|No part of Nova Scotia is more than 50 kilometres distant from salt water. Three-quarters of the population is
situated within 10 kilometres of te Atlantic Ocean, the Northumberland
Strait, the Gulf of Maine or a smaller embayment of one of these.
The shoreline is extremely variable and can be very irregular. Major
exceptions are the long strait coasts seen along parts of the
Northumberland Strait, northern Cape Breton and the part of the Bay of
Fundy paralleld by the North Mountain.
The Atlantic coasts of Nova Scotia are all varied and irregular in form. One thing all the castlines have in common is there recent submergence. The main outlines of the land were established by erosion of the land surface and then by a general change in sea levels which flooded the lowlands. This created may shallow bays, cut off headlands alienating them as islands, and in places, like North Mountain,raised the water against inland escarpments creating those high, straight areas of the coast. Back in the 1982, the worldwide rise in sea level was given as "as much as one mm per year", but the century was not over, and during that time there were wide fluctuations. It is currently pegged at 0.8 to 3.3 mm/yr, with an average rate of 1.8 mm/yr. That said, the situation here has always been more extreme at this coast.
This map shows the variations in areas of rebound following glaciation( estimates are in metres). Red coloured areas were deepest buried in ice and are stil bouncing back; green areas have slowed down in their response to the relief of that former overburden. Nova Scotia is largely in a stable or negative position. Eastern Prince Edward Island is still dipping downward into the ocean. All parts of Nova Scotia appear to have seen some subsidence over the past several thousand years. The coasts of the Minas and Cumberland basins, at the head of the Bay of Fundy have coastlines that have subsided about 12 metres in the past 4,000 years.
H, Halifax estuary; M, St. Margarets Bay; MB, Mahone Bay; L., Lunenburg Bay; second H, La Have River estuary. The Bay of Fundy was deeped by ice flowing across or down its length. In the southwest where ice flowed downward between rather than across ridges, it also deepened them creating length fjordlikevalleys, like those found along the central part of the coast of Maine. Salt marshes characterize the end of river valleys where they open on the ocean. Bays are characterized by mouths wider than the ir inland depth.
Location is west of Halifax. Those drumlins which accumulated at various places along the Atlantic coast, along with various thicknesses of ground moraine, and outwash products of dands and gravels gave Nova Scotia a source of beach material. As wave action assorted this material by size and weight it was thrust up upon shores of islands and the mainland and is partly responsible for creating the numerous beaches, spits and sandbars seen today. Another limited source of supply has been quartz sand washed by sun-aerial erosion from the faces of exposed granite. More important was silt and sand carried landward after glacial deposition on the Scotia Shelf. It was spread on the land when the sea flooded some areas during the post-glacial period.
The coastline can be seen as divisible into emergent and submergent areas, Post-glacial land rise parallel to a pivot line draw roughly between Yarmouth and Truro has seen land rise to the north, From Yarmouth to Scatarie Isalnd, the Atlantic Coast has been almost continuously submerged as sea levels have risen. That emergent shore has unique features such as ancient beaches raised above sea-level, wave-cut platforms on dry land, and a smooth faced shoreline. By contrast, the submergent shore is a zig-zagged, irregular place, with drowned forests, estuaries and islands, eroding headlands, tidal marshes, and beaches piled up in deep embayments due to tidal and wave action.
Relative to the Atlantic coast the Fundy coast does not have much in the way of fine sand beaches. The silt that washes ashore forms red tidal mudflats while what beaches develop down the slope from North Mountain are usually ground up basalt. These cliff faces do erode but not with the rapidty of soft sediments, sandstones, and siltstones.
