My Summer at ACAP

Having worked in the environmental and conservation field for a few years now and seeing and hearing about all the various project that ACAP Saint John had worked on in the past and were presently working on, sparked my interest in wanting to work there. When I was offered the amazing opportunity to work for them for the summer, I jumped on it. There were many projects that I had the pleasure to work on, too many to talk about them all, but I will mention a few of the ones I enjoyed the most.

One of my favorite projects to work on was the harbour baseline monitoring program. Part of this project involved fishing using fyke nets and a beech seine. This was especially fun for me having never worked in the marine environment before let alone in the largest tides in the world. Our fishing occurred at six different sites. Each with its own interesting obstacle, from ankle deep mud to large waves soaking you in saltwater, and I loved every bit of it. Having been able to see and work with the many different species of fish was a great opportunity.

Another one of my favorite projects was seal spotting. Through out the summer we conducted seal counts using spotting scopes observing haul out sites often frequented by seals. We also canoed and kayaked out into a known seal location one evening. The seals swam around our boats for just under two hours, its was quite an experience. Working with seals allowed me the opportunity to work with mammals which is a career goal of mine, and I look forward to seeing where the project goes in the future.

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The final project that I really enjoyed was working on the street tree inventory of the North End. Urban forestry provided some unique identification challenges that allowed me to expand my knowledge of non-native and rare trees in New Brunswick. The survey also allowed me to explore Saint John and visit places I would have never seen otherwise.

Overall, I really enjoyed working at ACAP Saint John for the summer. There was always something new and interesting happening in the office. The ACAP team were all nice and fun to work with, they were always teaching me new things and allowing me to get hands on and learn more about the environment and their own expertise. Many of the projects had partnerships outside of ACAP from around the province which allowed me to make new connections and learn about what other work is going on around New Brunswick. Thank you for the great summer it was an experience I will never forget.

Aiden Isbill

A CAPtivating Summer

As many students know, the search for a summer job can be a stressful one. It can be difficult to find a good job at all, let alone one in your field of study. Having spent the past five summers working as a camp counselor, I was ready for a change; so when I discovered the summer student position at ACAP, I knew it was the job for me. I remember walking into the office for the first time on the day of my interview and I could already tell what a vibrant and exciting workplace this would be. I had no idea what to expect on my first day of work, but that turned out to be a bit of a theme throughout my summer. When working as a summer student for ACAP, each day brings new opportunities that you could never expect.

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My main project of the summer was working on the Environmental Outreach and Engagement Initiative. I spent many hours compiling ideas from books, blogs and other staff members to create a brand new environmental education program for the YMCA camps at the Glenn Carpenter Centre. Then, once camp started, I was there every week to administer this new program myself. Thanks to my many previous years working as a camp counselor, I felt very comfortable in the beautiful outdoor setting and took on the role of the YMCA’s “Earth Educator” with pride. The campers knew me as “Acorn” (which I was nicknamed because it sounds like ACAP) and together we spent the summer exploring the wilderness and learning about all it has to offer. Working on this project was so rewarding, especially when I would arrive onsite to an excited chorus of “Acorn’s here!” I believe the campers greatly enjoyed the activities I completed with them and it is my hope that they continue to feel the same kind of passion for their natural surroundings even after the summer is long over.  

I am pursuing a degree in sustainability and biology at Dalhousie University and I am really looking forward to entering my second year with some environmental field work under my belt! Between seine fishing, planting a rain garden and even just spending time in the office around professional biologists, this job has given me so many memories and experiences that I can take with me as I work through my degree and beyond. I am so grateful to have had the chance to work alongside people who are truly making a difference in this increasingly relevant field. It is more important now than ever to include as many people in environmental outreach as possible, especially youth. It makes me feel very fortunate that I was able to influence so many young people in my community this summer. I taught them not only to make more eco-friendly, sustainable choices but to make time to enjoy nature and I encourage anyone who may be reading this to do the same!

Brianna Blair

Our Summer at ACAP

As Chemical Technology students from NBCC, a co-op work term is a mandatory credit for us. We first heard about ACAP through a presentation at our college from a previous summer student. We have to say that the ACAP team has left a big impression on us all. We were inspired by their work in environmental studies, water quality monitoring, restoring watersheds, tree planting, and seal monitoring. We looked forward to working with the ACAP team every day.

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Our work was divided into two sections, which we always referred to as fieldwork and lab work. Every day we visited multiple sites where we collected data and water samples. The samples were brought back to the lab, where we performed experiments to measure the chemical and biological composition of the water.

Fieldwork was a very important task that we performed daily while working at ACAP. Although we started around the end of May while the weather was still cold and rainy, we had amazing experiences and made unforgettable memories on those first days. Roxanne MacKinnon, an environmental technologist at ACAP, drove us to the sites and demonstrated how to collect the water samples. She also trained us on safety, and encouraged us to remain safe at all times while working.

This was the first time any of us had worked in a lab. Our experiments involved measuring the total phosphate and ammonia concentrations, total dissolved solids, and fecal coliform. From getting into a daily routine, improving our techniques, compiling and organizing data, and even troubleshooting. We learned a lot, and enjoyed our lab experienced thoroughly.

In the end, we really enjoyed our summer working for ACAP. We got to experience a lot of new things, met a lot of people, and learned more about Saint John and its vibrant aquatic ecosystem. It truly felt like an awesome adventure.

