Tiny east-coast island losing land to the sea

Tiny east-coast island losing land to the sea
Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
First posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 11:57 AM EDT | Updated: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 02:02 PM EDT
LENNOX ISLAND, P.E.I. -- Back when he was in his 20s, Dave Haley often watched from his kitchen window as children played baseball in the field behind his home. But now at the age of 65, less than 20 feet of soil remains between his tidy green bungalow and the glistening waters of Malpeque Bay.
Lennox Island - off the northwest coast of Prince Edward Island - is in a battle with the sea, and the sea is winning.
"It's devastating. This is our home," Haley said.
Lennox Island - like the rest of Prince Edward Island - is vulnerable to coastal erosion because it's made of sand and sandstone. There is no hard bedrock.
"Sea levels have been rising over the last 100 years and the land itself is lowering a little bit," said Adam Fenech, director of the climate research lab at the University of Prince Edward Island.
"There has been a 10-20% increase in the number and magnitude of storms. And there has been a loss of ice cover, primarily in the months where we do seem to have some storm surges, which is in December and January," he said.
Fenech said Lennox Island isn't the only low-lying area of the province, but the amount of land loss has been significant.
He said according to Meachums Atlas of 1880, Lennox Island was 1,520 acres in size. By 2010 it was down to just 1,240 acres.
"Most of it lies just a metre or two above sea level, therefore it is particularly vulnerable to flooding, coastal erosion and storm surges," he said.
Lennox Island has just 118 homes and a population of 475 people - members of the Lennox Island First Nation.
"We are on a small, finite island. We have infrastructure that needs protecting," said Chief Matilda Ramjattan.
She said most people on the island don't talk about the rising waters, but realize that homes should not be built in some areas because of ground saturation.
Ramjattan said she has hope that someone will find a way to protect the land they still have.
"This is our home. We're a resilient people. We'll do what we have to," she said.
Todd Dupuis, executive director of the Department of Communities, Land and Environment for P.E.I., said the province is losing land at a faster rate than just a few years ago.
"We're seeing the effects of climate change. The planet is warming and as a result the sea level is rising. We're seeing more extreme weather events. Bigger storms, more frequent storms. We're seeing less ice cover which is very important for the protection of the shoreline," Dupuis said.
Dupuis said communities and the provincial government are trying to adapt to the rising water levels and erosion by doing a cost-benefit analysis. He said they need to determine the cost of trying to protect homes, cottages and other infrastructure.
"In some cases it makes sense to provide some protection from climate change but in other cases it makes more sense to pull up stakes and move your assets to a higher and drier area," he said.
In recent years, a sea wall was built to protect the lighthouse at Point Prim in southeastern P.E.I., while at nearby Cape Bear the decision was made to move the lighthouse inland by about 35 metres.
Fenech said the government recognizes the problem and has time to plan appropriately. He said it makes sense to start planning for roads and other infrastructure further from the shore.
He said that without any hard stone on Prince Edward Island, it doesn't make sense to try to build expensive armouring in an effort to protect the shoreline.
"It works for a while, but nature has a way of embarrassing us. The sea wins eventually," Fenech said.
Forty per cent of civic addresses on Prince Edward Island are on the coastline. Dupuis said people want to be in sight of the water.
Lennox Island is flat and low. The school, band office and church - with its tall, yellow steeple - are at the high point of the island, but still are only metres above the waterline.
The band has acquired property on the mainland in case homes need to be moved.
Haley says he's staying put as long as possible, to enjoy his million-dollar view of Malpeque Bay.
"You take one day at a time," he said. "When the water reaches the front of the house then you're going to say, maybe we should look at this or look at that. But not until you're directly threatened is anyone really going to worry."
Dave Haley stands near his house along the shore in Lennox Island, P.E.I., on April 25, 2016. Rising sea levels and coastal erosion threaten the Mi'Kmaq community which has seen a major loss of landmass in the last 50 years. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)

Tiny east-coast island losing land to the sea | Canada | News | Toronto Sun
Uh, well, anyone who actually lives in Atlantic Canada knows that the land has been eroding for decades. As a kid in the 1960s, I can remember the coastal road in Kent County NB, which had to be moved back away from the cliffs that were eroding into the Northumberland Straight, and they're still eroding today, and the road has been moved again in places.
This has never happened before.
captain morgan
Quote: Originally Posted by Walter View Post

This has never happened before.

What's next? An ice free Antarctic by 2013?
Erosion happens.

I feel sorry for people who think they can halt the natural cycles of the earth. They will pass through life angry and frustrated.
Ron in Regina
OK. Well, going forward, why not just paint a clearcoat along the entire shoreline from the
water level back......let say 100ft. Paint it up in an enviromentally friendly way using crop
dusters & water bombers. Get it on there good & thick!!! Protect Lennox Island from
erosion and make it nice & shiny too.

Last edited by Ron in Regina; May 18th, 2016 at 12:53 PM..Reason: typo
In Scarborough there is a area called the Bluffs. It is a cliff/hill adjacent to Lake Ontario. Over time the lake has been eroding the cliffs and they collapse and fall into the lake. Of course on the top of the bluff the view is fantastic. So some rich a-s-s-holes built their multi-million dollar homes there. Now they are whining that somebody should do something to prevent the inevitable collapse of their homes into the lake. You can't fight nature and win. Same with people that build their homes on flood plains and complain when they get flooded.
Ron in Regina
#9  Top Rated Post
Whilst Canada is losing an island, Britain is gaining one.

This new island has appeared in the Irish Sea, about 1.5 miles off the coast of Fleetwood, Lancashire, defying supposed sea level rises caused by global warming.

Here's some drone footage from earlier this year.

The Florida Keys are growing too... much to the chagrin of the alarmists.

Damn you mangroves!

That means the St Lawrence is either something like the African Rift or the land is sinking via subduction. I go with the river is expanding sideways (and downwards) faster than it is eroding. Good thing it's above the Canadian Shield of it would suffer the same quakes Haiti. As long as the river doesn't start running backwards they can plan on further sinking over the centuries. Anybody have a photo of that same area from before as it could have been losing ground when he first saw it rather than it just started.

Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmack View Post

The Florida Keys are growing too... much to the chagrin of the alarmists.

I don't see a mailbox, you should plant a flag on it. Back to living in the trees for a bit but worth it for the view alone.

While the Mississippi Valley sinks all along it's length? Let's hope a bulge isn't also moving in from the Pacific Rift
They can't afford to wait till people are talking down to them before they look for higher ground, you on the other hand could become your own State at some point in the future.
You make it sound so negative when you say it like that.
Curious Cdn
PEI is a big sand bar and the whole place us probably movingly around, a bit.

Gawd, I love that part of Canada!

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