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This Ecosystem Overview and Assessment Report (EOAR) is intended to provide a general overview of the major ecological components of the Bras d’Or Lakes watershed which encompasses land, freshwater, and marine features. It was developed by the Oceans and Coastal Management Division of Fisheries and Oceans Canada as a background document for integrated management (IM) and planning in the Bras d’Or watershed. Planning at the watershed level requires the compilation and integration of available ecological knowledge and information.
The purpose of The Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative (CEPI) and its objectives was set in motion a decade ago by the environmental protection vision of Charlie Joe Dennis. His contribution to bringing the four levels of government together to work towards the for the greater good of the Bras d’Or Lakes was brought to action with the initial workshops that were held by CEPI titled, “The Spirit of the Lakes Speak”.
Over the past ten years the focus for CEPI with regards to the development of Bras d’Or Lakes has been focused on environmental planning. The vision for the 2016 conference was to move the discussion for the Bras d’Or Lakes beyond planning and put in place actionable practices that would allow industry sectors to grow without harming the environment. The focus of the conference is to bring people of the region together to discuss best practices for sustainability in the industry sectors and to identify projects and development that can positively impact economic development in the region while helping to build more sustainable communities in Cape Breton.
As well, the organizing committee identified six industry sectors that would be considered with respect to their current/future impact on economic development for the region if projects are developed sustainably. These six sectors included agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, forestry, mining, energy, and tourism.
We asked people this question, and the answers were as varied and unique as the watershed itself.
Water, the defining component of ecosystems across Canada, is integral to the development and prosperity of Canada’s natural resource sectors. Water drives the natural resource sectors’development and operations. The natural resource sectors are, and will continue to be, the most significant water users in Canada. The sustainable development of our natural resources requires careful and informed consideration of what development may mean for our water resources. It is critical that in setting the right conditions to ensure prosperous economies through development of our natural resources, we also ensure the protection and health of our aquatic ecosystems. To understand how Canada can ensure sustainable water use by the natural resource sectors, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) set out to explore four areas related to quantitative water use by the natural resource sectors.
The Bras d’Or Lakes (Pitu’pa’q), situated in the heart of Cape Breton Island, are a unique, semienclosed estuarine system of bays,
inlets, and deep basins that make up approximately 18% of the total shoreline length of Nova Scotia. Variations in salinity, tidal range, flushing times, and population distribution are found within different regions of the Lakes. These differences make the Bras d’Or Lakes especially vulnerable to human pressures.
Marine water quality in the Bras d’Or Lakes was assessed via examination of three factors: bacteriological water quality; chemical water and sediment quality; and sedimentation. The integrated Driving Force-PressureState-Impact-Response approach, currently used by the European Environmental Agency, is applied to marine environmental water quality under each subtopic.
Nine conclusions and recommendations are included with this report, among them the implementation of a long-term monitoring strategy so that changes in marine environmental quality can be detected and tracked.
Report on a workshop that focused on identifying potential future trajectories for the Bras d’Or region and the assessment of their resilience based on current climate variability and potential future climate change.
Developing An Environmental Management Plan For The Bras D’or Lakes Watershed – An Analysis Of Its Scope And Approach For Addressing Issues
The purpose of this thesis was to analyse whether the scope and approach being taken to
develop an environmental management plan for the Bras d’Or lake and its watershed is
broad enough to address the environmental issues identified for this area
This State of the Environment (SOE) report focuses on the physical and chemical aspects of the waterscape that defines the 2512 km Watershed flowing into the Bras d’Or Lakes. It defines the State of that environment.
The Development Standards for the Bras d’Or Watershed Report and Best Practices handbook were created to address land use and development issues that have the potential to impact the integrity of the Bras d'Or Lakes ecosystem.
The Spirit of the Lakes Speaks is a document created by the Bras d’Or Lakes Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative [CEPI] with a vision for the protection and sustainability of the Bras d’Or Lakes and its watershed.
This document is a process plan for individuals and governments who live and work in the Bras d’Or Lakes watershed. It introduces the Lakes as a living entity that generates feelings in people, and supports them in many ways.
It provides a way forward for municipal, provincial and federal governments and the Mi’kmaq of Unama’ki to maintain the trust, transparency, harmony and cooperation established among themselves while discharging their various mandates in the protection, maintenance, and enhancement of the Bras d’Or Lakes watershed.
Environmental Design and Management prepared this handbook to summarize initiatives for water resource protection to be considered by the municipalities with jurisdiction over portions of the Bras d’Or Lakes Watershed. These initiatives are recommended in our report Bras d’Or Lakes Development Standards prepared for the Bras d’Or Lakes Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative (CEPI). The report presents the results of our extensive study of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for water resource protection in the Bras d’Or Lakes. The focus of our study was on approaches to protection of water resources that could be implemented at the local level through management and regulation of land development. The study concentrated on four key groups of initiatives:
• Suitability of Lands for Development (see p. 2, below)
• Watercourse Buffers (p. 3)
• Wastewater Management Districts (p. 6)
• Low Impact Development (p. 7).
The handbook summarizes recommendations related to each area. For each recommendation the handbook provides proposed municipal policy suitable for incorporation in a Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) along with implementation approaches. MPS policy is most often implemented through a Land Use Bylaw (LUB) regulating land development and construction within a designated planning area.
We call the Bras d’Or Lakes golden because they are beautiful, rare and precious. The CEPI Stewardship Booklet provides practical ways that you can help keep our waters clean.
Following the recommendations in this pamphlet will help to ensure the health of the Bras d’Or Lakes. The recommendations are based on the Development Standards Report and the Development Standards Handbook created by the Bras d'Or Lakes Collaborative
Environmental Planning Initiative (CEPI) to provide best management practices to protect the Bras d’Or Lakes shoreline.
This short video introduces the concept of climate change and why it is an important consideration for the CEPI Management Plan.
This 30 second video explains why forest management matters to the health of the Bras d’Or Lakes.
This short video talks about the MSX virus and how invasive species effect the Bras d’Or Lakes watershed.
This 30 second video explains why the Bras d’Or is a no discharge area, so our waters can stay clean.
This 30 second video introduces the concept of land use around the Bras d’Or and why it is an important part of keeping our ecosystem healthy.
This 30 second video explains the goal of creating a management plan for the Bras d’Or Lakes through collaboration.
This short video introduces the concept of two-eyed seeing.
The Bras d’Or Lakes are unique, do you know why? In this video we share a few reasons why the Bras d’Or Lakes are Golden.
Water quality is measured in many different ways. For the purpose of this report, marine water quality of the Bras d’Or Lakes will be discussed under three subtopics for each of the sub-watershed areas:
I. Bacteriological water quality
II. Chemical water quality
This document will look at these factors in isolation in an attempt to determine the current water quality of the Bras d’Or Lakes. This report will go beyond a simple description of the lake ecosystem by using an integrated approach to provide factual information for subtopics I to III under the headings of:
• state (condition of the environment and changes);
• impacts (changes to the environment);
• driving forces (activities that result in pressure);
• pressures (human pressure on the environment);
• responses (actions taken by society to prevent and/or to change negative impacts).