our research

Mink farming impacts to Nova Scotian lakes

 
 

This project will develop distinct, yet complementary tools to reconstruct the past, study the present, and model future water quality trajectories in lakes potentially affected by mink farming, land-use shifts, and climatic change. Strategic lake selection will allow us to provide critical information, at appropriate temporal and spatial scales, to determine management policies needed to help resolve the polarized debate on the environmental impacts of mink farms. The techniques developed in this NSERC Strategic can be readily exportable to other agricultural regions of Canada.

Mink pelts are one of Nova Scotia's greatest agricultural exports. However, many in NS associate mink farming with recurring water quality issues and declining fish habitat. Debates continue as regulators and stakeholders are hampered by the lack of long-term water quality data. Our goal is to develop the field of "forensic paleolimnology" and integrate time-focused approaches with predictive lake modelling. We will use established and newly developed "fingerprinting" tools to determine the relative contributions from mink farms that may lead to algal blooms and overall deterioration of water quality. Our diverse partners include Tusket River Environmental Protection Association and university research labs at Acadia, Dalhousie, Ottawa, and Queen’s.

 
Duplicate sediment cores collected from the deep, central basin of a lake impacted by land-use change and regional mink farming.

Duplicate sediment cores collected from the deep, central basin of a lake impacted by land-use change and regional mink farming.

Late-summer algal bloom present at Fanning Lake, NS.

Late-summer algal bloom present at Fanning Lake, NS.

Clearwater Lake, NS is an excellent example of a typical reference lake in SW NS with ample habitat for Atlantic Coastal Plain flora.

Clearwater Lake, NS is an excellent example of a typical reference lake in SW NS with ample habitat for Atlantic Coastal Plain flora.