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Water Quality Monitoring Reports

Cyanobacteria (Blue/Green Algae)

The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, the Municipality of Chester, and the Sherbrooke Lake Stewardship Committee are committed to monitor water quality in Sherbrooke Lake.  In recent years, reports have been received of occurrences 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 when Nova Scotia Environment (NSE) receive a report, they aim to take samples of the water to be analysed.

Following an advisory being placed on the lake in 2020 by Nova Scotia Environment, due to reports of blue/green algae, the Committee and Coastal Action have developed a pilot project where, in addition to the regular Water Quality Monitoring, they can also monitor the lake for algae blooms.  The commencement of this project is dependent on a financial partnership between MODL, MOC and NSE.  The aim would be to provide sampling and results to Nova Scotia Environment to assist in their advisory processes.  This data may also provide an insight into development of blue/green algae blooms.  

For more information on blue-green algae visit Department of Environment.

Looking After the Lake - A Landowner’s Responsibilities

It is 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.

Weather Station

To further help understand changes in water quality, the Committee has also installed a weather station on the lake. This weather station 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, visit 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why was this program created?

This program was created to monitor any effects the development and use of the Public Access site would have on Sherbrooke Lake.

2. Who runs this program?

As jurisdiction of the lake is shared by both the Municipality of Chester (MOC) and the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL), both municipalities help direct and fund the program.

The program itself was created and is overseen by the Sherbrooke Lake Stewardship Committee. This committee is comprised of five citizen representatives of MOC and MODL, a water quality specialist, a representative from MOC, a representative from MODL, and technical support from a member of Coastal Action.

The hands-on work of the program is organized by a member of Coastal Action and implemented by a group of trained volunteers. The volunteers consist of property-owners around the lake, who have been trained in proper water sampling techniques.

3. What does this program test for?

The program is designed to monitor the health of the lake, in addition to monitoring key areas and times when water quality may be at risk – including after rainfall events and close to the Public Access site. The program runs from May to October and tests for both the physical and chemical qualities of the water.

At each site, volunteers use a multi-parameter instrument to measure temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, conductivity, pH (acidity), and total dissolved solids. Water samples are also collected at each site for lab testing.

Of the 11 sites included in the program, three lake sites are sampled monthly for total suspended solids (TSS), nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen), fecal coliform, and chlorophyll A. One additional lake site – close to the Public Access’ planned swimming beach – is tested for fecal coliform monthly. Four primary inlet streams are tested for TSS, nutrients, fecal coliform, and chlorophyll A bimonthly, with seven inlet streams tested for the same parameters once per summer after >20 mm of rain. In addition, once during August, nutrient samples are collected from deeper waters at two lake sites, and sediment samples are collected at three lake sites and one stream site.

4. Where are the results published?

The program’s results are published annually in two forms: a 2-page booklet and a full technical report. Both documents are available from the MOC and MODL’s websites, and on Coastal Action’s website.

5. What are the results used for?

The results from the program are used to inform evidence-based decisions by both municipalities. The program also helps inform citizens of the quality of their lake and what they can do to help reduce their own negative impacts on water quality.

6. How can I get involved?

Helping such an important program is always encouraged. The committee is always welcoming new volunteers to conduct the water sampling, and each year the committee seeks nominations for people to stand as committee members. If you’d like to participate, please contact either MOC or MODL’s representatives to discuss how you could help.