Understanding and Assessing Impacts
Over the last 50 years, wetlands were created over a large section of land that were once drained and dyked for agriculture at Wallace Bay NWA. This marine wetland is made up of tidal channels and salt marsh; biodiversity has flourished at Wallace Bay, with DUC and CWS working together to monitor habitat conditions, adjust water levels and maintain the infrastructure. While the Wallace Bay NWA is generally protected from the most severe storms due to its location at the headwaters of Wallace Harbour, over time, with sea levels rising, one of the segments, Wallace Bay #3, became more challenging to oversee. Tides were topping the dike, speeding up erosion, and making it harder to maintain. A management plan for Wallace Bay NWA was completed by the Canadian Wildlife Service in 2016. The management plan identified a number of challenges and threats including predicted sea level rise resulting in erosion of the expansive salt marshes within Wallace Bay. The management plan notes that, as the uplands rise quickly in elevation around the existing wetlands, the loss of salt marsh along the coast is unlikely to be matched by gains at the salt marsh-upland interface. With increasing frequency and strength of storms, this may cause erosion to increase with eventual significant loss of wetland habitat. At Wallace Bay 3, marsh transgression was not possible because of dyke infrastructure that excluded tidal processes.