Yarmouth Municipal Shoreline Protection By-Law

— John Sollows

I have been reminded that too many shoreline property-owners in the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth still are unaware of the importance of leaving their shorelines wild and/or of the relevant Municipal by-law.

First of all, in ANY municipal unit, before you develop your property, go to the municipal office and DISCUSS YOUR PLANS WITH THE DEVELPMENT OFFICER! The officer is in the best position to tell you what you can and cannot do.

For those who want to do the research, the Yarmouth Municipal Land Use By-Law can be studied at https://www.district.yarmouth.ns.ca/images/stories/PDF/dev/LUB_MPS/MODY_LUB_June24_2015.pdf.

Clause 4.26 is the item of interest.

It says:

4.26.1 In all zones where development is undertaken on a lot which borders a watercourse an undisturbed buffer of 12 metres (40 ft) is required to be maintained between the high water mark on either side of a watercourse and any structure or developed portion of the lot. Infilling or removal of material is not permitted within the buffer
except for minimal disturbance incidental to a permitted undertaking. In the watercourse buffer area the natural flora and fauna is to remain substantially undisturbed except for penetrations for wharves and boat launches. Moderate thinning of tree cover in the buffer area to enable views is permitted and good ecological practices designed to minimize disturbance of natural shoreline areas are encouraged when undertaking all activities and developments within the buffer and
all developments on properties abutting watercourses in the Municipality. (see MPS Part 3 and Policy 3.1.9)
4.26.2 On any lot subject to the requirements of Section 4.26.1 of this by-law the required buffer supersedes any minimum yard requirement which may be less than the required buffer.”

Wild shorelines help protect lakes from turning muddy or green, neither of which does anything for property values. Also, some of that green stuff in the water can be hazardous to your health.

Respect nature. Respect the by-law.

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Summer Student Position Available

TREPA has received approval from Service Canada to hire one student. The job will run for nine weeks from June 26 to August 26, 2017. The student will work 35-hour weeks at a pay rate of $10.85 per hour.

We are looking for a university or college student pursuing studies in an environmentally-relevant field with (1) valid regular driver’s licence and access to a car at any time; (2) familiarity with standard computer use (writing, e-mail, internet, data management), (3) experience with canoe handling and transport, and (4) proficiency at swimming.
Applications are limited to Canadian citizens, permanent residents or persons to whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, who were full-time student during the previous academic year, and who intend to return to school full-time for the next academic year and are between the ages of 15 and 30 at the start of the employment.

Job description follows:

(1) Assistance in collecting water quality data from selected sites throughout the Tusket catchment in
cooperation with Carleton River Watershed Area Water Quality Steering Committee; (2) Assistance to Municipality
of the District of Yarmouth in archiving existing water quality data in a more user-friendly format (3) Assistance in
maintaining and monitoring the C.R.K Allen Nature Reserve and newly-acquired lands on Great Pubnico Lake; (4)
Review environmental and health effects of tidal power projects, and summarize in a carefully-referenced report ;
(5) Review environmental, economic, and social effects of clearcutting and summarize in a carefully-referenced
report; (6) Review literature on the sources and health of ground water resources in mainland Nova Scotia. (7)
Subsequently, review provincial legislation and strategies related to management of ground water, and summarize
the findings in a carefully referenced report, which recommends how TREPA can proceed in encouraging
strengthened protection; (8) Miscellaneous tasks for Waste Check and other local environmental agencies; (9)
Assistance to CBDC and Southwest Nova Scotia Biosphere Reserve Association with compiling soild and other
data for upcoming agricultural and science atlases (10) Public education in the need to protect riparian buffer
zones , and development of relevant materials (11) Promotion of exploration of national parks and other wilderness
areas (12) Work as possible with town and municipality to promote use of rain barrels (13) archiving of TREPA documents;
(14) Other tasks as specified by the TREPA Board

Resumes are to be attached to a letter of application, are to be in .rtf or .pdf format, and are to list all references together with their contact information. Applications are to be sent by e-mail to nhungjohn@eastlink.ca, and are due by Wednesday, June 21 at 6 P.M. Only those selected for interview will be contacted.

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Our Green Water 

by John Sollows

People in Forest Glen, Carleton, and Raynardton remember it well:  In the summer of 2007, all the lakes on the main Carleton River, from Ogden down to the upper end of Vaughan turned green.  The following year, the problem returned with a vengeance.  Some of those folks contacted TREPA, and thus began our biggest single job over the past decade.

Thanks to the efforts of many concerned citizens, the province began a series of water quality investigations in 2008.  With the support of many actors, these investigations have continued in one form or another, ever since.

So, what’s going on out there?

Like all plant life, those troublesome little green things fundamentally need two things to develop:  sufficient nutrients and sufficient light.  In our infertile part of the world, nutrient levels are usually too low for their populations to explode.   Also, the darker the water in a lake, the less the light penetration, so clear water lakes are more vulnerable.

Click the following link:


This complicated figure explains a lot.  The nutrient which limits growth in our fresh water systems is usually phosphorus.  Rivers run downhill, dissolving stuff as they go.   Unless something strange is going on, then, concentrations of dissolved solids (including phosphorus) should go up from upstream to down.

The reverse has been happening along the Carleton, so something unusual has been going on in the upper Carleton catchment.   Nutrients come from any sources, but various results, including this figure, have pointed convincingly to the crucial role of uncontrolled effluent from mink farms in enriching the Carleton.  To deal with such problems, the Fur Industry Regulations were drafted in 2011, and after some changes, went into effect in January, 2013.

On the ground, summer surface phosphorus levels peaked in Placides in 2011, and after 2014, dropped in the affected Yarmouth County lakes.    It is too soon to conclude why, and the drop is probably due to a combination of things.  Are the regulations working?  Maybe, but the hot, dry summers of 2015 and 2016 would also have had some effect.  Other factors, such as industry downsizing, may apply, as well.

We can expect to see the blooms again this June, probably as bad as ever.  Based on the last two years, however, there is a good chance that they will be of shorter duration than in the bad old days.  In the long run, though, it is too soon to predict if and when they will vanish completely.   There’s still plenty of phosphorus to get washed out of the system.

This saga has told us that our lakes are vulnerable to pollution.  Mink farms are not the only problem, and we are concerned that green water could show up elsewhere.  Trends in lakes on the lower Annis and Kegeshook Lake, near Quinan have us concerned.

Lawns, gardens, livestock and farm operations, and faulty septic systems can all contribute to the problem.   Leave as wide as possible a shoreline zone as wild as possible.   Don’t use fertilizer near water bodies and watercourses.  Locate gardens well away from the water.  Check provincial regulations and municipal by-laws before you develop your land.  In Yarmouth Municipality, for instance, only minimum development is allowed within forty feet of the shoreline.  That sets a good example both for other municipalities, and for property-owners.






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This Year’s Lobster Draw Winner

On Saturday, May 20, at Carl’s Store in Tusket, Megan Gaudet drew the winning Lobster Draw ticket. Our winner is Milton LeBlanc of Morris’s Island. Milton is a lobster fisherman, but assures he can still put them to good use!

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Water Quality Reports Available

A quick note to advise that all water quality monitoring reports covering monitoring years 2008 to 2013 are available on the Municipality of Yarmouth website. Later reports covering years 2014 and 2015 will make their way on in the near future. The report on the 2016 work is under review.

Reports tend to be dated the year AFTER the year the field work is done.
Go to http://www.district.yarmouth.ns.ca. and click “Carleton River Watershed” under “Home” in the upper left corner.

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