The impacts of climate change have been evident and well-documented along the coast of PEI for decades. Several major storms in the early 2000’s caused unprecendented flooding and erosion and spurred action by the Government of PEI to undertake a number of important coastal resotration projects to protect infrastructure and ecosystems. The 2021 Climate Change Risk Assessment identifies coastal erosion as the greatest level of risk to PEI by 2050. It notes that, due to the Island’s socioeconomic and socio-cultural reliance on the coast, nearly all Islanders are likely to be directly or indirectly affected by coastal erosion in the future. Key consequences of unmitigated future coastal erosion include:
- Potential for long-term or permanent damage to Island infrastructure, especially transportation, and wastewater infrastructure.
- Economic impacts and widespread moderate mental health impacts, particularly as result of loss of sense of place.
- Risk to endangered and at-risk species (e.g., piping plover) and unique natural environments (e.g., mobile parabolic sand dunes).
- Impacts to the tourism and recreation industry, including narrowed beaches and restricted access to parks, historic landmarks, golf courses, and other resources.
- Inundation or erosion of socio-cultural coastal communities and properties.