Three StreamsThe Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources is developing a comprehensive report describing the state of the Bras d’Or Lakes that can be used as reference for governments, managers, resource planners, academia, the tourism sector and the general public as a citable source of quality, relevant and current information on multiple aspects on the Bras d’Or Lakes and their watershed. It is anticipated that the report will contribute to the long-term sustainability and health of the Bras d’Or Lakes ecosystem by providing the users and managers of the Lakes with relevant science-based information to assist in the decision-making process and create awareness of the state of the Bras d’Or Lakes for the general public. It can also enhance curriculum in schools to educate the youth of Cape Breton.

The report will be presented in a manner that is easily comprehensible by non-scientific readers and in topic-specific modules, such as water quality, invasive species, etc. Our approach is to complete the report one module at a time and concentrate our efforts to address the environmental concern that was identified as the having the most priority –water quality in the Bras d’Or Lakes.

At this time, the background report for the water quality module is completed and we intend to develop a more useful and condensed module for the decision-makers and general public. The background report follows the state-impacts-responses-driving force-pressure format that is internationally sanctioned for use in many environmental reports in the European Union. It applies a unique approach to communicate information on the condition of the environment (state) and how it is interconnected with changes observed in the environment (impact) and human involvement, both negative (driving force and pressure) and positive (response).

From UINR Marten, Issue 1, Vol. 1, Fall 2005