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.
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.
Yesterday and today I’ve been enjoying participating in an OECD expert workshop on Resilience and the Ocean-Climate Nexus, an initiative of their new horizontal programme. This was cohosted by the Portuguese delegation to the OECD. I was invited to share experiences from Nova Scotia in a panel on OECD country experiences on ocean climate impacts and resilience, allowing me to update the Truro dyke realignment case study I led for the OECD volume Responding to Rising Seas a few years ago and talking about some more recent developments like the Coastal Protection Act. My co-panelists brought more national (Vasco Becker-Weinberg of Portugal on Marine Spatial Planning and the law), and international perspectives (Georg Borsting of Norway on the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy). Our discussion across these scales was productive and stimulating. I was glad for the opportunity to bring a coastal and social perspective to this event, with an RSVP list of over 260 people from 58 different countries, many of them practitioners or from government.
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.
Excited to have my complimentary copy of Energy Impacts land yesterday, which includes my first articulation of climax thinking as well as a nice comparison of Q-method and survey Likert for understanding energy discourses across scales (co-authored with John Parkins). Patience is a virtue with edited volumes; this work was submitted and accepted back in 2017/2018 if I recall correctly. The volume is lovely, with great font, design and production values, which is wonderful to see as we are using the same publisher for Opening Windows, the next state-of-knowledge edited volume for natural resource social sciences (chapter call currently out). It wasn’t published quite in time for Christmas but I hope it finds a good audience.