Second conference to address rising sea levels

Andrew Wagstaff
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Parrsboro gathering to pick up from where last year left off

PARRSBORO – As sea levels around us continue to rise, another group of thinkers will converge on Fundy Geological Museum here to explore the problem.

The two-day conference, set to take place over Friday and Saturday at the Parrsboro museum, will follow up the initial gathering that was deemed a success here one year ago.

Titled “Submergence and Coastal Erosion along the Bay of Fundy: Observations, Planning and Mitigation,” the conference is being organized by Fundy Geological Museum, Ottawa House By-the-Sea Museum, FORCE (Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy) and the Town of Parrsboro.

“Picking up from last year, the presentation will cover the use of LiDAR (a remote sensing technology used to make high resolution maps) to identify zones of potential hazard, the ongoing development of strategies to address rising sea levels and climate change, and some of the methods used to stabilize and prevent further erosion of the coastline,” said Ken Adams, curator of Fundy Geological Museum.

Historical observation and geological research confirm that the Bay of Fundy region is sinking as sea levels rise worldwide, according to Adams, who said there have been visible increases in the rates of coastal erosion as the tidal range changes.

As coastal communities develop plans to address climate change, they will also need to adapt to rising sea levels, i.e. structures built in the past 100-300 years to protect farmland, infrastructure and communities, will require renewed efforts to stabilize them and prevent future erosion and destruction, he said.

“As the general public becomes more aware of these changes, there is a demand for information in order for them to make informed decisions in consultation with their municipal, provincial and federal partners,” said Adams.

The conference will kick off Friday morning at 9 a.m. with registration, followed by introductions by Adams and Ottawa House museum director Susan Clarke at 9:45 a.m. Tim Webster will speak at 10 a.m. about high-resolution mapping along the coastal zone, followed by Jen Graham and Emily LeGrand, speaking about adapting to sea level rise and climate change at 11 a.m.

The afternoon will see a field trip, preceded by a 1 p.m. presentation by Philip Finck on submergence, planning, prevention and stabilization. A reception will follow at 6 p.m.

Saturday’s sessions will also begin with registration at 9 a.m., followed by a talk at 9:30 a.m. by Kerr Canning about insights into current sea level rise gleaned from historical documents. At 10:30 a.m. Penny Henneberry will speak about natural hazards and proper planning, while an 11:30 a.m. lunch hour will include a panel discussion chaired by Prof. David Patriquin of Dalhousie University.

The day’s events will conclude with a field trip session led by Ralph Stea from 12:30-4:30 p.m. on glaciers and sea level change during the last 100,000 years.

Registration is available for single-day or two-day passes.

Twitter: @ADNandrew

Organizations: Fundy Geological Museum, Ottawa House, Parrsboro museum Dalhousie University

Geographic location: Parrsboro, Bay of Fundy

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