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Blue green algae in a body of water
Blue green algae - Source: Wikimedia Commons

Algae in Sherbrooke Lake does not contain cyanobacteria

Municipality of Chester, the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, and the Sherbrooke Lake Stewardship Committee are committed to monitoring the water quality in Sherbrooke Lake as it relates to the development of the Public Access site. Earlier this year the Sherbrooke Lake Stewardship Committee shared with lake property owners and others in the community a report outlining the results of the water quality sampling program last summer. This report presented a picture of the lakes condition during the summer of 2018. The report also highlighted the need for continued vigilance if we are going to maintain an excellent water quality condition in the lake. 

This year many people have reported the occurrence of unusual concentrations of  algae along shorelines and in the water itself. These algae are naturally occurring microscopic bacteria that take many forms in our freshwater lakes, and are often associated with warmer temperatures and influx of nutrients. There are some forms of algae called cyanobacteria (often referred to as blue-green algae) that are toxic to humans and animals and, for this reason, two samples were taken for analysis this summer. This analysis has confirmed that those samples did not contain cyanobacteria and therefore were not toxic. Nonetheless, NS Department of Environment requests that all algae blooms are reported to them. The department's field staff have already visited the lake once and will do so again if the lake experiences any further blooms. We thank all residents and visitors for contacting the committee, and encourage all those who contact NSE to also inform Sarah MacLeod – the project manager of Sherbrooke Lake’s water quality program at sarah@coastalaction.org – to inform her about what was seen and who was contacted. For more information on blue-green algae please visit the Department's website at https://novascotia.ca/nse/environmental-health/blue-green-algae.asp. Its important for all of us to remember that we all play a role in protecting our waters, and that there is a direct link between further enrichment of the lake through the use of lawn fertilizers, malfunctioning septic systems, and direct grey water discharges from washing facilities and the growth of algae in the lake. With further development around the lake, property-owners, the municipalities, and visitors to the lake must all take ownership of the lake and take steps to prevent the lake from becoming nutrient enriched and degrading the water quality. 

To further help understand changes in water quality, the committee has also installed a weather station on the lake. This weather station, paid for by the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg and the Municipality of Chester, measures temperature, humidity, pressure, and rainfall at the lake. The Stewardship committee, and both municipalities welcome the public to access the weather station for weather information. To access the site, please go to myacurite.com and create an account, then under the ‘Settings/Share Weather’ section ‘Add’ an account to follow - Sherbrooke Lake Weather Station with device ID: 24:C8:6E:0B:49:C0. 

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