Luke Gaudet, Jessy Tran, and Minh Truong

Climate Change, Community, and a Coastal City

In May 2019, I began my role as the Climate Change Adaptation Intern at ACAP Saint John. This internship was the final milestone required to complete the Masters of Climate Change (MCC) program from University of Waterloo. What is the Masters of Climate Change? It’s a unique program that focuses on creating an interdisciplinary group of climate change specialists! Individuals with different backgrounds and interests were brought together to learn and discuss the challenges created by Earth’s changing climate. Throughout the MCC program, our discussions were focused on the success of adaptation and mitigation How do we adapt to these climate impacts? How can we prepare our society for predicted changes? After several months of course work (which felt like years!), the internship milestone is intended to apply the research and problem-solving skills in a real-world setting.

Good morning Saint John!

Good morning Saint John!

During the 2019 winter term, I began applying for an internship position where I could apply this new education. I was eager to apply out of Ontario and hopeful that this could be an opportunity for me to explore a new part of Canada. Sure enough, it has been! I moved to Saint John, New Brunswick at the start of May and have been amazed by the beauty of the coastline, the old growth Acadian forests and the contrast of the industrial sector. Yet the real reason I came to New Brunswick was not to hike and admire the sights but rather to help create a plan that will effectively prepare Saint John for climate change. The floods of 2018 and 2019 have began an on-going discussion (throughout all of Canada) that places emphasis on the severity of climate change. What is happening to our homes? What is happening to our ecosystem? With spring floods, localized rainfall flooding in low lying areas as well as increasing summer temperatures, the impacts of climate change are obvious. It has never been so important to provide solutions that can combat the impacts of extreme weather.

Saint John River Flood, 2019

Saint John River Flood, 2019

In 2017, ACAP Saint John began working to develop a Climate Adaptation Plan for the city. Like many other Canadian cities, this plan is intended to protect and reduce the impacts of climate change on valued infrastructure and vulnerable groups. Working alongside the climate change coordinator, Bailey Brogan, I was appointed to aid in the completion of the adaptation plan and engage in public events. A portion of the summer has been developing a list of recommended actions for the city to take based on the identified vulnerabilities and risks in Saint John. As well, the adaptation work involved constructing a public rain garden in Queen Square West and engaging residents at the Area 506 festival. The community response was thankful for the climate action being taken by ACAP! In the future, it is important that these public conversations continue with a positive focus on the work being done in the city.

Rain Garden in Queen Square West, August 2019.

Rain Garden in Queen Square West, August 2019.

Beyond the climate change planning process, I am grateful to have participated with the ACAP team at public events and for various field work activities. This community-based organization has a positive environmental influence in Saint John, and I am hopeful that the adaptation actions will be taken to reduce the negative impacts of climate change. This plan is an opportunity for Saint John to step forward and transform towards a healthier, safer and climate resilient community!

Jamylynn McDonald

Cyanobacteria: What's the issue?

Cyanobacteria blooms and toxic events have been on the rise across Canada in recent years, from blooms so big you can see them from space in Lake Erie or small day-long-lived blooms in small lakes. As our summers stay warm and water temperatures remain high, risk for cyanobacteria blooms will continue. In the past year, four dogs have lost their lives due to ingesting cyanobacteria along the Wolastoq [St. John River] causing obvious concern for pet owners, researchers, government officials and river lovers.

So, what are cyanobacteria?

Cyanobacteria or blue-green algae as they are sometimes called due to confusion from early scientists who thought they were an algae, are actually photosynthetic bacteria. Some species, but not all, produce toxins that are toxic to humans and other vertebrates that cause different reactions from nervous system and organ impacts to gastrointestinal illness and skin irritation.

Cyanobacteria are naturally occurring in waterbodies and have existed for billions of years; however, human impacts on water quality can increase the abundance of cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria thrive in warm waters with excess nutrients. Many human activities can cause an increase in the availability of nutrients entering our lakes and rivers, particularly phosphorus.

Phosphorus can be found in many sources including:

  • cleaners

  • fertilizers

  • runoff from lawns, agricultural land, and forestry operation sites, and

  • is naturally occurring in topsoil and sediment

When phosphorus levels are high, cyanobacteria can quickly dominate the habitat with these extra nutrients, creating either a bloom or an abundance of benthic mats.

Through research in the Lawrence lab at UNB Fredericton, it has been discovered that in the Wolastoq [St. John River] there are two types of cyanobacteria of concern: species that form surface blooms and species that form mats.

Example of a surface cyanobacteria bloom in a New Brunswick

Example of a surface cyanobacteria bloom in a New Brunswick

Surface bloom forming cyanobacteria are more common and what people generally think of when the issue of cyanobacteria comes up. These are the blooms that you can see on the surface or in the water column that look green or blue-ish green and will form in warm, slow moving water like the many lakes and bays within the watershed. These blooms can still contain species capable of producing toxins, the most common being microcystin, that are known to cause skin irritation, gastrointestinal illness, and liver damage.  Many lakes have had advisories for these blooms – Grand Lake, Lac Baker, Washademoak Lake, and Nashwaak Lake to name a few. A full listing of cyanobacteria advisories can be found here: https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/ocmoh/health_advisories.html

Example of a surface cyanobacteria bloom in New Brunswick

Example of a surface cyanobacteria bloom in New Brunswick

The newly discovered large cyanobacteria mats in the river are made of up species capable of creating potent neurotoxins (anatoxins) are far less studied and a new concern in our river system. Unlike a surface bloom, these mats can be present in water that looks completely clear with only a scum on the rocks and therefore looks okay for swimming, increasing the risk of exposure to these toxins. The Environment Canterbury Regional Council states that benthic cyanobacteria mats present as “substrate covered in thick brown or black mats that have a slimy/velvety texture and earthy/musty smell”.

