4.8 The Bay of Fundy and the tides of climate change

2.3 The Charlotte County Community Vulnerability Assessment

The Charlotte County Community Vulnerability Assessment (CCCVA) was designed in consultation with various stakeholders as well as ACASA representatives (Reeder and Killorn, 2014). One of the objectives was to incorporated proven vulnerability assessment methods involving the community in order to identify local vulnerabilities and define options for local adaptation. The methodology of this project was based on the Community Vulnerability Assessment Tool (CVAT) developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), modified for use in rural communities by the Department of Geography at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador (Leone Pippard & Associates 2012). The CVAT process has al has also been recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, 2005).

The main method used in the project was a series of facilitated consultations with community members, designed to identify local climate hazards and the associated impacts (Reeder and Killorn, 2014). Working groups with 6-8 community members, representing a diverse range of stakeholder, were set up in each participating municipality. Municipal councils were involved in recruiting members for the workgroups, providing meeting spaces and passing a motion supporting the project. The typical progression of the working groups over the series of meetings is outlined in figure 16.

Typical progression of a working group in the Charlotte County Vulnerability Assessment.

Figure 16. Typical progression of a working group in the Charlotte County Vulnerability Assessment.

Source: Reeder and Killorn (2014)

Part of the tools used during the working group sessions was participative mapping using colour-coded markers (Figure 17). Thus, members were asked to identify

  • their home on the printed community map using numbered yellow sticker dots;
  • the physical impacts of each climate hazard that both have occurred and/or were of future concern using red sticker dots;
  • social and economic impacts, including the closure of businesses and schools, disruption of access to goods and services, the location of vulnerable individuals or groups, and the economic sectors that have been or could be impacted, using blue sticker dots;
  • environmental impacts of climate hazards using green sticker dots.
Example of the community mapping for Saint Stephen transposed into Google Earth.

Figure 17. Example of the community mapping for Saint Stephen transposed into Google Earth.

Source: Reeder and Killorn (2014)

LiDAR data was available for the most important and vulnerable municipalities in the study area: Saint Stephens, Saint Andrews, Saint George, Black’s harbour and North Head on Grand Manan island (figure 18). This data allows to construct digital elevation models and simulate flood events of different amplitude (and hence statistical return period) and to simulate different scenarios of sea level rise.

LiDAR coverage of the municipalities of Charlotte County.

Figure 18. LiDAR coverage of the municipalities of Charlotte County.

Source: Reeder and Killorn (2014)

For the four coastal communities, anticipated changes in relative sea-level were calculated, based on the IPCC representative concentration pathway (RCP) 8 sea level rise projections, the most pessimistic of the scenarios in the Fifth assessment report (AR-5) and on estimates for local subsidence resulting from post-glacial isostatic adjustment (table 3). The highest storm surges were based on 1 in a 100 year storms to occur during the high tide portion of the tidal cycle in the Saint-John tidal gauge; it is 0.94 m (Reeder and Killorn, 2014). Scenarios for inland flooding based on digital elevation models obtained from LiDAR surveys were also devised (Reeder and Killorn, 2014).

Tableau 3. Anticipated changes in sea level rise for the municipalities in Charlotte County

Example of the community mapping for Saint Stephen transposed into Google Earth.

Source : Daigle (2014); Reeder and Killorn (2014)

Tableau 4. presents some of the main findings obtained during the course of the 5 meetings with the working groups.

Click here to view the table

Source : based on Reeder and Killorn (2014)