The Lighthouse Beach Study: A Collaborative, Student-led Environmental Assessment

These students had the “job” working on a sunny white-sand beach through the month of August! Acadia student researcher, Baillie Holmes, worked alongside members of Pictou Landing First Nation to complete a preliminary environmental risk assessment of Lighthouse Beach (near New Glasgow, NS). The barrier beach is down shore from the outlet of Boat Harbour, a pulp mill waste-water treatment lagoon destined for remediation. As such, activities happening in Boat Harbour in the coming years have the potential to impact this barrier beach due to proximity and transport of material via shoreline currents.

The goal of this collaboration was to gather information regarding current and past social and environmental conditions of the beach.  This included: how sediment accumulates and what effects this process, gathering an inventory of vegetation, shells and animals living on or around the beach, water quality testing in the lagoon, and consideration for community uses and value both historically and contemporarily. The report produced from the initiative will give the Boat Harbour remediation managers baseline information regarding beach conditions. Furthermore, this information sets the stage for more research at Lighthouse Beach by identifying what elements of the beach system warrant further study.

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