Kate Sherren

Landscapes - People - Global change

Category: Coasts (page 1 of 6)

Biodiversity Act underway

A distinctly under-the-weather Iain Rankin, Minister for Lands and Forestry, rises to announce the Biodiversity Act in yesterday's media briefing.

A distinctly under-the-weather Iain Rankin, Minister for Lands and Forestry, rises to announce the Biodiversity Act in yesterday’s media briefing.

I enjoyed visiting Province House yesterday for the media briefing around the province’s new Biodiversity Act. As one of the three-member Biodiversity Council that has acted as advisors to the process since last year, it was very satisfying to join the Minister and Deputy Minister, as well as other staffers at Lands and Forestry. Nice also to get the support of Nature Conservancy Canada and the Ecology Action Centre. This Act fills critical gaps in our capacity to protect Nova Scotia’s ecosystems against known and as-yet-unknown challenges.

I faced my first media scrum after the briefing. I’m weighing up how to rank it on discomfort in comparison with the mammogram I had immediately before, but I survived. Some of the press from that scrum appeared on CBC and the Chronicle Herald (though the latter misspelled my surname), and since then I have done a little more (News 95.7 live interview). We missed the tabling of the Act yesterday, thanks to slow service at The Old Triangle, but this morning it had its second reading in the House. Minister Rankin included some of my comments in his address (see Hansard):

Mr. Speaker, I heard strong support for our bill from several key players in biodiversity. Dr. Kate Sherren, of Dalhousie University and a Biodiversity Council member, spoke yesterday during the bill briefing. She said the priority is to address current issues where there are gaps and to have a tool kit ready when they are needed. As she said, biodiversity is an engine of the ecosystem. We don’t know what we’ll be up against and we will need legislation to manage it.

I look forward to continuing with the Council as we hit the ground with regulatory priorities if this goes through.

Craig Smith from NCC enters the scrum I just left, March 14, 2019.

Craig Smith from NCC enters the scrum I just left, March 14, 2019.

OECD Rising Seas report release

OECD ad for new Rising Seas report

OECD ad for new Rising Seas report

Last summer I led the writing of a case study on an innovative coastal adaptation project underway in Truro, Nova Scotia, a place plagued by flooding for decades. A confluence of provincial department interests enabled collaboration on a dyke realignment and salt marsh restoration project in the absence of overarching climate adaptation or coastal protection policy. That case study was Canada’s contribution to an OECD report (featuring case studies also from New Zealand, Germany and the United Kingdom). That report , “Responding to Rising Seas: OECD Country Approaches to Tackling Coastal Risk“, was released this week with a webinar from Paris (slides here). I was proud that OECD’s Lisa Danielson, who also joined us in Halifax for our workshop on the case study last November, highlighted the Truro case during the session. The report features some excellent synthesis of learnings from the four case studies, as well as some novel analysis on cost-benefit ratios for adaptation action for the world’s coasts: sadly rural areas aren’t going to pay for themselves this way, so novel finance options will be needed.

OECD's Lisa Danielson speaks to the Truro case study at the Rising Seas webinar, March 6, 2019

OECD’s Lisa Danielson speaks to the Truro case study at the Rising Seas webinar, March 6, 2019

Talk for World Wetlands Day

Thanks to the folks at Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and the Dalhousie Biology graduate students for the invite to talk about the social aspects of salt marsh restoration yesterday at Dalhousie’s LSC. DUC’s Lee Millett led the way with a scientific backgrounder, and then I summarized a few studies of mine that help us understand the public (and thus) responses to salt marsh restoration. Nick Hill concluded with some preliminary analyses of restoration projects underway with DUC in the Jijuktu’kwejk (Cornwallis) river. A fun way to spend a Friday afternoon.

Fernhill Institute's Nick Hill excited about spartina

Fernhill Institute’s Nick Hill excited about spartina

Busy thursday

Danika gets things started, NRCan Making Space for Movement meeting, SMU, January 24, 2019

Danika gets things started, NRCan Making Space for Movement meeting, SMU, January 24, 2019

Waiting for Kristine Dahl's defense to start, January 24, 2019

Waiting for Kristine Dahl’s defense to start, January 24, 2019

Flooding and adaptation on the Wolastoq

Saint John River flooding near Maugerville, Dec 26, 2018.

Saint John River flooding near Maugerville, Dec 26, 2018.

Weather was fine for my drives back and forth to Fredericton for Christmas, but the rains that had come a few days before were clearly taking their toll. The Saint John River (Wələstəq) commonly sees spring flooding, particularly bad this past year, but Christmas floods are not common.  I took the 105 from Sheffield to Fredericton both ways, and the flooding along Maugerville and the Nashwaak looked like spring, save the ice pans in the river.

It was also interesting, however, to see residents taking action. After the last floods, the government offered to buy severely damaged homes (>80% of assessed value in damage), or pay out a higher amount (15% more to help with moving, raising, etc) if the homeowners would sign a document agreeing never to ask for flood compensation from the government again. I wonder if this monetary incentive to adapt in situ was the reason for some of the works I saw along the 105 during my drive. The Saint John River is still affected by Bay of Fundy tides at this point, so sea level rise will only make this area more affected in future. Whether these adaptations are fit-for-purpose remains to be seen.

Land built up and home raised with new foundations along Rte 105, Dec 26, 2018.

Land built up and home raised with new foundations along Rte 105, Dec 26, 2018.

Based on the amount of land disturbance, this house may have been moved back as well as up. Rte 105, Dec 26, 2018.

Based on the amount of land disturbance, this house may have been moved back as well as up. Rte 105, Dec 26, 2018.

Apparent new hill for this pretty little house to perch on, Rte 105, Dec 26, 2018.Apparent new hill for this pretty little house to perch on, Rte 105, Dec 26, 2018.

Apparent new hill for this pretty little house to perch on, Rte 105, Dec 26, 2018.

Riprap and raising, for this house, Rte 105, Dec 26, 2018.

Riprap for this house, possibly a new construction, Rte 105, Dec 26, 2018.

 

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