Kate Sherren

Landscapes - People - Global change

Category: Climate change (page 1 of 5)

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.

 

OECD Coastal Adaptation Workshop

Everyone is eager to hear about the coastal protection policy in development.

Everyone is eager to hear about the coastal protection policy in development.

Fun with flood maps.

Fun with flood maps.

Over the past few months I’ve been leading the writing up of a recent dyke realignment and salt marsh restoration project in Truro for an OECD report called Responding to Rising Seas, due out in January 2019. Co-authors are those who designed and implemented the case study from Saint Mary’s University and CB Wetlands and Environmental Services. The Truro case study is one of four cases explored in the report; others are in the UK, Germany and New Zealand. We culminated that case study with an all-day workshop November 21 at SMU on ‘scaling up the insights’ from the Truro case study. Requested by NRCan, funded by Lisa Danielson of the OECD’s Paris office, and hosted by Danika van Proosdij at SMU, we had sessions on policy, financing, engineering and human dimensions. Thirty attendees joined from across all scales of government, NGOs, First Nations and the private sector (as well as a few academics, but that couldn’t be helped). The various conversations and interactions knitted together some previously isolated groups working in parallel, and it felt very much like a day well spent. We hope attendees felt the same way.

New paper: Of Weather and Climate

A new paper is out this week that has been long in coming. Carlisle Kent’s post-graduation research contract in the winter of 2016 with the Reconciling Holistic Management project, released as a report in winter 2017, has been picked up and refined for publication by postdoc Wes Tourangeau. The paper will be out in the first 2019 issue of Weather, Climate and Society and is called: Of climate and weather: Examining Canadian farm and livestock organization discourses from 2010 to 2015. This work was part of our effort to understand the science-practice-policy interface around HM, in this case focusing on farmer organizations and how they communicate about climate and grazing. We found interesting patterns of discourses: Alberta groups speaking to members about acute matters of weather but national groups speaking to policy-makers about chronic climate issues. Climate-related discourses advocated regulation and weather-related discourses advocated insurance and other buffering mechanisms. Both promoted infrastructure and technological fixes as well as land management decisions. The only land management change advocated for both climate and weather challenges was managed/rotational grazing, suggesting that grazing practitioners and their advocates see utility. We are currently following up this work to explore the discourse of recent Senate and House explorations on agriculture and climate change.

Planning workshop at McGill

Hard at work while Andy Gonzalez and Marie-Josee Fortin talk monitoring.

Hard at work while Andy Gonzalez and Marie-Josee Fortin talk monitoring.

Cleared by surgeon to return to work last Monday. Left that afternoon for a two-day trip to Montreal for a workshop to plan a new NSERC project using ecosystem services to aid decision-making in production landscapes. Landscape and thematic teams from across the country joined with engaged partners from across the public and private sector, all inspired by the big vision and strong leadership of Prof Elena Bennett. Thrilled to be co-leading the Atlantic case study for this big new proposal, with such a great interdisciplinary team, and also enjoyed being the SSHRC devil’s advocate in the mix.

 

Dykeland fieldtrip

Danika with Guelph students and professor Robin Davidson-Arnott, at the Windsor causeway tidegate.

Danika with Guelph students and professor Robin Davidson-Arnott, at the Windsor causeway tidegate.

Had a great day in the field with a group of undergraduates from Guelph on a field course to Nova Scotia led by human geographer and new collaborator Kirby Calvert, and physical geographer Robin Davidson-Arnott. We visited the Windsor causeway site, under discussion for the return of tidal flow, as well as the Grand Pre dykelands, Evangeline Beach to view migrating semi-palmated sandpipers, and finally to the lovely new Lightfoot and Wolfville vineyard for pizza and wine tasting. Especially great to get postdoc Tuihedur and incoming project MES student Krysta Sutton up to the dykelands before the term starts.

Postdoc Dr Tuihedur Rahman and new MES Krysta Sutton at the Windsor causeway.

Postdoc Dr Tuihedur Rahman and new MES Krysta Sutton at the Windsor causeway.

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