According to researchers at UNB, these mats have formed in many areas along the main stem of the river on cobble and muddy substrates and have also been found on other aquatic vegetation. When they grow to an abundance or ‘bloom’, parts of the mat can be broken off and travel downstream where it can get washed up on shore. This causes people and pets to be exposed fairly easily if walking along the waters edge. Exposure to these toxins through ingestion or inhalation of aerosols can be fatal to everything with a nervous system. Have a listen to this interview with Dr. Janice Lawrence to learn more about her research.

Example of a cyanobacteria benthic mat found in New Zealand (photo from RNZ:  https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/364382/bay-of-plenty-warning-issued-over-toxic-algal-bloom )

Example of a cyanobacteria benthic mat found in New Zealand (photo from RNZ: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/364382/bay-of-plenty-warning-issued-over-toxic-algal-bloom)

Reduce your risk

To reduce your and your pet’s risks to cyanotoxins exposure, inspect the water and substrate for cyanobacteria, avoid contact with the water when cyanobacteria advisories are in place, do not ingest or drink any contaminated water – even boiling will not remove toxins - and inform the New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government Regional office in your area if you suspect a bloom.

What can you do to help?

  • Reduce the use of phosphorus on your property

  • Reduce runoff into waterbodies by creating or protecting buffer areas between the lawn and watercourses by planting native trees and shrubs

  • Install rain gardens and rain barrels to reduce over-land runoff

  • Prevent erosion by keeping streambanks and riparian areas naturalized with good tree and shrub cover

  • Properly maintain septic systems

To learn more about cyanobacteria in the Wolastoq and expert recommendations have a listen to this three part expert panel here:

Part one - https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-25-information-morning-fredericton/clip/15727270-cyanobacteria-questions-answered-by-experts-part-1

Part two - https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-25-information-morning-fredericton/clip/15727269-cyanobacteria-questions-answered-by-experts-part-2

Part three - https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-25-information-morning-fredericton/clip/15727272-cyanobacteria-questions-answered-by-experts-part-3

Want to learn even more? Here is some additional reading:

Blue-green algae in New Brunswick Lakes: Questions and Answers

Government of Canada’s cyanobacteria and cyanotoxin guidelines for recreational waters

New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government - Algae



Seal of Approval

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It’s not uncommon for Saint Johners to see seals during their travels. Whether they are walking on the Harbour Passage or causally boating along the Wəlastəkw [St. John River]. Even the Saint John Sea Dogs and Port Saint John use the seal as their mascots!

But did you know that there hasn’t been much research conducted on seals in the Bay of Fundy, specifically here in our Harbour? Sure, we know general facts like how much they weigh and what they like to eat, but their population size is currently unknown in our region.

To help fill in some of these data gaps, ACAP has stepped out of their comfort zone to monitor Harbour Seals right here in the Saint John Harbour!

Dr. Terhune from UNBSJ is what I like to call a seal expert. In 1984 and 1987, Dr. Terhune and his team monitored harbour seal numbers along the Southern coast of New Brunswick. Aerial surveys (on a fancy plane might I add) were conducted every two weeks for 12 months (weather permitting). Surveys were completed when low tide occurred in the mid-afternoon at different haul out sites* along the coast and the number of seals that were hauled out were recorded.

*haul out site: a location (such as an intertidal ledge, mudbank, beach or ice flow) where a seal will come completely out of the water and lie quietly for a few hours. In areas like the Bay of Fundy, with high tidal influence, haul out sites are exposed on the falling tide. It’s thought that seals will haul out to rest, for thermoregulation and to avoid predators.

Dr. Terhune found that the seal population took a seasonal shift south (towards Maine and Massachusetts) during the winter (Jacobs and Terhune, 2000). Since their population hasn’t been studied in so long, ACAP Saint John decided to replicate the same methods as Dr. Terhune and have been monitoring different seal haul out sites throughout the Saint John Harbour. Instead of using planes and helicopters to complete our surveys, we have been using spotting scopes, binoculars and drones (directly from shore) to count the seals that haul out.

Our study will take place over the next two years, where we will monitor the different haul out sites biweekly and count and record the number of seals that are seen (including both seals hauled out and any seen swimming around).  The black triangles on the map below are where the haul out sites that we have been monitoring are located.

We began monitoring seals in November and seals were observed even throughout the winter months despite the cold. It is still too early to make any conclusive results when it’s only been a few months of observations, but collecting data over the next couple of years will contribute to filling up data gaps in our region.

Map of Harbour Seal haul out site locations throughout the Saint John Harbour.

Map of Harbour Seal haul out site locations throughout the Saint John Harbour.


Citizen Science

Have you seen any harbour seals lately? We’re interested in hearing from you! If you see any seals at all during your travels, whether they are swimming along the river or hauled out on some rocks, let us know! You can fill out a Seal Sighting Submission Form and let us know how many seals you saw and roughly where you spotted them. This data collected will help us determine the population of seals here in the Saint John Harbour.


References

Jacobs, S.R., and J.M. Terhune. 2000. Harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) numbers along the New Brunswick coast of the Bay of Fundy in autumn in relation to aquaculture. Northeastern Naturalist 7:289-296.

BEING A CO-OP STUDENT AT ACAP

When I first decided to take co-op for a credit, I had no idea where I was going to go for a placement. I have always been interested in environmental issues but I never heard of a place near me that dealt with those kinds of problems. When I was searching up the possible places for me to attend for two hours each morning, I was looking for a placement that would teach me something about a topic I’m interested in. That’s when I found ACAP. I started in February and each day since I’ve learned something new, whether it was figuring out how to use a drill to put up the new coat racks or doing water quality monitoring in great locations where I had a blast.

Climate Strike

Midway through my time with ACAP I began planning a climate strike/cleanup at my local town hall (Rothesay). It went over really well and I plan to have many more in the coming months. I met great friend and mentor Lynaya Astephen through ACAP and she has helped me and given me amazing connections to this line of work which I am forever in her debt; none of this would have been possible if I didn’t do my co-op term here.

