Beach at Sandy Lake (Bedford, NS) closed due to high bacteria levels 13Jul2023

Update ug 2, 2023: E. coli results from the Beach Monitoring program at Sandy Lake indicate very low levels of E . coli at 5 locations across Sandy Lake Beach, ranging from ‘Non-detect to 4.0 CFU/100ml. Samples were taken on Monday, July 31st at just before 12noon…As a result, Sandy Lake Beach has been re-opened to swimming.
Update 17Jul2023: HRM Public Service Announcement
“The Halifax Regional Municipality is advising residents that Sandy Lake Beach in Bedford has reopened to swimming.
Sandy Lake Beach is a supervised beach. Municipal staff regularly test the water quality at all supervised municipal beaches, as well as two unsupervised beaches, during the summer months.
Previous test results showed high bacteria levels in the water, but follow-up tests now show the water is once again safe, in accordance with Health Canada guidelines.”

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Art Meets Nature and Activism at Sandy Lake – art show opens Thursday July 13th, 2023 !

Sandy Lake at Peverill’s Brook, by Jeremy Vaughan. Click on image for larger version.

A wonderful collective of artists has been creating works based on their experiences at Sandy Lake Regional Park.

Their gorgeous paintings and drawings will form part of a 2-week long art show at Second Gallery (Upstairs at 6301 Quinpool Road, Halifax), called “Sanctuary – Save Sandy Lake.”

The show opening is on Thursday, July 13, from 6 pm to 8 pm and ALL are invited (so is everyone you know). It  runs for 2 weeks.

Read more about the artists’ inspiration and how it relates to the campaign to save critical lands – including important wildlife corridors connecting the mainland and lands of the Chebucto Peninsula – and protect Sandy Lake in the press release about the show. Continue reading

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Sat Jul 15, 2023: Hemlock Treatment Demonstrations Day

Eastern Hemlock is a prominent component of the forests around Sandy Lake; some trees are over 200 years old.

Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, aka the Hemlock Vampire, “can cause defoliation, twig dieback and mortality in as few as 4 to 10 years, though it can take up to 20 years”.  It was discovered in SW Nova Scotia in 2017 and has been progressing northeast. There are no reports of it yet in Halifax County, but it’s pretty likely it will make its way here eventually.

Individual Hemlock trees can be protected by treatment with systemic insecticides.  That’s not very practical for protecting  large stands but it is being applied on a few larger stands such as the Old Growth hemlock at Sporting Lake by ecologists with the intention of saving a few mostly intact systems in the event that the pest sweeps the province before better methods  of control  (not involving use of toxic pesticides) are developed. Continue reading

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Halifax seeking “Naturalization Coordinator” 8Jul2023

Having a ‘Naturalization Coordinator’ for HRM is a  welcome initiative, but it should be coupled with a commitment, wherever and whenever possible, to place new developments on sites that are already ecologically degraded. Continue reading

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Voices of spring by the shore and in the forest at Sandy Lake (Bedford) 30May2023

Sandy Lake & Environs on May 30,  2023  
Click on images for larger versions

At times, it is completely silent by the water and in the forest by Sandy Lake, but not on May 30, 2023.

When I took my usual walking route by the lake and into the forest there were two prominent voices that I had learned to recognize from past walks by Sandy Lake in  “mid- to late-spring”*.
*The phases of spring: Early – April, Mid – May, Late – the first half of June, From Spring Wildflowers
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Wildfire approaches Sandy Lake (Bedford, NS) 31May2023

The massive wildfire that started in Tantallon on Sunday May 28, took a step closer to Sandy Lake & Environs yesterday, when it evidently jumped to the Farmers Dairy area or started there independently:

It seems to have been quickly brought under control –
this a.m. on Twitter: Continue reading

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Errors in the Forest Development Stage Layer for Sandy Lake area 2May2023

I have made use of the Forest DCL (Development Stage Layer) in the NS Provincial Landscape Viewer to illustrate the abundance of Mature and Muti-Aged-Old Forest in the area of Sandy Lake, e.g. see the map at the top of the page Mature/OG Forest.

