Protect, Accommodate, or Retreat?

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Bluenoser's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 11 2010
Posts: 28
Protect, Accommodate, or Retreat?

I know there are a few others on the East coast on the site, so I'm posting a link to generate your comments on the potential impacts of rising sea levels (since having our land mass sink and our sea levels rise simultaneously makes Nova Scotia coastal areas particularly vulnerable).  With more frequent and more severe storms causing major flooding and infrastructure damage in the province this fall, and an increasing frequency of storm surge events, I am posting this link to generate discussion:

There is a very emotional part of me that wants to throw everything we have on the protection side.  My family has lived in Masstown for about 250 years (still farming some of the original land grant), and some of the most productive farmland is reclaimed marshland, protected by dykes.  In the 1950s there was a massive infrastructure project to strengthen the old dykes (parts of which date to the 17th century Acadian dykes).  Last year my mother told me that parts of the dykes won't last another 5-10 years without being strenthened - but they won't be because the marsh board can't afford it.  The problem is that Masstown has become a bedroom community of Truro, and people who don't know the natural history of the land are building houses in places that would be under water if the dykes were breached (in some of the more extreme cases of hubris, people are building houses on land that was flooded twice daily when my mother was a girl, before the dykes were strengthened in the 1950's). 

This map by NRCan:

shows which areas in Atlantic Canada are particularly at risk for flooding as sea levels rise; happily, Masstown's only yellow (and a good part of my parents farm is located on higher ground anyway), but I worry that much of our best farmland shows up in yellow or red.   Even the Annapolis Valley is only 8 miles wide, and the most productive areas are in a moderate risk zone.  How will this impact Nova Scotia's resiliency, self-sufficiency and food security in an uncertain future?

As I said in the beginning of the post, there is a part of me that wants to build up our dykeland and stop people from building homes along picturesque-but-vulnerable beachfront property, but another part of me that realizes that there is no political will for either option.  I am pragmatic enough to know I can't hold back the sea, but recent events make me feel restless.  


PS  I know that folks from PEI and NB (particularly those living in NRCan red zones) have been experiencing similar storm surge / flooding events, so I invite you to chime in as well. 





daffodil1003's picture
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: May 23 2012
Posts: 1
hi all

Such a very amazing link!
Thanks you for the post.
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