Before this semester I barely knew how to garden, the employees here put their trust in me to get the seeds ready for the indoor containers right off the bat. Even though they didn’t turn out as good as I hoped it was still good considering my experience. It even inspired me to start my own garden at home!

Best Day

My favourite week here was definitely the water quality monitoring just because I loved being out in the field and on the water. They were great teachers and let me do lots of things which I really enjoyed because some places only let you observe but I was allowed to conduct data which was amazing. They told me all about the tools and equipment and treated me like one of them. Despite falling in the mud and getting stuck several times it was still a fantastic morning.

At Little River

At Little River

Even on slow days inside when everyone was busy, I could always check my inbox and there would be a fish research paper waiting, which I thought was great and I really enjoyed reading them. I’m going into my first year of university this fall and am taking aquatic resources and I feel this has helped me tremendously prepare for that. Now I know some important things about this kind of work that I have experienced instead of just reading about it.

I am very grateful to everyone at ACAP for showing me how much fun this job industry is (at least at their office). I know now that I would love to do this kind of work later in life and that wouldn’t have been possible without them. I highly suggest volunteering with them on future projects and I promise you will not regret it; you will have fun and will be making a difference.

Annie McMullon

Protect, Accommodate, Retreat

The 2019 flood: the second major flood event in New Brunswick in the past year, the third in the past 11 years. As of May 2019, approximately 639 households have registered with the Red Cross for flood relief support. The response from last year’s “once in a century flood” was major, individuals and communities came together to help one another through this natural disaster. People were comforted by the thought that this probably wouldn’t happen again for another ten years, but the reality is, as the climate changes these events will become a more common occurrence. After two floods in a row, people are already feeling the fatigue that recurring events can bring. When recovering from back to back flooding events many people want to know, what can they change so that this doesn’t happen to them again?

Essentially there are three options that people living in flood prone areas can choose to adapt: protect, accommodate or retreat. With each option, comes its own set of costs and challenges. Whichever option you choose (or combination of options) will be the one that makes the most sense with your physical location, available resources and time.

(Natural Resources Canada, 2016)

(Natural Resources Canada, 2016)

Protect: This method includes setting up an either temporary or permanent structure between a waterway and infrastructure that will hold back flood water. While sandbagging can be an effective flood protection measure, it is time consuming and physically demanding work. Many volunteers made themselves available to help sandbagging in 2018 and 2019, and the military provided assistance in 2019. After floodwaters recede, homeowners are then left with wet, heavy and potentially contaminated sandbags that need to be disposed of in the landfill.

Sandbags holding back floodwater (Eastern Ontario Network, 2018)

Sandbags holding back floodwater (Eastern Ontario Network, 2018)

Other temporary protection devices include “Water Gates,” Water Inflated Property Protectors and interlocking flood barriers. These structures are reusable and can be easy to install. Investing in alternative kinds of flood barriers may save time and reduce the amount of manpower needed for protection.

Photo: Interlocking flood barriers, (Design 1st, 2018).

Photo: Interlocking flood barriers, (Design 1st, 2018).

Other ways to protect your home from flooding is to move appliances and furniture to upper floors of your home, install a sump pump, and seal and cracks in your foundation or gaps around basement windows. Follow this link for more resources about flood preparedness.

Accommodate: The method requires altering infrastructure to be more resilient to flooding. This includes jacking up houses, adding basements or height to foundations, building homes on stilts, raising road levels (like Ragged Point Road, Saint John), redesigning basements to be able to withstand flooding, or restoring wetland habitat. If you qualify for Disaster Financial Assistance you may use up to 15% of the allocated funds for mitigation of flooding on your property.

Flood proofing is especially important if you use petroleum products for home heating or cooking. Ensuring vents and fill pipes for aboveground and underground storage tanks are above the 1 in 100 year flood line will avoid contaminating flood waters and causing further post-flood cleanup headaches. The province of New Brunswick has provided a Petroleum Product Storage Tank System Flood Protection Checklist to guide homeowners with home heating oil or propane tanks.

Retreat: Moving infrastructure away from risk zones. This method can be very costly, but will ensure that you will likely not be impacted by future flood events. Currently if 80% of the value of your home has been damaged by flooding, the Province of New Brunswick will buy out a home or property (Seventy-eight properties were bought out after the 2018 flood). Recently, the Government of New Brunswick bought three properties on Darlings Island and sold the homes with the requirement that they are moved out of the flood zone.  Buyouts were also used in 2012 in Perth Andover after devastating flooding.

A fourth option for dealing with flooding is to avoid building in flood risk areas altogether. For this option to be successful, action will need to be taken at a policy level. Guidelines for floodplain management and updating flood hazard mapping will help governments make informed decisions when allowing new development. Individuals can keep this in mind as well when choosing where to build or if considering buying a new home that is within the flood zone. There are resources available on the GeoNB website that shows the 1973 and 2008 flood zones - this can be used as a guide for the public when searching for a new home or land.

We have learned many lessons over the past year and will continue to learn from this flood. As climate change progresses, floods in New Brunswick will become more common, so considering your options to protect, accommodate, or retreat can help to increase our resiliency to flooding events in the future.

Have you tried any methods to adapt to flooding? Leave us a comment or contact office@acapsj.org to share your story.

Kennebecasis Drive, 2019.

Kennebecasis Drive, 2019.

