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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By-Laws as approved at AGM

This is a true copy of the by-laws as approved by Membership at the AGM of 4/18/17.


of the


Final 4/18/17  – As approved at AGM

1.  Name: The society shall be known as the Tusket River Environmental Protection Association, and is a charitable, non-profit environmental organization.

2. Objectives: The objectives of the association shall be immediate and long-term.

The immediate objectives shall be:

(a) to protect the Tusket River and surrounding areas from environmental damage due to pollutants.

(b) to maintain a constant vigil for future environmental hazards.

(c) to work closely with other environmental groups and government agencies to improve environmental legislation so as to better protect the environment.

The long-term objectives shall be:

(a) to respond to all environmental concerns affecting Southwest Nova Scotia.

(b) to educate the public to be environmentally conscious.

(c) to expand membership and increase public support within the community.

3.  Membership: The membership of the Association shall refer to the collective of individual members as defined in 5. (b) below.

4. Policy and Operations: Policy and Operations is the set of guidelines that govern the day-to-day and long term conduct and operations of the Association

5. Definitions:

(a) Policy and Operations Manual: The published and annually reviewed Policies and Operations – referred to below as the Manual.

(b) Member: An individual who has joined the Association under the terms of the  Manual. Officers and Directors must be Members.

(c) Officers: The officers shall be President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer as elected or appointed under the terms of the Manual and fulfilling the duties as outlined therein. The Officers form the Executive where that term is used.

(d) Director: An individual elected or appointed under the terms of the Manual and fulfilling duties outlined therein.

(e) Board of Directors: The collective of the Officers and Directors.

(f) Executive Director: A staff position hired by and under the supervision of the Board of Directors fulfilling duties as outlined in the Manual. This is a non-voting position.

(g) Quorum:  At any meeting of the Association a quorum shall consist of five Members.

6. Loss of  Membership or Position: Any Member or Director may be expelled for cause from Membership in the Association by a special Resolution which has been recommended by the Officers and passed by the General Membership. This requires a Special Meeting.

Any of the elected Officers may be removed from office for cause by Special Resolution of the Association passed at a Special Meeting called for that purpose. Such action may be initiated by Directors or Members.

7. Meetings: Meetings are defined as:

a) Board Meetings, held generally monthly, or as called by the Executive, and include the Board of Directors, Members who may wish to attend, and Guests by invitation or agreement of Board Members. The Directors of the association shall be entitled to full voting powers with the exception of the Chairperson who shall cast a vote only in the event of a tie vote.

b) Special Meetings called by Resolution of the  Board or a Petition by 20 Members. If a special meeting is required by the Membership, 30 days notice shall be given to the Secretary of the Association. The Secretary shall then notify the Membership of the special meeting.

c) The Annual General Meeting shall be held each year during the month of March or within sixty (60) calendar days thereafter.

At each Annual General meeting, the following items of business shall be dealt with and shall be deemed to be ordinary business:

•Minutes of the preceding Annual General meeting

•Annual Report of the Directors

•Financial statements including a balance sheet for the previous fiscal year

•Election of Officers for the ensuing year

•Appointment of Auditors when requested by the General membership at an Annual General meeting.

8. Voting: Every Member shall be entitled to attend every meeting of the Association and shall be entitled to vote at all Special Meetings and the AGM.

19. Remuneration: The Officers and Directors of the Association shall not be entitled to any remuneration.

10.  Amendments: Any amendments to these Bylaws must be passed by Special Resolution of ¾ majority of Members present at the meeting for which 30 days notice had been given of the intended amendments.

11. Business: The Board of Directors of the Association shall have the authority to conduct all business of the Association.

12. Borrowing Power: The borrowing powers of the Society shall be exercised by a Special Resolution duly passed by the Membership at a meeting called for that purpose.

13. Books and Records: The books and records may be inspected by any Member  of the Association by contacting the Secretary and arranging an appointment to inspect.

14. Registration: The Secretary shall file with the Registrar of Joint Stocks the names, addresses, and occupations of the elected Directors within fourteen days of their election and a financial statement and a copy in duplicate of each Special Resolution passed by the Association when appropriate.

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Modifications to proposed By-Law changes

At the Board meeting of April 5, 2017, the Board responded to Member suggestions on the first draft and made the following changes to clarify Members and Membership.

The pertinent items  now read:

3.  Membership: The membership of the Association shall refer to the collective of individual members as defined in 5. (b) below.

5. (b) An individual who has joined the Association under the terms of the Manual. Officers and Directors must be Members.

The Manual states:

2.0 Members The Members of the association shall consist of those individuals who subscribe to the Objectives of the Association. (see by-laws 2.)

The members agree to their names being placed on list which shall be used to summon members for meetings and events, and to distribute association information. Such list can be hard copy or e-mail.

The following shall be admitted to the membership of the society: any individual who contributes $10 per year regular membership any student who contributes $2 per year any non-profit organization that contributes $50 per year any corporate group of 1-50 employees that contributes $100 per year any corporate group of more than 50 employees that contribute $250 per year all founding members admitted prior to April 1990


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