SWEPS begins blue-green algae project work on local lakes

Councillor Cathy Deagle Gammon, along with assistant Charlie the dog, presents a cheque to SWEPS chairman Tom Mills. (Healey photo)

FALL RIVER: A local volunteer group is getting some assistance towards its blue-green algae project from the local councillor.

On a beautiful sunny June 15, along Kinsac Lake on Fall River Road, Councillor Cathy Deagle Gammon met with Tom Mills, chairman of the Shubenacadie Watershed Environmental Protection Society (SWEPS), to present a $5,000 cheque from her HRM Capital District account towards SWEPS. Mills said the money will be used towards offsetting costs associated with lab fees for the project.

The blue-green algae project will be sampling 13 sites from the Shubenacadie Canal to Grand Lake, Mills said.

“We certainly do need it and appreciate it,” said Mills of Deagle Gammon’s funding support.

Mills said SWEPS became aware of the blue-green algae issue in local lakes last year and started doing some testing at that time.

“This year we’ve been talking to Dal, working with the various water utilities, and we’ve got a sampling program to try to identify sort of the high-risk areas,” he said. “Of course not the entirety of all the lakes are being affected by coves and other areas

Deagle Gammon said she wanted to support the project as the concern became more prevalent to local residents affected and ensure people are safe.

She said HRM is doing a program called Lake Watchers which will be monitoring 76 lakes over a couple years. The SWEPS program goes hand-in-hand with that.

“This project with SWEPS is extremely complementary because it looks at a different level of what’s happening around the blue green algae,” said the representative for Waverley-Fall River-Musquodoboit Valley. “So together it just makes for a really nice, complete look at the health of our lakes.”

Deagle Gammon said it also will tell HRM how they protect the lakes, and when residents should or should not be in the water, which is another part of the project that SWEPS is doing.

SWEPS will be holding two information sessions on Blue-Green Algae, one of which will be at the Gordon R. Snow Community Centre in Fall River. It will take place June 27 at 7 p.m.