Sources:

Admin, E. (2018). “New Brunswick flooding to continue for ‘at least’ 5 days, state of emergency not ruled out” Eastern Ontario Network Television.

http://easternontarionetwork.com/2018/05/05/new-brunswick-flooding-to-continue-for-at-least-5-days-state-of-emergency-not-ruled-out/

CBC Information Morning Fredericton (2019). “Province offers financial aid to owners of flood-damaged buildings. CBC News New Brunswick.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/jeff-carr-cottage-owners-flood-1.5121368

Campbell, A. (2012). “N.B. to spend up to $8M to relocate Perth Andover homes.” CTV News Atlantic.  https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/n-b-to-spend-up-to-8m-to-relocate-perth-andover-homes-1.980575

Design 1st (2018). 5 New Flood Prevention Products.  https://www.design1st.com/5-innovative-flood-prevention-products-replace-sandbags/

Lemmen, D.S., Warren, F.J., James, T.S. and Mercer Clarke, C.S.L. editors (2016). Canada’s Marine Coasts in a Changing Climate; Government of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 274p. https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/sites/www.nrcan.gc.ca/files/earthsciences/files/pdf/NRCAN_fullBook%20%20accessible.pdf

New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (NB EMO) (2019). Disaster Financial Assistance Frequently Asked Questions. Government of New Brunswick. https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/pa-ap/pdf/Report_Damages/dfa_faq.pdf

NB EMO (2019). 2019 Freshet by the Numbers. Government of New Brunswick. https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/pa-ap/River_Watch/pdf/2019_freshet-e.pdf

New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government (2016). Petroleum Product Storage Tank System Flood Protection Guidance Checklist. Government of New Brunswick. https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/env/pdf/Flooding-Inondations/PetroleumProductStorageTankSystemFloodProtectionGuidance.pdf

Service New Brunswick (2019). GeoNB Map Viewer. Government of New Brunswick. http://www.snb.ca/geonb1/e/index-E.asp

Smith, C. (2019) “Province clears houses from Nauwigewauk flood zone”. CBC News New Brunswick.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/flooding-flood-freshet-spring-darlings-island-uber-rob-1.5005203

Reconstructing nature in our communities

“The surface of the Earth itself is an immense loom upon which the sun weaves the fabric of existence” - Wade Davis

As spring looms, we will see proliferation of plant life emerging from the ground and budding overhead. As photons charge photosynthesis, there are detrimental changes being thrust upon the ecological fabric in the form of human progress. Progress in discordance with ecology is having devastating effects on natural functioning. Effects on water, land and air are being observed, quicker than these systems can catch up. Declines in species, like the mighty salmon or the busy honey bee, ocean acidification, deforestation, polluted lakes, and the list goes on. These effects can be felt from global warming, over fishing, mining, stream alterations, industrial effluents, urbanization and countless others.

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Most of us that read about or witness these effects are disheartened. We ask ourselves: what can we do? When we see the politicizing of climate change or the changing of environmental laws to benefit special interests, we are beleaguered into thinking it is hopeless. When G.I. Gurdjieff said: “Only super-efforts count”, he meant with intention, steadfastness, and continuity, not in necessarily in size. Small changes can have lasting impacts. Many small changes can have many lasting impacts. As individuals, we can make lasting impacts on the health of the environment. Transform good thoughts into acts, these acts turn into habits and habits into character, creating super-efforts.  

An act as simple as planting native trees and shrubs can bolster ecological integrity immensely, such as helping declining insect pollinator populations, stream health, aiding in climate change adaptation, creating shade, promoting psychological well being, filtering pollutants, combating erosion, and adding to the plant community. Depending on individual concerns and values, planting can be focused in many ways, helping to counteract negative environmental trends.

Bee population decline has made major headlines over the last decade and a half. Pollinators, bees specifically, are important for integrity of wildflower communities (Aguilar et al 2006) and food crops (Klein et al 2006). This threatens biodiversity, which is a huge ecological threat, but also through an anthropogenic lens, threatens food security. However you frame it, bees are important for a healthy ecosystem and crucial for human existence. Bees are fighting an uphill battle, with stresses ranging from varroa mites (Le Conta et al 2010), climate change, pesticide toxicity, and pathogens (vanEngelsdorp et al 2009) bee colonies are not boding well.

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Making bee-friendly garden plots is an easy way to support honey-bee populations and other pollinators. Planting native trees and shrubs that bloom at different times can help pollinators. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has a list of forbs, shrubs and trees for Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the NE States with different bloom times. Planting trees, shrubs and flowers with different blooming periods will benefit pollinators throughout the growing season are inventoried in the link below:   

https://xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/2017-051_NortheastPlantList_Dec2017_web-3page.pdf

See link below for guidelines for step-by-step instructions for establishing pollinator meadows from seed:

https://xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/EstablishingPollinatorMeadows.pdf

If you are a Saint Johner or Haligonian you can stop by Halifax Seed, or if you are an Eastern Canadian that online shops click on link below for Eastern Canadian wildflower mix with sheep’s fescue grass (to mitigate erosion):

https://halifaxseed.ca/products/product/eastern-canadian-mix-with-fescue

If your concerns lay with the waning Monarch numbers, you can plant milkweed in your gardens to provide a safe haven for this pollinating insect. Milkweed provides food for caterpillars and butterflies. The link below sells milkweed seeds by donation:  

https://www.monarchbutterflies.ca/home.html

Planting of native trees and shrubs can also benefit the health of streams and rivers. Planting along stream banks can filter pollutants, combat erosion, provide in-stream cover and shade for fish, and breeding and nursing areas for birds, insects, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. If your property has streams, creeks or brooks on it, you would be helping the ecology of the watershed immensely by planting native trees and shrubs along the stream side.

