Community Spotlight: Tusket River Environmental Protection Association

 In News

The muck at the bottom of lakes holds a treasure-trove of decades and centuries-old data about environmental change.

Since 2009, Tusket River Environmental Protection Association (TREPA) has been working with local volunteers and others to closely monitor surface water quality in Southwest Nova Scotia. These studies began in response to observed algal blooms that were initially attributed to mink farming in the area.

Today, TREPA is collaborating with a group of scientists from Nova Scotia and Ontario who are using a paleolimnological approach to gain an even deeper understanding of how lakes within the Carleton River watershed have changed over time.


Paleolim-what, you ask? Paleolimnologists analyze sediment cores for chemical, biological and physical indicators needed to reconstruct the environmental history of a given lake. Once an obscure corner of freshwater research, paleolimnology is providing increasingly important clues about how water bodies adapt to change. 🔍

Thanks to TREPA’s baseline understanding of where water quality issues are occurring and residents’ intimate knowledge of their lakes, researchers have been given a head-start in their field work. Understanding long-term changes in lakes from natural and human activities can help residents and local governments tailor sustainable water management strategies.

In 2015 the Carleton River Watershed Area Water Quality Monitoring Steering Committee was established. TREPA is a vital part of this committee and continues its monitoring work in conjunction with them. Visit the Yarmouth Municipality website to explore their reports and data. And, in the not so distant future data will also be available on Atlantic DataStream!

To learn more about how TREPA is engaging Southwest NS citizen scientists in lake monitoring, visit and follow them on Facebook. For the sciencey paleolimnology stuff, check out the project website.

Sit tight while this passionate group gets to the bottom of the challenges facing the Carleton River watershed!

Photos courtesy of Jean Cleveland, Water Quality Monitoring Coordinator, TREPA

by Aislin Livingstone