Walter River Walk – Saturday August 24th

See below an interview with Walter Regan by the Sierra Club Canada – Atlantic Canada Chapter RE Walters River Walk coming up on Saturday August 24th.

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:

What can you see behind Walter around 2 minutes and 20 seconds into part 3?

Facebook page:

Rock throwing and NSLC – Sunday August 18, 2013 – 10am to 1pm Little Sakcille River at Hallmark.

We will holding a rock throwing at on the Little Sackville River Sun Aug 18 10am to 1 . Meet at the SRA Office 09:45 am. We are also having NSLC employees and their families to volunteer at the event.

Dress for the weather. Call Damon at 865-9238 for details

We will need volunteers as we are having about 20 staff and families come out from NSLC we need volunteers to help guide them.

Beach Closures

More beaches closed to swimmers

July 25, 2013 – 6:40am By SELENA ROSS Staff Reporter – Herald News

Expert: Contamination inevitable with hot weather, waste runoff

 Kinsman Beach in Lower Sackville, shown Aug. 10, 2012, was closed to swimmers on Wednesday. (INGRID BULMER / Staff / File)

Kinsman Beach in Lower Sackville, shown Aug. 10, 2012, was closed to swimmers on Wednesday. (INGRID BULMER

Haligonians who want to dip a toe into a local lake this summer could be forgiven for raising an eyebrow.

On Wednesday, Kinsmen, Black Rock and Dingle beaches were closed for swimming.

Last week, it was Shubie Lake, Campbell Point and Government Wharf beaches. The week before it was Kearney Lake, Albro Lake, Sandy Lake and Long Pond. The list goes on.

Swimmers can expect more and more bacteria-related beach closures as summers get hotter, according to water quality experts.

The good news is that the problem can be solved, but not without a bit of effort.

“All those lakes have culverts going into them and then it rains. The dog feces and whatever in the streets goes right into the lake,” said Paul Mandell, a retired Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientist who has been studying Halifax-area lakes for decades, and still does consulting work.

“Effluence that wouldn’t cause closure in beaches (in the past) will because of the rising temperatures,” he said. “It’s been 35, 36 degrees here and that’s enough to cause E. coli to grow.”

Step 1, then, is for people to pick up after their dogs.

The other steps take a bit more long-term planning.

Stormwater pipes that feed directly into lakes via culverts are sometimes accidentally crossed with waste pipes, increasing the bacterial load, says Jocelyne Rankin at the Ecology Action Centre.

Owners of old cottages who aren’t properly managing their septic tanks also send bacteria-laden waste to nearby beaches, said Damon Conrad of the Sackville Rivers Association.

Bayswater Beach in Lunenburg County, a provincial beach, was closed because of bacteria for the first time ever this year. The province said the source of the bacteria was unclear.

There are several cottages upstream from the beach, said Conrad. There’s also a fish farm about half a kilometre away that has been there for several years.

Fish farms and pulp mills are both sources of contaminants, said Mandell. Other sources of bacteria could include fecal matter from agricultural runoff or from wildlife, said Rankin.

Combined with warmer water, any source of bacteria could become a problem, and many could be addressed.

People with septic tanks could research and install septic fields, or systems of trenches that naturally filter the waste, said Rankin.

When it comes to culverts, constructed wetlands next to lakes act as biofilters, said Mandell. There is one by Settle Lake in Dartmouth and they are not expensive to construct.

Local swimming water is not tested in a way that reveals sources of bacteria, so people aren’t likely to know if they’re polluting a local lake, said Rankin.

Halifax Regional Municipality spends about $10,000 per year testing its swimming beaches once a week, said spokeswoman Tiffany Chase.

From 2006 to 2011, the city invested $500,000 to sample water at 55 lakes three times a year as part of the regional plan. The results were published and used to guide future land use planning, but the program ended, she said.

Because the municipality and province generally do a minimum of testing, the problem is one for the public to tackle, said Mandell. He said he’d like to work with anybody interested in dealing with lake pollution.