In contrast the hills of Lunenburg are modest in height and not precipitous. In a few sheltered places drumlin headlands are in a youthful state (diagram, top, left). In middle age, they are planed off vertically by offshore currents, wind and waves. Erosion and weathering tends to produce cliffs with relatively straight faces. Materials lost from sedimentary structures is deposited along in protected areas and at the heads of bays (centre diagram). Islands are all worn away to some extend, and the most exposed become shoals beneath the tides. Ultimately, wide sweeping beaches will be pushed back further still and bars and spits somestimes developing into a barrier beach cutting off inland waters from direct contact with the ocean. This is the situation seen above at Crescent Beach which attaches some of the "La Have Islands", to the mainland. In maturity (illustration at right), beaches will be much narrower than previously and at high tide, waves will completely submerge the sand, bringing waves to the foot of cliffs, hastening their complete disollution.These are backed by swarms of inland drumlins which in turn become drowned headlands as the water rises.
Blue Rocks, Lunenburg peninsula following a major storm at sea. From a swimmers point of view, tidal currents seem a potent force, and the rise and fall of the tides has input, but in both cases geographers say, "their actions are often local and" and confined to narrow tidal inlets. The tides sometimes widen beach margins but it is the ceaseless action of wind-driven waves in water, especially storm waves, which eat away headlands. Even with hard rock, these waves have the capacity to erode cliffs and heqdlands, drag materials down beach and tumble it until it ultimately becomes sediment. It is offshore currents paralleling headlands which grab up the finer material and deposit it creating beaches. However, waves are the destructive force, which is relentless in seeking to create a relatively straight coastline.
If you are a surfer you know all about Nova Scotia Surf Repurts and Surf Forecasts. Hurricane season, from August to November, corresponds with consistent surf affecting our Atlantic coast. A distant storm will generate higher waves over the open ocean and its crests will be further apart. Swells need a large body of deep water to develop and travel rapidly. They can travel a long distance but reach the shore as a swell, a type of wave which may be seen even in fine weather. By contrast a chop or choppy wave can be whipped up in any body of water where there is wind, travelling slowly and disippating quickly. There is often a swell present in many places of the ocean and surfers follow them. Above, part of a typical Mid-Atlantic Swell Chart.
The waves on the east coast of North America are typically smaller than those on the west. Out there, the pervailing winds are from the west and high swells arise in the long fetch. "The size of swells depend upon the strength of winds, their duration and Fetch which is the distance of surface water that winds have interaction with before you observe it locally." - Stephen Vandale, Licensed Master Mariner. Here, winds are more varaible and quite often blow off the land. The most interesting swells come at, or following, the presence of a nearby tropical storm. In winter our most dreaded storms approach from the east ad shift into the north, ending in te north west. Once those long distance waves have been generated from a storm centre, they may travel for hundreds of kilometres losing little potential energy on the way to shore.
Out in mid ocean when the wind blows it stirs up water creating "orbital progression waves." Water molecules take on energy from moving wind and circle about, wit the situation spreading outward and becoming repetitive. They progress up the wave from from a resting state to a crest position and then down into a trough. The surface of the wave moves up and down, perpendicular to the driection in which the wave moves. The stronger the wind the more it pushes water. Wind blowing for days can give rise to white caps. These eventually predict the formation of large waves, which is why surf conditions are often good after a storm at sea. The rotational shape changes when a wave comes ashore because of bottom drag. A breaking wave produces surf. Maverick waves off the west coast have been known to reach 50 feet in height.
Coastal scientists say that waves approaching shore take on steepened crests and wider troughs, reflecting the fact that water molecules at the wave front are moving more rapidly than those at depth. With a boost from wind, larger waves may show shoreward movement which "amount to a as much as a kiolmetre or two per hour. This"creep of the water forces it to escape in the formof currents parallel to the shore." But the important point here is the fact that waves spill offshore on a gently sloping beach or break on steeper beaches like those at Peggys Cove in Halifax County. Two types are defined by these media photos: The plunging waves, break on beaches which are moderately steep. In some instances, these can produce internal air-filled tunnels. Surging waves occur on very steep beaches, where waves roll up the face rather than breaking over it. Both forms are erosive.
