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Water Today Title December 8, 2019

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Update 2018/7/29
Sea level rise


NOVA SCOTIA HOLDING PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS TO CREATE LEGISLATION THAT WILL PROTECT COASTLINES



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by Michelle Moore

We are almost a month into the series of Coastal Protection Consultations taking place in coastal communities across Nova Scotia.

Announced by Environment Minister Iain Rankin on June 26, the public consultations will help guide new legislation the province aims to put in place to protect coastlines and the livelihoods many Nova Scotians earn at sea.

At a press conference given at Black Rock Beach in Halifax's Point Pleasant Park Rankin recognized the impact of climate change on our coastlines.

Rankin said "our legislation will be designed to protect this important natural asset, while also ensuring the industries and cultures that rely on it can continue to do that for generations to come."

Consultations are ongoing and have taken place in coastal communities and among Mi'kmaq and fishermen's groups. Citizens are also invited to weigh in by filling out an online survey at visiting novascotia.ca/coast or calling 902-424-2547.

A Geological Survey of Canada 1998 report found that much of the coast of Nova Scotia is especially sensitive to sea level rise. Due to a natural phenomenon called subsidence, the atlantic coast is gradually sinking.

The legislation seeks to protect natural features like trees and wetlands that absorb water in times of heavy rain fall and or storm surge. It would also ensure that construction does not take place in areas vulnerable to rising sea levels and coastal erosion.

The Department of Environment will be working closely with the Ecology Action Centre (EAC), a non-profit environmental organization based in Halifax. The EAC is not leading consultations but will assist in sharing information relative to the issues facing Nova Scotia coastlines.

In a statement Nancy Anningson, the EAC's coastal adaption co-ordinator said "as we face sea-level rise, storm surges, flooding and other climate change impacts, we need to let nature do the work. Dunes, salt marshes and natural vegetation provide buffers to protect us. We need to protect those natural defences."

About EAC's participation, she said to this reporter that "EAC is offering our support and sharing information with Nova Scotians about the department of environment's consultation for the coastal protection act."

She also said the EAC also held a community conversation separate from the government consultations in one region and hoped to do it again in other areas.

Anningson added "the EAC is offering our support and advice to our government colleagues as this legislation is necessary and long overdue. We are hoping to help them make it the best piece of legislation that it can be."

m.moore@watertoday.ca



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