Recently I learned that this layer had been updated, and checked it out in relation to the Sandy lake area. To my surprise, the new DCL reclassified some significant areas I knew from ground observations to be Old Mature or Muti-aged/Old Growth and that had been classified as such in the 2017 version of the map; the reclassification now identifies these areas as Early Mature Forest – including the 200+ year old hemlock stand on ‘The Peninsula’. Continue reading

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Nature NS: “Undeveloped Shorelines and Rare Old Forests in Bedford NS Threatened by Rushed Housing Order” 24Mar2023

Nature Nova Scotia, the Federation of Nova Scotia Naturalists, announced on their Facebook site yesterday that they had recently joined the Sandy Lake-Sackville River Regional Park Coalition “to help spread awareness and take action on the threats facing this rare gem”.

Nature NS appeals to supporters to “Help us save Sandy Lake by writing to government today. Ask Premier Tim Houston to remove these old forests, pristine lakes, and species at risk habitats from the province’s Task Force on Housing list of rushed development areas. Sandy Lake should be protected park land, belonging to all Nova Scotians.”

View Undeveloped Shorelines and Rare Old Forests in Bedford NS Threatened by Rushed Housing Order on the Nature NS Website (Posted Mar 19, 2023) for details.

Posted in Conservation, Sandy Lake | Comments Off on Nature NS: “Undeveloped Shorelines and Rare Old Forests in Bedford NS Threatened by Rushed Housing Order” 24Mar2023

Deep water oxygen levels in Sandy Lake (Bedford, NS) fall to precariously low levels 21Mar2023

Sackville River Regional Park as envisaged in a 1979 report. (Click on image for a larger version ).View 1979 Report. View website for the Sandy Lake – Sackville River Regional Park Coalition for the current vision of this park.


UPDATE June 21, 2023: A set of Independent observations I have just learned about are consistent with our observations of low oxygen at depth, and additionally provide evidence of internal P loading. See below

UPDATE June 17, 2023: Clarification of “algal bloom” (2019) and “BGA warning” (2022)
Update June 16, 2023: Water quality in Bedford’s Sandy Lake at ‘precarious levels,’ retired Dalhousie biology prof says Yvette D’Entremont in the Halifax Examiner, June 16, 2023
The concept of a ‘Sandy Lake-Sackville Regional Park’ harks back to the 1970s,   It would encompass lands surrounding Sandy and Marsh Lakes and the adjacent lands by the Sackville River (see map at right).   In our first  (2006) Regional Plan, reference was made  to  “Jacks Lake Park” as an “Additional Regional Park”  focussed on the east side of the lake.  There was reference to an existing “Sandy Lake Regional Park” – 130 forested acres on the east side of Sandy Lake officially opened in 2004 as the “Sandy Lake Park” –  but  lands to the west of Sandy Lake were given an “Urban Settlement” designation, meaning they were identified as an area for future growth (housing) in HRM, not conservation & recreation. (For more details see “2006 Regional Plan Note” at the bottom of  this post).

The Urban Settlement designation set in motion a requirement for a watershed study under Policy E-17 of the 2006 Regional Plan (see pp 44-52 in AECOM 2014 for details).

The desktop study (except for a few water samples taken in 2013), requested in June 2013, was completed Aug 25, 2014. From AECOM 2014: Continue reading

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HRM Sandy Lake Ecological Features Assessment completed 9Jul2022

UPDATE JULY 12,2022:
Council passed the boundary study motion unanimously (motion below, moved by Counc. Blackburn, Seconded by Counc. Outhit):
That Halifax Regional Council direct the Chief Administrative Officer to:
1. Incorporate the analysis and findings of the Sandy Lake Ecological Features Assessment in the planning and development of Sandy Lake Park.
2. Review and use the findings of the Sandy Lake Ecological Features Assessment in the background studies being undertaken for the Sandy Lake Special Planning Area, including organizing the form and location of development to best protect at least:
a. the suggested widths for important corridors,
b. the suggested riparian and watercourse buffers, and
c. the identified areas of predicted old or mature forest.
3. Explore the use of conservation easements as part of the Sandy Lake Provincial Special Planning Area background studies to manage ecological features or corridors that extend outside of the conceptual park boundary.
4. Assess how to best organize land use and green infrastructure as part of the Sandy Lake Provincial Special Planning Area Background Watershed Study to mitigate any downstream impacts to the Sackville River and Sackville River Floodplain.

Link to Council discussions vote:
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