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Planting rain gardens in your yard can help manage risks from flooding. A rain garden is planted in low lying area, like a natural depression on your property. Rain gardens benefit can help prevent localized flooding, filter pollutants from storm water picking up contaminants, and create more varied habitat for wildlife. You want to choose plants that are good in moist conditions. Consult your local garden center for information on local plants that are tolerant in moist conditions. See link below for ideas on how to construct a rain garden:

https://www.familyhandyman.com/garden/how-to-build-a-rain-garden-in-your-yard/

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If you are interested in organizing a planting event contact us:  

http://www.acapsj.org/contact

If you are an army of one and want to volunteer with us, sign up here:

http://www.acapsj.org/volunteers

A few seeds planted in the right place can improve ecological conditions. Here at ACAP we planted 1,103 trees last year with help of volunteers. We, as citizens, can help reconstruct the natural world in our cities and neighbourhoods, by planting native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees.


“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

References

Establishing Pollinator Meadows from Seed. https://xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/EstablishingPollinatorMeadows.pdf

Pollinator Plants Northeast Region. https://xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/2017-051_NortheastPlantList_Dec2017_web-3page.pdf

Aguilar R, Ashworth L, Galetto L, Aizen MA. 2006. Plant reproductive susceptibility to habitat fragmentation: review and synthesis through a meta-analysis. Ecology Letters. 9 (8): 968-980.

Gurdjieff GI. 1950. Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson.

Klein AM, Vaissiere BE, Cane JH, Steffan-Dewenter I, Cunningham SA, Kremen C, Tscharntke T. 2006. Importance of pollinators in changing landscapers for world crops. Proceedings of the Royal Society. 274 (1608): 303-313.

Le Conta Y, Ellis M, Ritter W. 2010. Varroa mites and honey bee health: Can Varroa explain part of the colony losses? Apidologie. 41 (3): 353-363.

Potts SG, Biesmeijer JC, Kremen C, Neumann P, Schweiger O, Kunin WE. 2010. Global pollinator declines: Trends, impacts and drivers. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 25 (6): 345-353.

vanEngelsdorp D, Evans JD, Saegerman C, Mullin C, Haubruge E, Nguyen BK, Frazier J, Cox-Foster D, Chen Y, Underwood R, Tarpy DR, Pettis JS. 2009. Colony collapse disorder: A descriptive study. PLos ONE. 4 (8).

 

A Maritime NGO in Poland

“Call me Isaiah,” the man from Uganda said. A laugh broke out and what had been a faint glint in his eye turned to a roaring smile as we swapped stories of our homelands. 

“You have all that snow and you truck it away? All that freshwater, such a waste,” he says as I explain how our Spring floods can impact farmers and residents along the Wolastoq and in our cities. “You are so blessed,” he tells me, “and it must cost so much and use so much fuel, to discard what many of us need.” 

He is right, yet we all have unique challenges to share, just as one person’s curse is another’s blessing. One thought that enters my head is undeniable in its resolution: it is through our gathering and acknowledging of these perspectives that advances will be made, and that meaningful transformation will take place.

Therein lies the power of a gathering such as the United Nations, for despite the sea of acronyms, the rigid diplomatic protocols, and the overwhelming size of the institutions within it, where else can you have these interactions, and discuss them with requisite intelligence and wit while a thousand other conversations like it take place all around you. This was my experience in Katowice, Poland this past week, as I joined ten thousand others from across the planet for COP24, this year’s UN Climate Change Conference. Over the coming weeks I will be sharing a few of my stories and thoughts from my role as Observer and Delegate at this global Conference of the Parties, how the decisions made there will impact New Brunswick, and what we can all do to forge a dialogue of understanding, much as the one described above between yours truly and my new friend from Uganda. 

“I would love to visit Canada some day, it sounds beautiful,” my friend says, “you have so much space, it must be something.”

With a final roar of laughter he proclaims, “Just maybe not when there is all that snow!”

#SaltyScientists

Partridge Island Breakwater at sunrise

Partridge Island Breakwater at sunrise

On October 31 we went out with a group of researchers and students from UNB Saint John on the Fundy Spray to collect sediment and water samples (we didn’t wear costumes… unless you count the mud that covered me). This was my second time on this boat in the Saint John Harbour for research purposes. It can be a bizarre feeling to be out on the water looking toward the city, instead of looking out to the water from uptown. To see uptown from the water’s point of view while the sun was rising behind it felt pretty special.

The UNBSJ researchers were taking sediment grabs from the ocean floor which are going to be analyzed three separate ways. They will be analyzing sediment for contaminants, microplastics, and invertebrate communities. To have so many different types of data from each one of these sites in the harbour is great! It is always very energizing getting to work with a group of people who are passionate about doing good aquatic research, even when it means being wet and cold and muddy for 8 hours.

ACAP was invited to collect samples on the Fundy Spray, so my colleague Bailey and I collected subsurface water quality data as part of an ECCC Atlantic Ecosystems Initiative grant administered through COINAtlantic. In the video below you can watch Bailey and Jon (MSc student) help sieve sediment to isolate invertebrates and clips of us collecting the water samples. We now have water quality data on 13 sites from this sampling (temperature, salinity, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, pH, phosphates, etc.).

Field work is always exciting, but is even more so when I get to be on the water… and even MORE so when it’s Halloween. Stay tuned for more boat sampling to come this month.

A view of uptown from the Harbour

A view of uptown from the Harbour

Passing under the Harbour bridge

Passing under the Harbour bridge

Cruising toward our first site at sunrise

Cruising toward our first site at sunrise

Lowering the Van Dorn water sampler into the water

Lowering the Van Dorn water sampler into the water

My Summer at ACAP - Cristian Estrella

ACAP Saint John has been a great work experience; I have gone from learning about the Canadian Fauna to learning about the different marine species found in the Maritimes. Providing support to an ecological survey around the Little Marsh Creek area provided me with data analysis experience and real life application of such data. I learned to identify prominent fish species such as sticklebacks, trout, killifish and shiners, as well as rare species such as the American eel, and Sea Lamprey. Co-leading an urban tree inventory for the Lower West Side provided me with the tools to accurately identify all the tree species found in the area.