The configuration of the land being what it is you can see both plunging and surging breakers in Peggys Cove Harbour (front view). As we have said, as a wave approaches hore, it commences to "feel drag" wit the bottom when the depth of the water is one-half the wave length. "A swell with crests 60 metres apart will "feel" the bottom at 30 metres. The wave now begins to slow down but the time of arrival betweeen waves does not change. That means that crests of subsequent waves crowd together, like a line of cars approaching a traffic light. The energy of each wave formerly shared between orbiting molecules in a deep column of water, now becomes concentrated in a merged wave. The top rises higher, and molecules of water rotate faster, until chaos results and the wave "breaks." While there are two main types of breaking waves there are all kinds of intermediate types.
Plunging breakers occur when large swellsrun into a bottom which rises steeply to the shore, which is the case at Peggys when the tide is high. At the face of the mave goes vertical, the active water particles at the crest shoot forward and fall in a graceful arc. The entirewave then breaks suddenly and collpases with a sudden release of energy and a booming roar. This is an excavator wave. Pebbles and small stones can be plucked from the bottom in the turbulence and carried to the wave crest where they are released with great force against the shoreline. While surfers like to play in such wave fronts they stick with fine sand beaches for obvious reasons.
A plunging breaker at work. Great shock pressures are created when a breaking wave manages to trap a thin pocket of air. For starters, underwater, the water surrounding any disturbance does not absorb pressure as air can do, but transmits it. As a result pressure can be transmitted over long distances with undiminished intensity. When breaking waves carry air pockets an ernormous pressure can be exerted, which geophysists have calculated my be as much as 400,000 kilograms per square metre.
"This may exist for only a small fraction of a second but its power can be extremely effective. The air may be forced into small crevices between the rocks and large blocks amounting to a thousand kilograms or more in weight may be literally quarried out from the face of a cliff. Waves plungings against a breakwater or a seawakk may thus move huge boulders or break up concrete structures."
- Albert E. Ronald. The granite at Peggys Cove is strongly jointed and stress in these openings is the result of compressed air suddenly expanding there. Above these cliffs, the granite is smooth and rounded, but on the wave cut platform of the upper beach, below the cliff face, it can be angular and there is a lot of debris. Some of it was dropped as glacial remains, but there is also known that blocks have been jimmied out of the cliff by wave action.
Waves are generated by wind, which can have constructive as well as destructive aspects. The growing interest in wind farms to collect and harness electrical power, has led to the recent creation of the Nova Scotia Wind Atlas (free on line). This general map, which is interactive on the homepage, allows for generalities. Red and orange areas receive most of the wind and these are essentially in highland regions which are basically windy most of the year. On the other hand the coastal lowlands around Yarmouth in the southwest have few buffers against wind and are good places to locate wind turbines.
One can zoom in on any portion of Nova Scotia. In the southwest any peninsula jutting out int the ocen is prime wind farming country. Offshore islands, which have virtually no protection from this element because of humna or natural barriers are still better locations, Dark green areas are decidedly not so good.
The Town of Mahone Bay squeezed between headlands and buffered from winds by those barrier drumlin islands is a poor bet for generating its own electricity, which it gets from turbines in the Minas Basin area. That is not to suggest that it is always a place of atmospheric calm, it is just that persistent high winds are not consistent. Forests and buildings cut down on turbulence, and some parts of town have hillsides as additional barriers. All this means that wind and associated wave erosion is a bit slower in this area, but Mahone Bay is prone to flooding for a variety of other reasons.
Rod's photos follow: Beaches are created from available products of weathering by erosion. Waves coming in directly upon a shore line are, in this instance, moderated by barrier islands and shoals and encounter a gradual slope at the headwaters where this photo was taken. That means that the break down of rock debris is gradual and sorting of materials by size is slow. In a normal situation sands and gravels carried into a bay are thrown forward by the swash of waves as they run up the beach. However, once waves have met the land, they run back down the beach as backwash. Where there is a gentle slope there is a tendency material to pile up near the coast so that the beach becomes steeper. If the profile gets to be too steep, plunging waves will form and backwash will drag material seaward creating a bottom "profile of equilbrium."
