Clearcutting threatens Mattatal Lake

mattlakeIn a Letter to the Editor (CH), Rick Parker of the Mattatall Lake Stewardship Board, writes: “In the watershed around Mattatall Lake, upwards of 60 per cent of the woodland, both private and Crown, has been clear cut, causing streams to become heavily silted. Our lake has experienced serious algae blooms for the past three years. Last winter, we asked senior DOE and DNR staff, woodlot owners and foresters to defer a proposed clearcutting of a further 300 acres until we better understood the algae causes and worked with all stakeholders in finding possible solutions. There was no support for our request and the clearcut took place.”

Earlier, tests indicated increased nutrient levels in the lake were not due to possibly malfunctioning septic systems (Truro Daily News, Aug 30, 2016)

Let’s get serious, on Crown land or private, urban or rural, there should be significant restrictions on clearcutting, for many reasons. In this case the cutting could have been selective cutting or at least conducted as a series of staged, smaller scale clearcuts. Water monitoring should be required before and after clearcuts and land owners held responsible for any demonstrated ill-effects of clearcuts on water quality and aquatic habitats. If that adds to the costs of clearcutting, so be it. As it stands, we are all paying for the indirect costs of clearcutting, and wildlife suffers in silence.

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