“It’s very rare in this world to find an urban centre with such a beautiful suite of lakes,” he said. “People really have to take care of the lakes themselves. Every lake in Nova Scotia should have a society that samples the water and checks it out, especially with global warming.”

Most of the dozens of lakes within Halifax Regional Municipality have culverts going into them.

That means popular swimming spots without lifeguards, such as Williams Lake and Tea Lake, likely have similar conditions as others, but no warnings to the public when water is unsafe, said Mandell.

He said he believes Second Lake in Lower Sackville, Bell Lake in the Cole Harbour area and Lake Banook in Dartmouth are the only ones that are culvert-free.

Dollar Lake near Musquodoboit Harbour, which is part of a provincial park, is also a safe bet, said Mandell.

“I swim in Dollar Lake,” he said, “because there’s nothing going into it.”


By SELENA ROSS Staff Reporter

River Restoration 2013 – Bedford Sackville Herald

Repairing damage to Sackville’s waterways

1 – 3 Interns with the Sackville River’s Association at the Stoneybrook site off of Millwood Drive in Middle Sackville. The plan is to get water flowing again to improve the health of the whole watershed. (Colin Chisholm)

Phil Brownell is one of the Sackville River Association’s interns hard at work at the Stoneybrook site off of Millwood Drive in Sackville. Shovel in hand, Brownell and his team tries to rebuild a stream after years of development have turned the area into an overflowed still-water pond.

“Before we got here, the water would come out of the culverts and just spread out, creating a wide, shallow area,” Brownell said, pointing at the muddy work area. “We’ve dug up as much as we can to make it deeper and created a channel here. The rock walls slow the water down, so the fish can get up through this fast moving water.”

Stoneybrook is one of the smaller estuaries that feed into the Little Sackville River, which then flows into the Sackville River. Returning it to its formal glory won’t be easy, but the team has already seen some results.

“We’ve seen fish start to move up, and we saw a Blue Heron hanging out here one morning picking them out of the water, and birds are here bathing in the stream,” he said. “Even in the last couple of days we’ve seen things happen here that haven’t happened in at least 10 years.”

The estuary was primary brown with the small team working away, once it settles the area will be ideal for species like Gaspereau, eel and of course Wild Atlantic Salmon, the SRA’s bread and butter.

“It really puts in perspective the environmental problems we’ve created as a society,” he said. “It’s just good to know that we have the knowledge to bring it back to the way it should be.”

The Sackville River’s Association relies on summer internship programs to carry out the bulk of their labour-intensive projects.

Damon Conrad, Coordinator with the SRA said they get these grants from the provincial and federal governments, as well as Clean Nova Scotia, a non-profit environmental organization.

“The provincial program pays up to $8.50 and hour, we top them up to $12,” Conrad said. “The federal program pays minimum wage and we top them up to $12 as well.”

The Clean Nova Scotia Youth Conservation Corps makes minimum wage, $10.15 an hour.

“Most of the interns are in or interested in science programs like biology, environmental science, marine engineering, things like that,” he said. “We also hired students with a co-op program through Acadia.

“They spend most of their time actually out in the field,” he added. “Doing water quality tests across various parts of the watershed. For the most part they’re in the river, clearing debris, installing structures.”

Walter Regan, Executive Director of the SRA said the internship subsidies are a major boost to the organization.

“This is really valuable to us as an affordable source of labour,” Regan said at the SRA’s office inside the Sackville Heights Community Centre. “It’s also invaluable for the students themselves, because they get hands-on experience for their resume and learning about what it’s like in the field.”

“Unfortunately, due to the provincial and federal cuts, the program has been scaled way back and the province has passed some of it onto Clean Nova Scotia,” he said. “This year Clean Nova Scotia hired around 50 students, of which, we got two.”

Regan noted the conservation corps through Clean NS used to hire over 200 summer interns, but recent cutbacks have scaled the program back. The federal government’s recent scrapping of the Katimavik program also lowered the number of students the SRA could hire to support their projects.

