PEI

Why Ducks Unlimited is monitoring rising sea levels on P.E.I.

Ducks Unlimited has been working with UPEI's Climate Research Lab to monitor the effect of rising sea levels on Prince Edward Island.

'We need to prepare for what the new sea-level rise predictions are'

Much of the research focuses largely around the Johnstons River area, says Jonathan Platts. (Amar Shah/CBC)

Ducks Unlimited has been working with UPEI's Climate Research Lab to monitor the effect of rising sea levels on Prince Edward Island.

Jonathan Platts of Ducks Unlimited on P.E.I. says the data collected will help with redesigning dams and other water-control structures in the future.

Platts said some dams, such as the one at Fullerton Marsh near Stratford, P.E.I., were designed to handle water levels in the 1950s. Current high tides now lap over the top, he said.

"We need to prepare for what the new sea-level rise predictions are, what storm-surge events might happen in the next 50 to 100 years," he said.

"And also some of the more frequent rainfall events that we're having are extreme rainfall events because we have to redesign our structures to handle that discharge."

Concern for coastal communities

The research focuses largely around the Johnstons River and Hillsborough River areas, Platts said.

Rising sea levels are a concern for many coastal communities around the world.

We're surrounded by water so we have to plan for sea-level rise like everywhere else.— Jonathan Platts

"People are planning where to build their new infrastructure or if existing structure has to be moved or abandoned," he said.

"It's the same with us, we have lots of infrastructure out there, being in Atlantic Canada we're surrounded by water so we have to plan for sea level rise like everywhere else."

Collected elevation data

The project with UPEI began last fall. They used an unmanned drone to collect elevation data.

"They'll put that data into a model based on what sea levels are predicted to be, what impact that'll have on the lands they surveyed," Platts said.

"If we do find that houses would be impacted at any of these sites, we'd have to make the decision whether or not we want to rebuild it, redesign those structures to hold back the tidal water, the sea level rise."

Platts said some of the data should be available in the next few months.

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With files from Sam Juric

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