents, I have received a few inquiries recently regarding the status of the Emerald Ash Borer situation in our DeWolf Park. Below is an update I received this morning from HRM’s Arborist.

“Last year, with the help of the Canadian Food inspection Agency and the Canadian Forest Service we conducted a characterization of the infestation of Emerald Ash Borer in Halifax, focusing on Bedford (ground zero). Unfortunately, our tests and samples indicated that the infestation was farther advanced than we had originally thought back when we began to remove some of the most heavily infested trees in an attempt to slow the spread. At this point, we are choosing to retain the trees as urban canopy until they completely succumb, giving us time to replant before having to loss the existing canopy entirely.

Emerald Ash Borer is an unfortunately pest, with no municipality on the continent successfully managing it. We are somewhat fortunate in Halifax in that we don’t have a particularly large population of Ash trees (whether planted or native) meaning the impact will not be as great. Further, our wet climate seems to permit the trees to live with an infestation much longer than in other parts of the county”.

For context, view:

10 trees to be removed from DeWolf Park after HRM detects Emerald Ash Borer infestation
By Alexander Quon for Global News, May 2, 2019. “Halifax Regional Municipality is removing 10 ash trees in DeWolf Park after they detected an invasive beetle species in the area…The Emerald Ash Borer is a highly destructive invasive species from Asia that has been present in Canada since 2002. However, it was first detected in Nova Scotia last year.”

Forests north of Marsh Lake
Post Oct 4, 2019

– North of Marsh Lake/Big Trees & Ash

Posted in Conservation, Pests | Leave a comment