Understanding and Assessing Impacts
Much of the work being done in Truro, Nova Scotia is in response to a fall 2012 major flood event which breached local dykes and forced the evacuation of a nearby high school. Those organizations affiliated with the Making Room for Wetlands – spearheaded by St. Mary’s University (SMU) and CB Wetlands and Environmental Specialists (CBWES) – partially relied on flood risk assessment data previously modeled by a local engineering and consulting company. These organizations also considered aspects such as site history, hydrology, and various draft dyke designs. Further, project leads went about extensive community consultation as well as forming a Marsh Body through the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture. These steps aided in encouraging public participation and increasing agency. While a formal cost/benefit analysis was not conducted, decisions were made with an eye towards cost effectiveness and financial sustainability. The study notes that while the extent to which alterations to existing dykes positively affect adaptive capacity has yet to be determined, business as usual would have seen an increase in flood events and necessity for ever-larger engineering interventions. This case faced a variety of challenges including a lack of historical flood data, jurisdictional ambiguity, and barriers related to funding access. Despite the above complications, Truro ultimately prevailed in creating a dyke management plan thanks in large part to strong communication and extensive public consultation.