4.8 The Bay of Fundy and the tides of climate change

1.5 Land occupancy and conservation efforts

The Bay of Fundy area comprises several large cities, but also vast stretches of fairly pristine shoreline. On the New Brunswick side, the major urban areas are the Moncton CMA (138,000 inh.), Saint-John metropolitan area (127,000 inh.), Sackville (5,558 inh.), Memramcook (4,831 inh.), Saint Stephen (4,817 inh.), and Saint-Andrews (1,889 inh.). On the Nova Scotia side, there are the Kentville urban area (14,234 inh.), Amherst (9,717 inh.), Yarmouth (6,761 inh.), and Kingston-Greenwood (6,595 inh.). There are also industrial activities located on the Bay (including a refinery, a nuclear power plant), and shipping. Shipping activities result from oil transportation, fishing and passenger ferries. Conservation areas. Agriculture plays an important part, especially in southeastern New Brunswick and in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia.

The largest conservation zone is the Fundy National Park (figure 7), a federal park covering 207 km2. It receives around a quarter million visitors a year. Uses in the park are restricted to recreational and scientific uses; hunting and fishing are not allowed. There is no residential use, apart from two camping sites and there are few roads through the park.

The Fundy Park in April.

Figure 7. The Fundy Park in April.

Source: Photo S. Weissenberger, 2009

There are also three national wildlife areas (Portobello Creek, est. 1995, Shepody, est. 1980, Tintamarre, est. 1977 in the Tantramar marshes), two migratory bird sanctuaries (Grand-Manan, est. 1931, Machias Seal Island, est. 1944) and a dozen provincial protected areas in the vicinity of the Bay of Fundy, on the New Brunswick side.

The south-eastern part of the Bay of Fundy has been declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2007. It encompasses 442,250 ha forming the watershed of the upper Bay of Fundy. It is divided into three parts: 1) a core conservation area of 20,600 ha identical to the Fundy National Park, 2) a buffer zone of 26,124 ha which includes other protected and conservation areas and 3) a transition area of 395,552 ha formed of provincial and federal Crown lands, industrial and private forested land, agricultural and diked marshlands, municipalities, in which in theory local activities that promote sustainable development should be predominant. The management is ensured by a non-profit organization with members from the local community, park managers, municipal managers, and from academia.

The Fundy Biosphere, in partnership with researchers at Mount Allison University (project leaders Ben Phillips and Ian Mauro), have investigated the impacts of climate change on the region through a series of interviews with local and regional stakeholders. Some of the videos can be seen on the site of Climate Change in Atlantic Canada.