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Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site of Canada

Freshwater Habitats

Lakes and Rivers

Keji Lake Islands Keji Lake islands
© Parks Canada/P. Hope

Mersey River Mersey River
© Parks Canada/P. Hope

Kejimkujik inland contains 46 lakes and ponds and more than 30 streams and rivers, most of which are part of the Mersey River watershed. Originating north of the park, this watershed is the largest in Nova Scotia. Kejimkujik’s lakes and smooth-flowing rivers are largely a result of the last glaciation and make up approximately 15 percent of the park’s area. Park lakes have a natural, low-mineral content and therefore exhibit a high sensitivity to acidity. Most lakes have shallow, dark brown, acidic, seasonally warm water, with intervening rivers, still waters, and streams.

Atlantic Coastal Plain flora (which includes the threatened Water-pennywort), the threatened Northern ribbonsnake, and the endangered Blanding’s turtle are found along the shorelines of Kejimkujik inland’s freshwater ecosystems. Warm-water fish species such as Yellow perch, White perch, and Brown bullhead are distributed throughout, while Brook trout, which prefer colder water, seek spring up-wellings and deeper lakes to escape high summer water temperatures. Common loons nest on the shorelines of many of the larger lakes.

Dark Waters

Toes in dark waters Toes in dark waters
© Parks Canada/P. Jefferson Hopper

Approximately 12 percent of Kejimkujik consists of fresh water. The dark waters of these lakes and rivers have an intriguing story to tell. Most of the water comes from run-off. Kejimkujik’s slate, quartzite and granite rocks are hard and unyielding. This means that the waterways have few natural minerals. With so few nutrients, the productivity, or ability of the waters to support life, is very poor.