Thursday, October 28, 2010

Upper Fundy land restored to saltmarsh

Anyone living in upper Bay of Fundy is quite aware that large tracts of our coastal land are currently protected from tidal inundation by dykes. The original dykes were built by Acadian settlers over 350 years ago to convert salt water marshes to farm land.

Although these converted salt water marshes or "dykelands" remain some of the region's most fertile agricultural land, much of it today is underutilized: 15% of dykeland in Nova Scotia and 41% of dykeland in New Brunswick is no longer being farmed.

It's estimated that 85% of the saltmarshes in the Bay of Fundy were lost due to dyking. With the pressures of climate change and rising sea levels, there certainly appears to be case to be made returning some of these unused dykelands to the Bay as salt marshes.

Ducks Unlimited launched an interesting project this week in upper Bay of Fundy: it intentionally returned 16 hectares of farmland to saltmarsh and will closely monitor how the restored saltmarsh can act as a buffer to rising sea levels and storm surges. It's also expected that salt marshes may ease the pressure on remaining dykes. 'Twill be interesting to watch...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

People sunning on the ocean floor

With all this crazy tide stuff we see some funny sights in these parts: here's a photo I took of some folks sitting out on the ocean floor sunning themselves at low tide at Blomidon Provincial Park, near Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

Just another ho-hum day on a Bay of Fundy beach where, in 6 hours, they'd be covered by about 30 feet of water....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

North America's 1st UNESCO Geopark announced for Fundy!

Big news on the geology front in a section of our Bay in New Brunswick: officials with the Global Geoparks Network, a UNESCO program, announced during their annual conference in Greece last week that Bay of Fundy's Stonehammer Geopark will join 76 other parks in 23 countries across the globe!

A geopark is an area that showcases geological features of global importance. UNESCO created the designation program to protect and enhance the value of old landscapes, while educating people about what lies beneath their feet.

The Stonehammer Geopark encompasses 2,500 square kilometres of land, stretching from Lepreau Falls to Norton. Sites within the Geopark include Rockwood Park, Dominion Park, the Hampton Lighthouse River Centre and the Fundy Trail, among others.

One of the really great places to see some of Stonehammer's geological scope is right above Reversing Rapids in Saint John: there's one set of rocks about 500 million years old right beside other rock about a billion years old. See this in our Bay of Fundy Travel Show episode for Reversing Falls.

Congratulations to everyone involved with Stonehammer's designation. Here's hoping that the new it means more interpretation & more opportunities to discover the Bay of Fundy's fascinating geology. Click here to join Stonehammer Geopark's facebook fan page

Friday, October 01, 2010

Bay of Fundy book launch tomorrow!

There's a very exciting event taking place tomorrow, October 2, in Albert County, New Brunswick: the launch of a biography of well-known Bay of Fundy naturalist, Mary Majka.

Mary is one of Canada’s great pioneering environmentalists. She is best known as a television host, a conservationist, and a driving force behind the internationally acclaimed Mary’s Point Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve on the Bay of Fundy.

Sanctuary (her authorized biography to be released this weekend) gives full expression to the intensely personal story of Mary’s life. A daughter of privilege, a survivor of World War II Poland, an architect of dreams, Mary Majka became passionately intent on protecting fragile spaces and species for generations to come.

In this amazing chronicle of determination and foresight, Deborah Carr reveals a complex, indomitable, thoroughly human being — flawed yet feisty, inspiring and inspired. With information gleaned from Mary’s own memories, present day scenes and passages of reportage, Sanctuary engages the reader in a shared remembering as Deborah weaves together the story of a young Polish girl named Marysia, who faced sorrow, loss and then war alone, and through this discovered a healing connection to nature. It is the story of how she evolved into the award-winning woman known as Mary Majka, who played a key role in preserving the natural and cultural heritage of New Brunswick and encouraged others to pursue their passion and make their own mark on the world.

But beneath all this, it is the story of finding sanctuary – of achieving that sacred place of acceptance and refuge, both in the world and within the soul.

The book launch for Sanctuary takes place Oct 2, from 2PM – 4PM at the Harvey Hall, 29 Mary’s Point Road, Harvey, Albert Co. (Near Riverside-Albert), NB. Both the author and Mary Majka will be there to sign books.

To read more about the story behind the writing of Sanctuary, visit author, Deborah Carr’s blog, What If?