I had forgotten about my interview with local journalist Moira Donovan until an email from a colleague alerted me that the documentary she produced for CBC’s Atlantic Voice aired this morning. The short (26 minute) documentary is called Breaching Tradition, and does a nice job of telling the story of the challenges facing Bay of Fundy dykelands. Collaborators Danika van Proosdij (SMU) and Tony Bowron (CBWES) are featured as well, and several residents of areas like Nappan and Advocate Harbour whose communities and livelihoods are threatened. Donovan also put together a CBC news article by the same name: Breaching tradition: Salt marshes replacing Nova Scotia’s dikes. This is the setting and challenging management context for the case study I am co-leading in a new 5-year national NSERC project called ResNet.
Congratulations to Tuihedur for his first paper from the postdoctoral fellowship that sees him working across Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s, out today open access in Sustainability. He used his knowledge of the institutional literature to ground our existing case study of the North Onslow dyke realignment and salt marsh restoration project–first written as the Canadian chapter in an OECD report Responding to Rising Seas–and analyzed it through the lens of institutional entrepreneurship. This involved synthesizing the characteristics of such entrepreneurs from the literature, mapping the existing jurisdictional responsibilities around coastal management in Nova Scotia, and demonstrating how those responsibilities were leveraged in the flood-prone Truro area. Even in the absence of coastal protection legislation, three government departments were able to collaborate to create a new ‘way of doing things’ that served their own objectives with coastal adaptation and flood mitigation as a happy by-product.
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.
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.
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.