However, in this case the danger of flooding ecouraged the powers-that-be to raise street levels, and this caused wave plunge. Rock barriers were emplaced to to stop consequent weathering. If there ever were fine sand swimming beaches in town they are no more. Beyond that thin rim of gravel, there is mucky mud thanks to run off from the land and two streams. This is as good as it gets just south of the Civic Marina and Mahone Bay "Resort." There is no rush of residents to bathe there but ship-bosrd visitors have been seen swimmings and paddle boarding. Blunenose Coastal Action warns that there is "fecal and petroleum contamination" here and that there is only provision for 20 boats to "pump-out."
Lunenburg County does have fine sand beaches in areas where sorting does go on apace and there are no interfering headlands, islands or underwater impediments to the process. This is a portion of Crescent Beach Beach near the mouth of the La Have River, which is about an hour distant from Mahone Bay. There are constructive and destructive waves here as there are elsewhere. The destructive ones are those plunging breakers. Spilling breakers are smaller and often march in in succession. They build up beach sand. The baddies often come as winter storms when the wind comes in from the north east and aids high tides and high crested waves in sweeping beach sand seaward. Just noted: Lunenburg County has more fine sand beaches than any other part of Nova Scotia.
The profile of a more typical beach can be divided into these zones. The foreshore is the part where inward swash and outward backwash take place. It is the intertidal zone between high and low water, and its width is governed by tidal range and the steepness of the slope. In the above case, the foreshore is very broad. In the offshore there is commonly a trough created where water moves turbulently when waves break over an offshore bar at low tide. Even large particles of material get rotated about here and are deposited eithe landward or seaward depending on which way the water is moving. That longshore bar can be exposed in the lowest spring tides, but further out the profile steepens. The berm is the upper beach, which can be markedly altered by storm events.
During any violent storm, or in winter, destructive waves mess up the backshore, which may be backed by land. In the case of Cresent Beach there is a lagoon north of the berm. As the nature of waves changes in other times and seasons this are will usually be restored and the underwater profile will be smoothed out.
Cherry Hill Beach is at the extreme western end of the county near Voglers Cove. The majority of beaches hereabouts are sand beaches; however in other exposed areas, shingle (flat stone), cobble, gravel or pebble beaches are formed. This occurs where stong winds with a long fetch predominate and where there is a good supply of some alternate material. Large waves can fling piles of this stuff ashore making a steep sloping beach as much as five metres in height. Beaches of this sort can "sing" when the surf is turbulent.
These two beaches are not far distant, to the east. Rissers Beach has full facilities but has price tags. Crescent Beach is a community on the mainland which takes its name from that sand bar which is termed a tombolo since it attached that place to Georges Island. It is a very public beach with no commercial strings attached, so it is where most ocals go wading or clam-digging (in the lagoon area). Those white lines are roads and the islands are inhabited. The roadways are on the back portion of the berm, which lies lareglr south of it.
Here is how it looks on a nice summer day. Crescent Beach is a 2 kilometres long and 40 to 65 metres wide crescent-shaped, with white sand, not far from the community of LaHave and the town of Lunenburg. The ;ong berm paralleling the beach is below those power poles. Great wading country but Rissers Beach, being a little less open to wind, has calmer, warmer waters, but then it is liable to more foggy days. In is unique in that powered vehicles from motorcycles, cars and trucks are allowed to park on the sand as seen above.
The only entrance to the beach is at the west end where sand dunes rise to a height of about 2 metres above high tide level (determined) by wet sand and that fringe of cast 0ff seaweeds. The dunes rise gradually to 6.8 metres at the east end near Georges island. Windsurfers do prefer this area as a marine playground, but work out in insulated suits.
