Conceptual diagram of believed ecosystem service flows, Figure 3 in Sherren et al. 2021.
The first output of the Landscape 1 case study of ResNet, the Bay of Fundy dykelands, is out this week in Facets, Canada’s open access science journal: Understanding multifunctional Bay of Fundy dykelands and tidal wetlands using ecosystem services—a baseline. We set out to understand ecosystem service flows from tidal wetlands and drained agricultural dykeland (former tidal wetland), as climate change forces a rethink of the dykeland system. This review covered papers, theses, reports, and drew in some cases on other jurisdictions where there was a dearth of local data. We uncovered some key gaps but also potential synergies in balancing the system for sustainability. Filling some of the gaps to inform decisionmaking is the undertaking that faces us in ResNet.
Morning walk along the arm, as fog retreats by the Armdale Yacht Club.
I don’t live on the Northwest Arm but walk along it most mornings, whether a loop before I start home office work in the morning (see above) or along the other side if walking in to Dal. This narrow ‘arm’ of ocean is an amenity shared by so many people in Halifax and makes me feel lucky and connected to other citizens. I don’t think anyone would think it belongs to those who own waterfront on it, nor should it. Yet a loophole exists in the form of pre-Confederation deeded water lots, designed to allow shore owners–many of which at the time were industrial–allocations for docks and wharves. These days wealthy landowners not satisfied with their privileged positions fight to be permitted to fill in those water lots and convert them to private use. Each one directs hundreds of dumptrucks of fill down residential streets, into an ocean ecosystem fished for lobster, narrowing the channel and disrupting public use. The problem is that Halifax and the province currently have no jurisdiction to stop it. Once it becomes land, they can regulate what is done on them (if you read the link above, not much is permitted), but until then the only jurisdiction is Transport Canada on the basis of navigability. If all water lots were filled in, the arm would be 30% smaller and the opening halved, but there is no consideration of cumulative effects. Thanks to the Ecology Action Centre and a small interest group, this issue has been in the news and raised now in Senate by Independent Senator Colin Deakin, calling for a freeze on approving such applications. This week, an application was lodged by Andrew Metledge to infill his water lot, using 7650 cubic metres of fill (see the image below) and as of today we have 26 days to stop it if the Minister for Transport does not grant this freeze. Please consider taking a few minutes to make a public comment and/or sign the petition.
The ‘water lot’ that Andrew Metledge, developer and owner of Templeton Properties, is applying to Transport Canada for permission to infill. We have fewer than 30 days to try and stop it.
ResNet is up and running, and the primary research outcomes are starting to roll in from our Bay of Fundy dykeland landscape case study. It is thus time to recruit a postdoctoral fellow to help us integrate that work and start bringing it together into a modelling context so that we can better understand the ecosystem service implications of decisions such as dyke reinforcement or dyke realignment and salt marsh restoration, and for which beneficiaries. We are currently accepting applications for a two-year postdoctoral fellow in the field of Integrating, modelling, and translating the ecosystem services implications of land use on the Bay of Fundy coast, starting September 2021 or as soon as possible after that. Please see the full job ad here: ResNet L1PDF1 postdoc advertisement. We will start reviewing applications on July 1, 2021, so if you want to be in that first phase of review, please submit your materials by midnight Atlantic time, June 30, 2021. But the job is open until filled.
I’m delighted by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), which I learned today is investing heavily into my research programme. Current ResNet MES student Emily Wells got a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship – Masters, as well as incoming ResNet MES student Elizabeth Bray. Incoming MES student Samantha Howard has also won a SSHRC scholarship to work on my coastal adaptation/climax thinking research, and my four-year solo SSHRC Insight Grant on that topic was also successful. Thanks, SSHRC! I didn’t mean those things I said about you last year.
Ellen Chappell’s second MES paper is out today in Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, Those who support wind development in view of their home take responsibility for their energy use and that of others: evidence from a multi-scale analysis. This looks at predictors of support for wind development at three scales: generally/nationally, regionally (in the Chignecto area of NB/NS where the survey was implemented) and in view of respondents’ homes. The strongest predictors at that critical ‘home view’ scale was agreeing that seeing turbines remind them of the energy they use and that it has to be generated somewhere, and seeing energy as a commodity for potential export like any other. These are novel variables in the context of wind acceptability research, with interesting linkages to climax thinking, and we hope will inspire other researchers to expand the variables and scales they use.