East Coast salt marshes to be restored to battle effects of climate change

Swaths of salt-water marshes in the Maritimes are to be restored, in a bid to help absorb the rising sea levels and storm surges brought on by climate change.

Saint Mary’s University in Halifax announced today that it will get $1.8 million in federal funds to restore 75 hectares of marshes around the Bay of Fundy.

Project leader Danika van Proosdij says the marshes will create more coastal habitat for marine life, and they will provide a new line of defence against flooding and erosion.

A sinking dike is shown in this undated handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO – Saint Mary’s University)

The professor at Saint Mary’s University says this “nature-based strategy” will be accomplished through the realignment and decommissioning of dikes at several sites around the bay.

The project was one of several receiving funding today, including $2.4 million for the Clean Foundation to restoring tidal wetlands on the Nova Scotia shore of the Northumberland Strait, and $1.26 million for the Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council for habitat restoration work.

Last fall, the mayor of Amherst, N.S., raised concerns about the condition of the historic Acadian dikes and their ability to hold back rising sea levels.

Mayor David Kogon has said sea levels are projected to rise in the Bay of Fundy over the next two decades to the point where the narrow land link between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will flood even when there is no storm surge.

The area where flooding could occur on the Chignecto Isthmus includes 20 kilometres of the Trans-Canada Highway, 20 kilometres of CN Rail tracks, 35 kilometres of electricity lines and 35 kilometres of dikes.

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