This is a situation where the upper beach fronts on sand dunes. Since the dunes and its life forms are fragile a wooden fence has existed to keep people off that area since the 1930s. Dunes constitute mounds or ridges of sand or other loose sediment moved by the wind. Vertical heights are exaggerated. A scarp is a relatively steep incline usually separating levelled areas of different elevation. Roadways were constructed between front and back dunes.
This damage caused by water over-riding the dunes is a recurrent problem patrly cuased by the fact that shorelines here are submerging as the sea level rises. In protected areas berms and dunes do not rise as high as they do in exposed regions. The reworking of these features can be sudden where there are unexpected changes in wind intensity and direction or where currents alter unexpectedly.
This photo shows newly repaired fencing. Realizing that is was inadeqaute, huge bounders were placed on the side north of the beach. This view is at the far eastern end of Crescent Beach, which is pretty much deserted after the warm months. Other Lunenburg County beaches have seen as much or more damage over the years.
West La Have is another small community a few minutes north of Dublin Bay and Crescent Beach. No facilities but people do swim in the the La Have River, but they shouldn't considering that a lot of human sewage is iped stright into these waters. Of course recent tests have shown that this is relatively safe compared with Lunenburg Harbour.
Hirtles Beach is also directly open to the Atlantic Ocean but is located adjacent to the east side of the La Have River,south of tat last location. That places it closer Mahone Bay by way of the byway through Rose Bay. The big news there following Hurricane Noel was the recreation of Hirtles Pond as a salt water body when the dunes were penetrated. This beach provides yet another cold water experience which might not appeal to every bather.
Feltzen Cove which is a local swimming holehas no changing rooms or commodious outhouses like Hirtle's Beach, but Lunenburg town stands directly across Lunenburg Bay in this photo, and it is shallow and ut of the wind, hence no appreciable dunes, especially along this stretch within an enclosed cove. We used to come here regularly when we lived at First South, 12 minutes in the direction of town. Tourists are siphoned off at the Ovens Beach, which is privately owned and is also located on the Feltzen peninsula.
That Map on the left shows the north of Feltzens land mass at the bottom, and our old home for two and a half years on the right hand map (red dot). Google was getting places misplaced back then . It was actually not near our homestead but on Puffycup Cove on the outskirts of Lunenburg township. As you can see, it has a barrier beach isolating Lunenburg Bay from Masons Pond. A causeway connecting Corkums Island with the mainland in the last century, stopped natural water circulation and turned Upper South Cove into something of a sewer. The other side of that barrier is relatively pristine, but...
Here is Masons Beach. Lunenburg was on the far side of that hill. Some fine sand is still found in the dunes to the left, but there is to feeder of sediments to renew the beach surface which has no swimming potential
If it did, we could get there from Mahone Bay in about 20 minutes.
This was the prime bathing and camping country two minutes from town during the Victorian are and afterwards until the beach was mined for construction materials in the last century. This encampment would have been on the dune between the beach and the road. The growth of vegetation here is sparse and wind-blown today as trees are absent to firm up the sandy soil.
How about a warm water dip closer the Town of Mahone Bay? Our place (orange dot) is four minutes from the community of Maders Cove. Westhaver Beach is on the Maders Cove road, a little and not an over populated recreational place as it is on back roads and virtually unknown. It is probably clear of coliform bacteria, but there is no brushwork to allow for changing clothing for a day on the sand. Second Peninsula's Sandy Cove which encloses Bachmans Beach and protects if from the prevailing wind has better parking, warmer waters and places where one could manage a quick chang of clothing. There are lots of bathing beaches between aside from these two possibilities but all are privately owned. In the other direction, salt water pools at Hotel Atlantic and outdoors at Chester are available but there are entry fees. There is a free fresh water pool in Mahone Bay but its "owned" by the kiddie set.
