WATERLOO, ONT.—The Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo has released new guidelines for the protection of Canada’s coasts amidst rising threats to people and infrastructure.
The centre cited rising seas, swollen atmospheric rivers and post-tropical storms as threats.
The new guidance, supported by the Standards Council of Canada, the National Research Council of Canada and Infrastructure Canada, documents approaches falling under two types of coastal protection: traditional grey infrastructure, including engineered coastal protection measures such as seawalls, dikes and barriers; and nature-based solutions, including measures that depend on, or mimic, natural systems to manage flood and erosion risk, such as saltmarsh restoration or replenishing beach and dune systems with sand.
Nature-based solutions have an important role in managing coastal flood and erosion risk in Canada, states a recent release.
“We can no longer manage coastal risks by endlessly fighting against natural processes,” said report author Joanna Eyquem, managing director of climate-resilient infrastructure at the Intact Centre. “There are real win-win opportunities to work with nature in the long-term, with multiple benefits for the community and beyond.”
The report identifies three interventions to scale up the use of nature-based solutions for coastal protection in Canada:
∙ national standards that help factor the benefits of nature-based solutions into decision-making;
∙ performance monitoring to demonstrate where and how nature-based solutions can work best in Canada; and
∙ engagement of the private sector to help finance and deliver nature-based solutions, as part of adaptation finance.
“As this year’s devastating floods in B.C. have shown, we are still not doing enough to defend our communities from the extreme impacts of climate change,” said Chantal Guay, CEO of the Standards Council of Canada. “In this new normal, all adaptation solutions, including those that harness the power of nature, need to be on the table.”