August 30, 2022

Climate Adaptation and Resiliency: Flood Proofing & The Living Dyke Project

There’s some interesting work happening in Metro Vancouver regarding climate change and flood protection.  Viewpoint Vancouver wrote about the need to develop a regional approach to flood management and control after the disastrous Fraser Valley flood of November 2021.

Writer Nelson Bennett in Business in Vancouver writes that while Ducks Unlimited suggests that 70 percent of Canadian wetlands near metropolitan areas have been degraded due to development, the “Nature Force” project backed by 15 Canadian insurance companies is reviewing the use of wetlands for flood moderation and as water capture sites.

One initiative of this work is the Sturgeon Banks Sediment Enhancement Pilot Project to restore tidal marsh at the mouth of the Fraser River.

The dredging that typically takes place on the Fraser River will be used as deposits to restore the tidal marsh. This project is funded by governments as well as the Tsawwassen First Nations and Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

While the project was originally developed to restore salmon habitat and mitigate flooding, researchers are finding that tidal marshes slow wave energy, meaning they reduce wave size and can promote sediment deposits.

A similar approach is being investigated in front of the Boundary Bay Dyke in Delta and  Mud Bay in Surrey. This is a living dyke pilot creating a raised slope to ensure natural marshes can rise up as sea levels become higher. By augmenting the foreshore with sentiment and native marsh grasses, the marsh elevation will be gently raised.  This project includes First Nations governments, coastal engineers and researchers, and is chaired by West Coast Environmental Law and the First Nations Emergency Planning Secretariat.

The goals of this project are to:

    • Provide a nature-based defense for coastal flooding;
    • Build natural habitat and enhance environmental processes and ecosystem functions;
    • Mitigate the impacts of sea level rise on marsh habitat; and
    • Increase our understanding of viable coastal marsh adaptation approaches and their replicability

Public Engagement for this initiative will commence this Fall. If  you are interested in this process or being part of this process, please click this link.

The video below describes the work on the Mud Bay Project.



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