Bachmans Beach on Sandy Cove, Second peninulas is our first choice. There is a lot of empty beach here even when a "crowd" shows up on a really warm weekend. A walk along the beach at right gives a view of Strums Island and the other drumlin islands in Mahone Harbour and Mahone Bay proper. This beach is also crescent-shaped and has about 300 metres of fine sand backed by grass covered dunes. Shallow with very clear water. Not all of the beach is clear of stones but one can walk for about a kilometre in either direction from here.
This small beach is a six minute trip from home and has quick and easy access to the Maders Cove Road Beach, sometimes called Westhavers Beach. The intertidal areais stoney but at full tide it is a great place for a quick dip or use as a leg and arm cooler. This beach has an elevation of 5 metres and is within viewing distance of Westhaver Island and light. Westhaver Lane is a diversion to the left of this road leading to Maders Cove.
This view at the head of Mahone Harbour shows how close Main Street and Edgewater Street are to a fickle coast. Most of the time, the tides are restrained enough to keep water from flooding the land. The ebb and flow of tides is about two or three metres in most places along the Atlantic coast. Here the largest recorded range has been 2.17 metres so far. However a storm surge, storm flood or storm tide can drive rising waters beyond the expected norm. These events are driven by low atmospheric pressure weather systems, but the severity of effect of a hurricane, sub-tropical storm, or a "perfect storm" depends on the orientation of an embayment to wind-driven water, theshallowness and shape of the basin, and the timing of the tides. In the past, Mahone Bay has been relatively lucky, but the harbour is a funnel which ends in with two smaller funnels squeezed between the hills.
That said we are only a hour distant from the Bay of Fundy. The size of that embayment and its funnels and the volume of water moved make for an even more risky situation. In addition waters in the Gulf of Maine and Fundy oscillate and this can reenforce lunar tides in some circumstances. Tidal currents up there enough to be weathering and erosive in their own right.Digby Gut handles one hundred billion cubic metres of water running through a drowned valley ranging from 25 to 50 metres in depth. So far that channel has been estimated to have deepened by 20 metres. The Minas Channel is an even more turbulent place, now scoured out to 120 metres of depth. There an opening only 5 kilometres wide sees water flowing at a mean tide speed of 16 kilometres per hour. Tides rush up adjacent rivers creating ocassional tidal bores where a river water piles up beyoond its containment cpacity. Constantly at work, Fundy rivers flood the bottoms and salt-grasse banks with mud.
These two photographs by Lawrence Coll show high and low tide at Five Isands within Minas Basin. Massive tidal flats develop as a result of this constant buildup and flushing action. In some places like this, the tide can move "faster than a walk". The tides here and on the coast of Maine are about three hours later than on the Atlantic coast. There is almost no difference between the phases of tide in eastern Cape Breton Island and southwestern Nova Scotia. Tides are seasonal and an effect of gravitational interactions between the earth, sun and moon. "At some times of the year the difference between high and low tide in this Bay is 16.3 meters, taller than a three-story building."
Pearson Prentice Hall has one of the best illustrations of that interplay: The moon, although smaller than the sun is much closer than this suggests and therefore has a stronger gravitational pull on the earth's waters When the sun and nmoon are in alignment (top), a spring tide exists in various locales as the world turns. A neap tide finds the moon situated at right-angles to the sun. The term "spring" has nothing to due with Springtime, but simply suggests the periodic "springing forth" of water. The composite spring tides can be 50 percent, or more, higher than neap tides which occur a week later. In our region a 0.85 metre neap tide may be followed a week later by one with a range of 1.74 metres. At Digby a 5 metre range might see an eight metre range just a little later. That would be a constant if the sun and earth described circular trajectories, but they don't.
As noted, the moon always has a greater attractive force but when they are both acting in complete concert. Because the earth and moon move in elliptical rather than circular orbits they exert different gravitational effects on water at different times in their passage.The earth is nearest the sun about January 2 and furtherest away about July 2. The highest tides on earth will therefore occur when the earth is at perihelon, its closest approach to the sun, and the moon at perigee, its closest approach to our planet. Tides will have about the same range midway between these dates. These factors being constant we we would have very predictable semidiurnal or twice-daily tides, but...
