Coastal Communities

Coastal communities in Atlantic Canada may be harder impacted than most.

There is a major risk of saltwater intrusion in many coastal communities in Atlantic Canada, especially in Prince Edward Island, which is entirely dependent upon groundwater to supply potable water. Saltwater intrusion has already been documented in some areas, and the combined pressures of increasing coastal development and projected sea-level rise suggest the problem will only increase in the future.

NB Forest Aerial
  • Land-use planning, engineering and nature-based approaches provide a variety of adaptation options.  Accurate flood hazard tools are helpful to reduce or avoid future flood risks for coastal communities and infrastructure.
  • “Soft” approaches (e.g., shoreline restoration using plants) are recognized by coastal ecosystem practitioners to be more resilient and more cost-effective over the long term but “Hard” engineering approaches (e.g., building a seawall) are very common.
  • Discussions about relocation are beginning in some areas of high risk, however, this is rarely a desirable option among residents.

Above Figure: A continuum of green (“soft”) to gray (“hard”) shoreline stabilization techniques. Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2015.

Further Reading:

Lemmen, D.S., Warren, F.J., James, T.S. and Mercer Clarke, C.S.L. editors (2016): Canada’s Marine Coasts in a Changing Climate; Government of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 274p.

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