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SOURCE: Canada’s National Observer

DATE: March 31, 2019

SNIP: Over the centuries the dikes protecting the Maritime lowlands have been extended, expanded and, in the 1950s and 60s, built higher and stronger through a massive federal rehabilitation program.

But geomorphologists who study the changing shape of the coast say climate change is threatening anew the 241 kilometres of dikes that line the coasts and tidal rivers of Nova Scotia and another 100 kilometres in New Brunswick.

A recently completed draft study by a team of geographers at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax indicates 70 per cent of the dikes in Nova Scotia are now vulnerable to even a one-in-50-year storm.

In that scenario, a sustained tidal surge that comes up the Bay of Fundy with low atmospheric pressure, with gusts up to 80 kilometres per hour during a high spring tide, could push water over the tops of the structures.

Behind the current dike, the faint outline of the much lower Acadian dikes remains visible. Anne Crowe’s recently restored lowland fields flourish and grow enough hay to feed a quarter of her 100 head of cattle.

For Crowe, the possibility of losing land is a worrying option after spending thousands of dollars working the lowlands to create feed for her dairy cattle.

“We’re talking about fossil fuels and let’s not burn too much — if I have to bring feed in from Quebec or Ontario, that’s going to take a lot more fuel than me just bringing it in from Ontario,” she said.