Landscapes - People - Global change

Category: Coasts (Page 1 of 21)

Causeway-related surveys in the field

Postcard invitations being sent to those living within about 4 km of each causeway.

Over the next couple of weeks, residents living near the Petitcodiac River causeway (partially replaced with the Honourable Brenda Robertson Bridge) in New Brunswick and the Avon River causeway in Nova Scotia will receive post cards from my lab. PhD student Keahna Margeson is running a study to understand peoples’ experiences and perceptions of changes to the causeways, tidal gates, and rivers over the years. If you get one of these in your mailbox, and you have 10-15 minutes to spare, we would be very grateful to hear from you. 

Addendum April 8th: These postcards have gone out to those on mail routes within–or that touch–a 4 km buffer of each causeway site. Mail routes in rural areas can be quite large. With Canada Post Admail we cannot control the outer edge of the distribution, and so you may have received the postcard even at a significant distance from a causeway site, but we are still very interested to hear from you. Many thanks for your support.

The Conversation

Buildings are seen in floodwater following a major rain event in Halifax on July 22, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Buildings are seen in floodwater following a major rain event in Halifax on July 22, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

I did my first bit for The Conversation this week, connecting Sam Howard’s project work on resistance to public flood risk mapping to the new tools provided here in NS in lieu of coastal protection legislation. You can read it here: Flood risk mapping is a public good, so why the public resistance in Canada? Lessons from Nova Scotia. 

Addendum: The media engagement on this commentary has been gratifying, including:

  • CityNews 95.7 (audio interview with Todd Veinotte March 13, 10 am),
  • The Canadian National Observer (pending), Cloe Logan
  • CBC News (online text) Property owners, researcher critical of N.S. approach to coastal protection (Mar 19, 2024), Michael Gorman
  • CBC Nova Scotia News (video), Nova Scotia’s coast is eroding. So is the confidence some have in its environment policy (Mar 19, 2024), Michael Gorman
  • CBC The National (video), N.S. homeowners say they needs a coastal protection law, not plan  (Mar 20, 2024),  Kayla Hounsell
  • Water We Doing, podcast (pending)

The death of the Coastal Protection Act

I was on a chain of Zoom meetings this morning when I received an email from the NS Department of Environment and Climate Change providing guidance for coastal property owners in the face of climate-related coastal changes. It took me by surprise, but I thought perhaps it was a stopgap measure until the long-awaited Coastal Protection Act (CPA) that passed with all-party support in 2019 was finally proclaimed and regulations developed. After lunch, a look at CBC NS and my heart sank. This is not a stop-gap, this is a replacement. The PC government has capitulated to private interests and is now refusing to regulate coastal zone development activity, despite overwhelming support for the CPA discovered in their own public engagement work, instead providing guidance and tools for private landowners like flood line mapping. I support more information and tools for everyone involved, but  ‘protection’ in this new approach is limited to protecting coastal landowners and their rights and stuff, not 1) protecting the coast and its ecosystems and non-human inhabitants (who do provide us critical benefits as a byproduct of their thriving), nor 2) the rest of Nova Scotia and federal taxpayers from continuing to fund post-storm recovery of ill-considered development. We have seen too many times what kind of decision-making results from downloading responsibility in this way (see above).

The coast does not belong to coastal landowners. It belongs to the ocean. We need to learn how to give it the space it needs for its natural dynamism. Giving elite coastal landowners and developers the power to decide the composition and resilience of our coasts is unjust and blinkered to our common reality and shared future: surely we know better after Fiona.  For shame.

Feature in DalNews

Me on the Northumberland Shore

DalNews published a nice profile of me last week, written by Andrew Riley, associated with my involvement in the big Transforming Climate Action CFREF project being led by Dalhousie, with collaboration from UQAR, Laval and Memorial. Though I’m not always comfortable with ‘big science’ of this kind, I’ve been enjoying being part of Cluster 3 of that large grant–the part focused upon Adapting Equitably–thanks to existing collaborators like Ian Stewart, Patricia Manuel, and Fanny Noisette and the many new collaborators I’m meeting along the way. We are currently in the thick of writing the official proposal before the end of March.

New review paper: social license to operate and coastal management

Table 1 in Margeson et al. 2023 showing factors that influenced coastal
SLO with associated themes that
emerged from the literature

Congratulations to Keahna and her PhD committee for the publication of her first comprehensive exam as a review in Environmental Management yesterday, The Role of Social License in Non-Industrial Marine and Coastal Planning: a Scoping Review. The idea of social license to operate is often used in industrial contexts, but in Nova Scotia we know that public acceptance can also be an issue with coastal activities such as conservation or restoration and related  nature-based coastal adaptation techniques. Using an SES lens Keahna reviewed 85 relevant papers–most from Europe and North America–and found key drivers to be sense of place, costs and benefits, perceived risk, trust and knowledge.

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