Watershed Study

The Mattatall Lake Watershed encloses a flat lying region of numerous streams that empty into the lake (map from Nguyen-Quang et al., 2016). Since the Lake is shallow and its watershed has a much larger area relative to that of the lake itself, the watershed is particularly sensitive to logging activity that can increase nutrient and sediment input.

The recent Google Earth Engine timelapse images allowed us a detailed look at the logging of this area from 1984 to 2016 (click to advance each year).

A summary image (map) shows that

  • Logging activity has increased significantly from low levels of smaller plots in the 1980’s and early 1990’s
  • In the mid-to-late 1990’s clear cutting of much larger plots began.
  • This increased in the 2000’s and 2010’s with large cuts in 2001, 2005, 2007, 2014 and 2015.
  • Over 60% of watershed has now been logged not including one additional plot that was logged in 2018.

The good news is that all of the available woodlots have now been recently logged, so there should be a relatively long gap before logging might start again. In addition, the NS Dept of Environment has assured us that no spraying of Glyphosate, which is often sprayed several years following logging in order to reduce growth of unwanted brush, will not be allowed within the watershed.