Overall the ACAP experience has been a very valuable one in terms of the knowledge acquired and the experience as a whole. The support provided by the staff was invaluable and their willingness to help or provide guidance when needed gets them an “excellent” rating. The ACAP Saint John experience was wonderful and I would recommend to anyone able to at least volunteer from one of their projects, to do it without hesitation because you will not regret it.

 - Cristian Estrella

My Summer at ACAP - Andrew Shaddick

After receiving my SEED voucher and scrolling through the many job opportunities, ACAP Saint John very much caught my eye with the description they had posted. It was one of the only environmental non-profits in my area, and the work they had done around the city was something I greatly respected. I was confident that I wanted to work there. 

Upon starting the job, I met my coworkers and was shown around the Social Enterprise Hub, where several other non-profits have their offices. I was struck by the relaxed and pleasant atmosphere in the building and of the people occupying it. For the first week or so, I spent my time reading many of the previous reports that the staff at ACAP Saint John had made over the years. Within the second week, I was in the middle of a full day of tree planting and picking up litter down by Spar Cove. It was tiring work, but I found myself genuinely valuing the improvements we were making to the previously mistreated area. With every tree I planted, I imagined what they might look like in twenty or thirty years. 

It wasn’t long before the first opportunity to go electrofishing came. I had personally never heard of the concept prior to working here, but I suppose the name is pretty self-explanatory. The goal was to get an idea of the abundance, number of species, and size of fish in a particular stream. What always surprised me was just how many fish were contained within what appeared to be a roadside ditch or shallow, forested stream. Our focus during late June/early July was a habitat survey and eventual electrofishing of Little Marsh Creek. I can’t imagine walking around with rubber overalls through densely forested areas in thirty-degree weather is everyone’s cup of tea, but I personally thought it was a great experience, and I’d do it again and again. There was something very enjoyable about exploring an area, taking note of its various natural features, then coming back to discover what sort of fish live in that environment. 

The main duty of us summer students, aside from gardening and keeping the Sustainer Container watered, was completing a tree inventory of the Lower West. We would drive over to catalog trees and record diagnostic details about them, including species, location, height, etc. During this time, we talked with curious and friendly locals about the project, many of whom seemed happy to have people taking an interest in the area. The inventory itself took us about a month to finish, in which we documented nearly six-hundred trees over fifty-seven streets. 

One of my favourite things about working at ACAP Saint John was coming into the office and seeing what new things we were doing that day. The variety of duties kept work interesting and enjoyable. But personally, the best part of working here was that none of it actually felt like work: It was all fun, which was only made better by the kind, funny, and knowledgeable people at ACAP Saint John. It’s unfortunate that I only got to spend a short fourteen weeks in the office, but I appreciate the time I spent here all the same.

Thank you for the opportunity to work at ACAP Saint John and for the wonderful summer I had here,

Andrew Shaddick

Planning for Sea Level Rise in Saint John

Recently ACAP Saint John worked with the New Brunswick Environmental Network to host a Sea Level Rise Workshop at the Saint John Free Public Library. The workshop’s goals were to educate the public on sea level rise concepts, identify areas and infrastructure that may be at risk, and to discuss tools and approaches for adapting to the effects of climate change.

Flood risk maps were shown to participants and depicted water levels at four different stages:

  • Higher High Water Large Tide (HHWLT) (4.6 m) represents the impact of storm surge on higher tides associated with the new moon or full moon cycles. This figure is determined by the average large tide over a 19 year period.

  • HHWLT + 1 m (5.6 m) which depicts sea level rise of 1 m, the approximate height predicted to occur by 2100.

  • HHWLT + 2 m (6.6 m) Saxby Gale Type Event. The Saxby Gale was a hurricane that made landfall during a perigean (extreme high) tide in 1869 and resulted in a storm surge of approximately 1.7-2.1 m high, the highest ever recorded in the Bay of Fundy.

  • 1 in 100 year storm surge in 2100 (6.8 m).  Flooding scenarios are generally modeled for return periods (the average time between events) ranging from and annual event to a one in 100-year event. For example, a 100-year event is predicted to have a one in 100 (1%) chance of occurring in any given year.

Participants were able to visualize what areas may be at risk to sea level rise and discussed some actions that could be taken to prevent damage to coastal assets.

Workshop participants discuss sea level rise in Saint John.

Workshop participants discuss sea level rise in Saint John.

Most coastal infrastructure is built to withstand storms and flood events based on a specific return period (i.e. 1 in 100 year storm). Return periods are calculated based on current weather, and does not include changes in future climate; therefore, in the future a 1 in 100 year event could become a 1 in 50 year event due to increased severity and frequency of storms. To further illustrate this, consider that a 1 in 100 year storm (1% probability) today could create a storm surge of 5.5 m (0.9 m above the current HHWLT). By 2050, this same storm surge level will be a 1 in 2 year event (50% probability) and in 2100 the annual storm surge event is projected exceed the current 1 in 100 year event by 0.8 m. When infrastructure is designed to withstand today’s 1 in 100 year events, it may only do the bare minimum by 2100. Will these predictions be factored into building planning and design? How do we accommodate this moving target?

Now that we have identified what areas may be at risk, we can start to think about adaptation. By making changes to how and where we build, we can be better prepared for climate change impacts.