“These students fill a massive void in our operations,” he said. “They bring good backs, enthusiasm for what they do and the necessary training and computer skills. We need them.”

Another thing the Sackville River’s Association is always looking out for is volunteers. For more information, check out

Colin Chisholm
Herald Community Writer

Old News Is Still Good News

Duck Race Brings Three Local Charities Together – Bedford Sackville Herald

The duck race raised $9,000 for local charities, including The Sackville Rivers Association, The Sackville Boys & Girls Club and The Acadia Hall Recreation Club. (Colin Chisholm)

On May 4 the sun was shining brightly as crowds of people cheered while their rubber ducks raced down the Sackville River.

Although specific ducks did come in first, the real winners were a trio of Sackville charities: The Sackville Rivers Association, The Sackville Boys & Girls Club and The Acadia Hall Recreation Club.

In total $9,000 was raised, split three ways been the organizations.

“I wish to thank you all for donating to our group and for participating in this event, and hopefully you’ll all participate again next year,” Walter Regan, Executive Director of the SRA said before the first race. “The ducks will be released over there, and the race will be on.”

The duck race took place at the Sackville River near the Goodlife Fitness in Sackville. The rubber ducks were let go and captured 150 metres downstream by SRA staff.

“You’re allowed to follow your duck down the stream, and the more you yell, the faster the ducks will go,” Regan said.

There were two races during the afternoon, the first for youth, the second for family ducks.

The day before, corporate ducks raced, which were purchased primarily by local businesses in the area.

Following the race on Saturday, there was a Barbeque at Acadia Hall.

Regan said bringing the three charities together allowed them to pool their resources.

“We were fighting each other for donations to keep our organizations alive, so we decided ‘let’s see if we can take our contacts and memberships together to make one large fundraiser,’” he said. “I just wanted to break even, just to get the word out about these groups, to make money on top of that is just wonderful,”

Regan said the feedback received from the community has been very positive and is hoping for a bigger turnout next year

“The groups were like ‘why didn’t you call me last year,’ and I just said, ‘well we will call you next year,’” he said. “I just want to thank the people of Sackville for helping our river, our children and recreation.”

Participants could purchase ducks in a variety of ways. A family duck cost $10 each; a ‘quack pack’ was three ducks for $25. Youth ducks, for people under 12 years of age, were $2 each. Corporate ducks were $100 or three for $250.

Trevor Brown, Executive Director of the Sackville Boys & Girls Club said the duck race was about more than just raising money.

“We’re trying to get our youth to become more community-minded,” he said. “And with the Acadia Park, we thought what a perfect fit for our kids to help and give them a place that they can go and enjoy.”

“We really want to make this a major community event, there’s a lot of people out today, we’d like to triple that for next year,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of our staff involved today and if you look around, probably around one in four of the families here is a club member.”

One of the duck race winners Shelly Meider said it was a way to give back to her community and get the kids outside.

“It was fun, it was a little hairy because we could only see the one and the five and the other number was underneath the water so we couldn’t see it,”

Duck race winners

Winners of Corporate Duck Race

Sackville Business Association (1st)
Heflers Forest Products (2nd)
Green Arbor Landscape (3rd)

Winners of Family Duck Race

Shelly Meider (1st)
Carol Doucet (2nd)
Bob MacLellan (3rd)

Winners of Youth Duck Race

Timo Saunders
Keeghan Cummings
Isaiah MacIver
Samantha MacIver
Jake Hall
Ethan Cummings
Rhys Beiko
Abbey Robichaud
Faith Minty
Nicholas Xavier

Meider said, noting her duck’s number was number 153. “We wanted to help out our community and thought it would be a fun day for the kids.”

“It was a lot of fun, and I’m sure seeing our duck coming across first didn’t hurt,” she said. “It’s always good to have the kids out doing this sort of thing, they’re so prone to being on their tablets and playing video games now, it’s nice to have them outside and watch them enjoy the sunshine and enjoy the day as a family.”

Colin Chisholm
Herald Community Writer