Projects and Reports
Is Light Pollution an Issue in Kingsburg?
From time to time issues that affect residents of Kingsburg emerge and people raise them at community meetings and with members of the KCA Board. If an issue affects a significant part of the community the KCA then determines an appropriate response.
We wonder if light levels in the community is becoming such an issue. As the population becomes denser, lighting around our homes affects more people and nocturnal wildlife. Light pollution erodes the dark skies that allow us to see the galaxies. At the same time, many of us recognise the sometimes anxious scramble for the keys in the dark. In addition, public street lighting, put in place for security and safety, may have unintended consequences.
The KCA came into being to make this already welcoming community, a better place. So, we would like to understand how light and lighting decisions are affecting you and if it might be useful to start a conversation about balancing community and individual needs for light. For example, how to balance the need for security with maintaining access to dark skies.
Think back to the summer, and any experiences you had that were affected by lights. Did lights shine into your windows, and affect sleep, for instance? Perhaps you felt insecure coming home late at night?
Then let us know if it would be useful to have a community conversation about what represents a good balance of individual needs and community needs. You can get in touch with us at the email addresses below.
Perhaps a practical first step is to look at our own lighting. If it is time to replace lighting consider using lights that shield light dispersal, by directing it down, and focusing on a narrow area. This avoids bright light shining into our neighbours’ spaces or windows. Motion sensors also minimise impact by switching off after a few minutes. Warm light bulbs, rather than bright white are kinder to the environment (just as indoors they are kinder to our faces). The KCA website has information and illustrations of shielded lights KCA further information.
We look forward to hearing from you.
KCA Environment Committee
Anne Foster Worlock firstname.lastname@example.org
Debora Walsh DLTWalsh@gmail.com
Reducing Light Pollution – It’s the Neighbourly Thing to Do
At one time or another, each of us has stepped into a clear, moonless night, looked up, and marvelled at the night sky. Modern society has made it harder to get away from urban glare, so those awesome night skies are fewer and further between. In Kingsburg, we are lucky enough to be fairly sheltered from urban light, but there are things we all can do to minimize local glare.
Some outdoor lighting is needed but unnecessary lighting wastes energy and limits others’ enjoyment of the night sky. To minimize the harmful effects of light pollution on neighbours and wild life, outdoor lighting should:
Only be on when needed… Consider using timers or motion detectors. Is that light doing any good when you are in bed?
Only light the area that needs it… Limit the lit space to the area that really needs it.
Be no brighter than necessary… Cool white and high wattage bulbs are much brighter. Think about lowering the wattage and using ‘warm white’ bulbs. [For techies… bulbs rating 3000K or less are best.] Remember - you aren’t reading a book out there at midnight!
Be fully shielded… An exposed bulb, or omnidirectional fixture is visible for thousands of meters. Shielding the light so that it only points towards the ground is easy to do, and minimizes the impact on others.
On the reverse side, you will find a visual guide, developed by the International Dark Sky Association [www.darksky.org] to understand the differences between unshielded fixtures and shielded fixtures that minimize sky-glow, glare and light trespass.
So, please Tune In and Turn Off! It’s the neighbourly thing to do!
Interested in reading more? Check out www.darksky.org or http://cescos.fau.edu/observatory/lightpol.html.
Water Quality in Ponds
At the AGM, Ted Price advised that the Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation (Coastal Action) had been contracted by the KCA to test the water quality of Kingsburg, Hirtle and Romkey Ponds primarily due to concerns regarding possible bacterial contamination and safety of recreational users. On September 1, 2017 Coastal Action collected water samples and water quality data from the three ponds with the assistance of KCA members. The KCA Board reviewed Coastal Action’s report on the findings and summary version of the report is as follows:
Report on Water Quality Monitoring in Kingsburg, Hirtles, and Romkey Ponds
In response to association members’ concerns tabled at the August 2016 Kingsburg Community Association (KCA)AGM, the board decided to test the quality of the water in the Kingsburg, Hirtles and Romkey Ponds. To ensure a professional and independent assessment, the board engaged Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation (Coastal Action) to undertake the water quality testing.
Coastal Action’s sampling of the ponds was done on September 1, 2017. The report was submitted to the KCA Board and has been reviewed and accepted.
Supported by KCA members Ted Price, John Duckworth and Richard Brown, Coastal Action collected water samples and in situ water quality data from two locations in each of Kingsburg, Hirtles, and Romkey Ponds. Samples were analysed at an accredited laboratory for E. coli, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus and compared to established guidelines.
Key Report Findings
In considering the findings of the report the reader should be aware that the results are based on limited tests: two locations in each pond on one day. A more definitive statement on the health of the ponds would require additional, and in some cases, ongoing monitoring. Readers wanting further details on this assessment should read the entire report which can be found on the KCA website (insert a link to the website)
· All three ponds are generally healthy with Hirtles Pond appearing to be the healthiest of the three
· On the test day, E. Coli levels were within acceptable levels for all forms of water recreation
· Dissolved oxygen concentrations meet the guidelines for protecting the health of aquatic organisms
· While levels are within guidelines, there is some evidence of nutrient loading in Kingsburg and Romkey Ponds. Excessive nitrogen (important for brackish water) and total phosphorous (important for fresh water) can impact oxygen depletion.
Particular to Kingsburg Pond
· Water is slightly brackish
· Pond exhibits some signs of cultural eutrophication (resulting from human activities); excessive nutrient loading is a concern
· Significant plant biomass does pose risk to dissolved oxygen levels which could lead to fish kills and unpleasant odours
· Total phosphorus did not exceed established guidelines
· Nitrogen concentrations, while elevated, did not exceed the guideline
· The pond does display signs of excessive nutrient loadin
Particular to Hirtles Pond
· Water is slightly brackish
· Total phosphorus and nitrogen did not exceed established guidelines
Particular to Romkey Pond
· Water is fresh
· Total phosphorus is elevated
· Nitrogen concentration is approaching an exceedance
Coastal Action has made recommendations for protecting the water quality and habitat health of Kingsburg, Hirtles and Romkey Ponds. These include very specific actions to reduce nutrient loading (e.g. investigation of malfunctioning septic systems and use of straight pipe systems), additional testing for bacteria in the summer months to monitor quality, and eliminating the use of chemicals and fertilizers (see full report for detailed list).
Next Steps for KCA
· The KCA Board will meet with Coastal Action in December to review their findings in detail and then develop a KCA action plan. Once that action plan is decided, we will share it with KCA members.
Ted Price and Debora Walsh
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