[Sust-mar] Climate changes could have an environmental impact on McNabs Island

Friends of McNabs Island Society krista at friendsofmcnabs.com
Fri Apr 20 11:41:18 EDT 2012

Media Release for Friends of McNabs Island Society
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For Immediate Release

Climate changes could have an environmental impact on McNabs Island

   _Halifax:_ Combining historical documents and up-to-date research, a coastal
   geoscientist will illustrate the environmental impact of the changing
   climate on McNabs Island caused by centuries of rising sea levels and
   erosion at the Society’s Annual General Meeting on May 2 at the Maritime
   Museum of the Atlantic.

   Gavin Manson is a researcher with the Geological Survey of Canada (Natural
   Resources Canada).  Manson, who is based at the Bedford Institute of
   Oceanography, will discuss his findings from a 15-year investigation of the
   island’s dynamically changing shoreline. He will draw on archival maps and
   nautical charts that date back to Halifax’s founding, aerial photography
   from the 1930s as well as recent satellite images and bathymetric charts of
   the seabed.

   “Early maps of the island show us that there has been significant change to
   the island’s shoreline over the past three hundred years,” says Cathy
   McCarthy, President of Friends of McNabs Island Society.

   The presentation topic, the Shorelines of McNabs Island in a Changing
   Climate, also has a historical perspective.  Scientific documents show that
   sea levels in HRM are rising relatively  quickly and  that the shoreline of
   the southern part of McNabs Island has eroded in places at rates up to about
   six metres per year.

   McCarthy says the talk will give the audience a broader understanding of the
   dynamics of the coastal processes on McNabs Island. The impact of rising sea
   levels on the island’s drumlin soil, which was formed of sediment deposited
   by glaciers, is dramatic. The sand and gravel mixture forming the island’s
   beaches is constantly changing.

   Over time, explains McCarthy, the forces of nature have notably affected the
   island’s shape and size. “Visitors to the island will notice the changes to
   the shoreline,” she says. “In particular, in the aftermath of Hurricane Juan
   that slammed into McNabs Island in September 2003, the changes to the
   island’s beaches and shoreline are quite dramatic.”

   For example, Hangmans Beach has experienced storm surges in recent years
   that have destroyed a manmade, timber, protective breakwater leading to the
   lighthouse.  (See attached picture.) And Garrison Road, the main trail on
   the island is over-washed frequently during winter storms. As well, the wide
   sandy stretch known as Maughers Beach is growing as more and more sand and
   sediment are deposited there.

   Manson’s presentation will offer fresh insights to those who visit McNabs
   Island, says McCarthy, adding that photographs and maps will document
   different types of erosion and the resulting coastline changes.
   “He will present a photographic tour around the southern part of the island,
   focusing on climate changes and looking at the past, present and future
   erosion processes,” McCarthy says.

   Manson’s presentation is free and open to the public.  His talk will take
   place at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic at 7 p.m.

   The Friends of McNabs Island Society is a volunteer, non-profit, registered
   charity, based in Halifax, dedicated to the preservation of McNabs and
   Lawlors Islands Provincial Park. The Society was incorporated in March of
   1990 with the objective to promoting the islands as a Nature Park and
   Outdoor Classroom. The Society hosts events on McNabs Island such as
   picnics, nature and historical tours, and annual beach clean-ups.  It
   maintains the trails with co-operation from the Nova Scotia Department of
   Natural Resources and Parks Canada.

   – 30 –

   _For more information contact:_

   _Cathy McCarthy_
   Friends of McNabs Island Society
   902-434-2254  home
   902-456-9167  cell

   _Kristie Hickey_
   Communications Officer
   Natural Resources Canada (Geological Survey of Canada)

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   Gladstone RPO
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