The plane of the moon's axis is 5º off that of the earth in addition to the above abberant behaviour and shape. The moon's monthly course is similar to the sun...
Let's not go there, except to say that during March and September the sun and moon, at times of the new and full moon, are near the equatorial plane of our planet, and daily tides are nearly equal. At the new moon of June, the sun and moon are north of the equator. At Mahone Bay, the high tide which occurs late in the day, will be higher than average and correspondingly lower than is common, 12 hours later, when we are on the night side of the "globe". The opposite takes place in December. These are known as diurnal tides, since there is only one high and one low per day. They are rare because the North Atlantic generates its own tides twice a day and these are the major influence on the coasts of Atlantic Canada.
High tide in the Anney River estuary, July, 2017. This stream is bridged toward the top of the picture, and separates Main Street South (left) from Edgewater Street. This is a tidal estuary, which acts much like a river drainage system but in reverse. The Anney-Anney or Maggie-Maggie or Ernst Brook is almost empty of water at most seasons of the year but this part is full of water at high tide, and sometimes overflows over the closest low lands. This kind of river gradually has steeper sides upriver and gradually diminishes in width fed by smaller divisions which are little more than tapering ditches, dry of water high in summer.
Rod's ground zero photo (2017) looking across the estuary from the bandstan area toward the Anglican church. This part of the "river" never goes completely dry. Embankments whether buttressed by stone or left to erode give place to woody shrubs whoses roots are tolerant of a quick wash of salt water. Tidal surge barriers have keep growing in height through the years. Take note of the public "restroom on the waterfront.
This photo taken from that buding's parking lot is a lower resolution web photo (2010). This shows the narrowing of the estuary in the vicinity of a road and pedestrian bridge.
There are walkways on both sides of this structure. Commercial buildings and a church crowd both sides of this waterway, which is probably not a "brook" or "creek" for the most part. Except at times of meltwater runoff or storm surge flood, you would not have to swim to get across it, so I would not term it a "river". Probably "stream" best defines it since it can be waded most of the year.
Also an eight year old photograph. That concrete was all twentieth century or earlier. There were more trees embracing this Anney at this time. Notice the lack of water west of the bridge. A few hours earlier this shallow bed would have been filled with salt water for a further distance upriver, and was destined for a refill with the second high tide of the day. The first steel bridge was erected here in 1902. Photos from that time show that the concrete was added later.
Geologist Ronald Gibert says that estuaries develop stabilized banks which became filled with "salt-tolerant grasses." He adds that larger channels above the estuary "are bare of vegetation and form regular meanders and oxbows as the tidal currents wear away the banks on one side and build up deposits on the the opposite one." In this case, that has been made an impossibility becuse of human intervention, which in times past, created this mini canal. There was not much loss of this old human infrastructure a decade or so ago. Salt water does not typically penetrate inland further than that small waterfall.
By 2013, the cookie was starting to crumble. Some of those stones which toppled into the stream bed were rubble walls underlying the concrete.Several downtown floods along with ice freezing and thawing episodes help to bring on potential problems, not yet fully realized.
2016. Before global warming started bringing on successive periods of freezing and thawing, there was much less abrasion of the sides and bottoms of this stream bed.
April 2017. There is a lot more debris floating down on seasonal flood waters and now there are these impediments to their passage.
At some point this stream will have to be cleared or the river will dam itself and waters will back up. Flooding can come from the landward as well as the seaward side of Mahone Bay.
In the age when water power was the norm, fresh water was collected behind dams and allowed to pass through turbines or water wheels when needed to support a wide variety of forestry and marine industries. Two dams were constructed on this waterway. The Ernst Brook designation appeared after James Ernst built a tannery on the river in 1866. After that it was sometimes termed Tanyard Brook or Upper Anney, which applied to that portion of the river flowing above the uppermost dam. Later a grist mill and carding mill were installed above that dam. James Ernst is seen on the older wooden Anney River bridge, second form the left.
