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Tracking environmental changes in Russell Lake, Nova Scotia using diatoms as paleoecological indicators

BSc (Hons) thesis of Amy Tropea, April 2005

Acknowledgements and a recommended textbook

Web page of the Soil & Water Conservation Society of Metro Halifax (SWCSMH)

July 15, 2010      Russell Lake, Dartmouth


click for powerpoint presentation <--Click the icon for a PowerPoint presentation by the PEARL, Queen's University researchers on "Assessment of water quality using paleoecological indicators", or click click for PDF for the PDF version  click for info on PDF documents



Stratigraphic plot of the dominant diatom taxa


Weighted-average optima for common taxa in Pockwock and Russell Lakes


Stratigraphic plot of physical analysis on sediment core






Historical land uses inclusive of related critique by Shalom Mandaville of the Soil & Water Conservation Society of Metro Halifax (SWCSMH):

There were several errors relating to land uses in the thesis most probably because erroneous info was given by various local stakeholders to the researchers, unfortunately. Following are the significant ones and also included are possible land uses even dating back to the early 1800's:
  1. The pig farm was not operational to 1995 contrary to statements in the thesis. The farm ceased operations in June of 1980 per Geraldine Wamboldt, daughter of Norman Earle Morash, the owner of the pig farm who had passed away in 1964 at the age of 55.
    • Whether this fact had some impact in the identification of the paleo diatoms is not clear since the thesis clearly stated that the diatoms revealed the operation of the pig farm until 1995!
    • The thesis also states that the pig farm commenced operations during the 1960s; this was also an error since Norman Earle Morash commenced working for his father, Norman Morash, at the pig farm back during the 1930s (pers. comm. Wamboldt, October, 2005)!
  2. The pig farm commenced operations in/around the early 1900s by Norman Morash, grandfather of Geraldine Wamboldt.
  3. There was another farm in addition to the pig farm owned by Norman Morash. There were cattle, sheep, and a part of the farm was used as a garden. It is understood this was the case even during the 1900s. The grandfather, Norman Morash, passed away in at the age of 92!
  4. Based on a published historical book, there were other farms around Russell Lake. It appears that the first settler there, a Nathaniel Russell, Loyalist from Boston, owned a large farm on the south side of the Cole Harbour Road opposite Colin Grove during the late 1700s (cf. Russell's Lake). The area would fall within the watershed of Russell Lake!

Shortcomings- comparison with the CCME's phosphorus management policy

The work in this NSERC project involves ascertaining certain parameters pre-industrial (1840s) but they do not ascertain the `natural background values'!

The phosphorus management policy of Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) clearly requires establishing the background values in pristine conditions, i.e., natural background values (or pre-human impact). These can only be obtained by predictive TP modelling utilizing phosphorus export coefficients in similar pristine subwatersheds and/or by paleo techniques which can generate inference models to the pre-human impact era!

Acknowledgements and a recommended textbook

... with thanks to Prof. Dr. John Smol and Brian Ginn of the PEARL, Queen's University, Ontario for sharing the thesis!

Smol, J.P. 2008. Pollution of Lakes and Rivers: A Paleoenvironmental Perspective. 2nd ed. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford. x,383 pp. ISBN-13: 978-1-4051-5913-5.

Russell Lake, Dartmouth                     Soil & Water Conservation Society of Metro Halifax (SWCSMH) Master Homepage

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