The Lake Acidification program monitors water quality in selected NS lakes in order to assess trends in lake acidification due to Long Range Transport of Air Pollutant (LRTAP) sources. This program is affiliated with the Lake Acidification monitoring program undertaken by Environment Canada (EC). Both programs contribute to management of acidifying substances through the New England Governors / Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG/ ECP) Acid Rain Initiative. The primary water use being protected is aquatic habitat for sensitive species such as Atlantic Salmon.
Water samples are collected by both Environment Canada and NSEL staff from the surface of lakes during the period of lake turnover when waters are well mixed. Monitoring frequency is annually; during fall lake overturn period, and additionally at selected sites during spring and summer. Samples are submitted to the EC Moncton laboratory for analyses of relevant parameters including pH, conductivity, alkalinity, colour, and selected major ions such as base cations, S and N species, and Aluminum.
The EC program has been operational since the mid 1980's while NSEL contribution started in 1999 with the inclusion of monitoring at Pockwock Lake.
A report produced through the NEG / ECP Acid Rain initiative, entitled Estimation of Critical Loads of Acidity for Lakes in New England and Eastern Canada (PDF: 713k) provides information on water quality trends in lakes in the region, including those in NS. For more information see the most recent Acid Rain Assessment.