A stone abutment is all that remains of a second wooden crossing of the river in the region above the second dam. It was largely hidden by woods until an apartment complex was built on the far side of the river in 2017-18. That millpond between the dams was actually a huge expanse of water in the area just behind the bridge. In winter, it was a popular place for ice skating.
The Mushamush River Estuary is northeast of the Anney, and marked the eastern boundary of the village. Oakland is governeed by the Lunenburg Municipal Districy. The Mushamush watershed is much more extensive than that serving the Anney and has been more extensively used and industrialized in the past two centuries.
This Victoria photograph looks back on those three churches from Clearland, looking down on the estuary and lumbering and associated milling operations. During the past two centuries, this river has been the site for numerous sawmills, gristmills, log drive operations, and dams to harness electrical power. In the fall of the first year of this century, Nova Scotia Power removed the last decommissioned dam in stages ending in 2005. This was an attemot to lessen the impact of contaminants on the lower river and the estuary.
This is a legitimate stream, which in certain seasons acts like a river. Some of the Kedy housing from the nineteenth century exists but nothing of yeir lumbering operations. The Dynamite Walking Trail is a former railroad bed. Attempts at reclaiming the Mushamush have gone ahead for more than a decade, but that is a watershed story.
The physical characteristics of the Mushamush River and watershed are not readily available in spite of all the remedial work done there. However here is a 1958 map I have colourized to emphasize the Mushamush systeM (M) allowing comparison with the La Have River (L) and Golden River (G) sheds. The La Have reaches further afieldbut the lakes backing the Mushamush River are larger although fewer in number. Maybe I'll find better references before taking a look at hydrology? I am aware of the Nova Scotia Watershed Assessment Atlas (1014).
This view overlooks the estuary near the bridge over the Mushamush River. Before that dam was removed there was a small salt marsh in this vicinity. There does not appear to be even a sprig of eel grass at present. but obviously marine plants and animals are present although not wildly abundant. Other regions of Mahone Bay proper are listed by ecological sources as have an abundance of this plant.
The water seems pristine on the land side of the bridge. A great deal of logging took place along the Clearland and Cornwall Roads in the former 300-acre pioneer "garden lots." Those bordering the Mushamush River used it to transport logs to the mills at Mahone Bay. An immigrant Scot named T.G. Nicol built a dam across the river in 1899, and constructed an eectrical power generation station which intially supplied the Town of Lunenburg and his part of Mahone Bay. In 1902 the Mahone Bay Light and Power Company lit up the entire village.
The estuary looking toward Oakand at almost the exact time of the 2017 mid-winter solstice. Notice that low-water projection of rocks and gravel which runs far out into the bay. The flats toward land are not as elevated an this is where a marsh would develop if the slope of land was not interrupted. On the other side of that rock pile is a channel which is never completely free of water.
Backing off from telephoto we see a vast expanse of tidal flat. That estuary channel has been excavated by the force of water pouring out from under the bridge at full flood. There has not been much ice here in recent winters, but blocks of river and estuarine ice must have helped the process. Plant life would, of course, be restricted in that fast lane. All that remains to be said is that where there are salt marsh wetlands. they are composed, on the Atlantic coast, by fine muddy materials brought down by rivers. That underwater "barrier reef" interfreres to a degree, but the erosin of steep hills and roadbeds compensates for the loss, although not all of this material is pollution free.
Since rivers and lakes are close at hand, it seems sensible to take a look at inland waterways as well as streams and rivers which are not easy to navigate. Hydrology is the scientific study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth and other planets. However we will be concerned with the water cycle, water resources and environmental watershed sustainability as it impacts Mahone Bay and surrounding regions. Click next!