City Completes Living Shoreline Demonstration

City Completes Living Shoreline Demonstration Site
Posted on 08/05/2021
The City of Charlottetown has completed a living shoreline demonstration site at the shoreline and viewing platform at the intersection of Murchison Lane and the entrance to Sherwood Home.

This installation was one component of an approximately $325,000 initiative funded through Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) Climate Action and Awareness Fund that represents a partnership between PEI Watershed Alliance, the City of Charlottetown, the Town of Stratford, Creative PEI, and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI among other technical support partners. The project seeks to promote awareness and execution of living shoreline projects on PEI to encourage community-based climate action.

“The use of living shorelines as a method of shoreline protection is gaining popularity across Canada but has yet to be widely implemented on PEI” said Councillor Mitchel Tweel, chair of the Environment and Sustainability committee. “This climate change adaptation pilot project will serve as an example of an alternative to hard armoring shoreline protection that can be replicated on both public and private properties,” said Tweel.

Living shorelines are a relatively low-cost method of slowing coastal erosion that uses natural materials and allows the growth of plants and wildlife habitat, unlike the hard, stone infrastructure often used. This acts to stabilize the shoreline while also preserving coastal ecosystems.

The construction of a living shoreline near the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown involved the removal of the pre-existing gabion baskets, a hard armoring method of shoreline protection, and regrading of the bank slope. This portion of the installation was completed by the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Energy. Following this work, volunteers from numerous organizations, including local watershed groups, students from UPEI, and interns from UPEI’s ClimateSense Project, came together to complete the installation.

Moving forward the site will be monitored to determine the efficacy of the project in preventing erosion relative to areas upstream and downstream of the intervention site.

“Protecting our environment is a top priority for the City of Charlottetown,” said Mayor Philip Brown. “The living shoreline project is just another example of the City’s commitment to ensuring that our community, and our province, continues to serve as a leader in the fight against climate change. It is my hope that this example inspires and educates others as to the proactive steps that can be taken to protect our shores,” said Brown.

In addition to the installation of the living shoreline, the project also involved the education of City of Charlottetown staff and other community stakeholders under the Green Shores Training program. This training opportunity informed decision-making throughout this initiative and built capacity within the community to complete living shoreline projects in the future.

Finally, the project also involved a community integrated art component. In Charlottetown, this was reflected in the project ‘Shoreline Palimpsest’ by Charlottetown artist Doug Dumais. This photographic performance documented minute by minute changes along the shoreline over a three-day period from July 16 – 18, 2021 prior to the beginning of living shoreline construction. Dumais engaged with visitors and provided them with prints of his work, some including original poetry. The performance will be replicated following the completion of the living shoreline to capture and engage with the changes that have been made.

Alongside the work completed in Charlottetown, this project involved the creation of living shorelines and associated integrated community art projects in three other locations across the island. This included Lennox Island, Tea Hill Park, and the Town of Stratford waterfront.