Adaptation to sea level rise and coastal erosion can be achieved in three ways: protection, accommodation and retreat/avoidance. Examples include:

  • Protection: hard/soft armouring beaches and coastal infrastructure, dykes, sea walls, restoring beaches/coastal wetlands, reinstating vegetation.

  • Accommodation: flood proofing buildings, changing building design guidelines, protection of coastal wetlands and restricting use in coastal areas.

  • Retreat/Avoidance: either abandoning or relocating infrastructure out of low lying areas restricting development in low lying areas.

Depending on the risks and costs associated with each strategy, no single approach can be applied to every situation. A combination of adaptation strategies would provide a more holistic approach to dealing with sea level rise.

Feedback from the workshop participants on the community needs included:

  1. Better access to local information on climate change, sea level rise, etc.

  2. More public consultation on new developments, especially in at risk areas.

  3. Motivated and committed elected officials that will make adaptation a priority.

The Province of New Brunswick is developing flood risk maps that will depict coastal and inland flooding risks. These will be available to the public within the next few years. Community climate change adaptation planning is in the works at ACAP, along with Asset Management and Resilience studies that are being conducted by the City of Saint John. Community consultation on these projects will continue throughout the fall, including a Resilient Community Workshop which will take place on September 13. 

If you have any questions about ACAP's climate adaptation work or are interested in participating in upcoming community consultation please contact office@acapsj.org

References

  • Daigle, R., 2017. Sea Level Rise and Flooding Estimates for New Brunswick Coastal Sections, 2017. R.J. Daigle Enviro. Prepared for New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government.

 

Emerald Ash Borer; Coming to an Ash tree near you!

Insects and diseases have been affecting various tree species for centuries: both occur naturally and keep our trees healthy. However, when invasive species are introduced into the lifecycle, the results can become detrimental to our forests.

The Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus Planipennis), or EAB, is a wood-boring insect originally from Asia and was first detected in Michigan and Southwest Ontario in 2002. It is suspected that this invasive insect was accidently transported to Canada in wood packaging material used on shipping containers. EAB has since spread throughout Ontario, into Quebec, and has recently been detected in Edmundston, New Brunswick (May 17, 2018).

Map showing the current North American distribution of the Emerald Ash Borer from the Cooperative Emerald Ash Borer project. Map last updated on July 2, 2018. 

How does EAB kill trees? EAB attacks only true ash trees, including green, white and black ash and targets trees of all sizes. The beetles feed on ash trees in Asia too, but those trees have developed natural defenses due to co-evolved with the insects. EAB begin to destroy ash trees by laying eggs between the crevices of the bark. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae will bore into the tree and chew through the bark, and feed on the phloem and cambium layers, interrupting the flow of nutrients and water that is needed for the trees survival. After overwintering in the tree, the EAB adults (approximately 10 mm in length, no longer than a grain of rice, and metallic green-blue bodies) will emerge in the spring, leaving small, 1/8-inch, diameter D-shape exit holes. This life cycle creates stress on the trees, causing thinning leaves, die-back in the tree’s canopy and bark loss.

Image acquired from: http://remagazine.coop/electric-cooperatives-ash-borer-beetle/ash_beetle_kk_final_03/

Image acquired from: http://remagazine.coop/electric-cooperatives-ash-borer-beetle/ash_beetle_kk_final_03/

Why should I care? Ash trees do not only play an important role along our riparian zones but have been widely planted in our urban forests. Urban forestry plays a major role in reducing storm runoff, urban noise, providing shade and cooling, and filtering pollutants. Ash trees can often be seen planted along city streets due to their tolerance to urban environments. Until now, ash trees had very few diseases or problems with pests. As the spread of the EAB continues east across Canada, ash trees in New Brunswick are at risk of becoming infested with the invasive species, killing thousands of street trees in the province.

Watch out! Since its discovery in Edmundston, it is only a matter of time before EAB is detected in Saint John. During a 2017 street tree inventory of the Central Peninsula, it was found that 14.1% of street tree species were true ash species. Once the emerald ash borer finds it way to Saint John, ash trees, both in the rural and urban environments, will be lost due this invasive species.

Green and white ash trees found along the streets of the central peninsula surveyed during a street tree inventory (2017). 

What can I do? It’s crucial that we educate the public about the long-term effects of EAB and how we can work together to be ready for the invasion of these pests. 

  • The Emerald Ash Borer is most commonly spread through the movement of firewood and other infested ash wood products. If you transport infested wood you could be helping spread this invasive species across the country. Help prevent the spread of these pests by buying firewood where you will be burning it. 
  • If you happen to have an ash tree on your property, consider planting new trees to replace lost canopy. Great native, deciduous trees to choose from include Bur oak, Red oak, American linden and Sugar maple. Planting a tree on your property is an important step in making our urban forest healthier in the future.
  • Learn how to identify EAB, as well as their signs and symptoms they leave behind. Check out Natural Resources Canada to find out more information. 

Buy local. Don’t move your firewood.


References: 

  • Natural Resource Canada (2016). "Emerald ash borer (factsheet)". Retrieved from: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/forests/fire-insects-disturbances/top-insects/13395

From Pet to Pest

The Invasive Goldfish

Did you know that invasive species are the second biggest threat to biodiversity after habitat loss? Do you ever wonder how some of our invasive species initially arrived to New Brunswick? Alien species can arrive in several ways, including ships, vehicles, machinery, humans and the dispersal via wildlife, wind and water from nearby infested areas. Some species were accidently introduced through ballast water on ships (i.e. zebra mussels, European green crab), while others were intentionally introduced due to benefit humans without knowing that the species would become invasive (i.e. rock pigeons, Japanese knotweed).

Invasive species can thrive in their new environments because they have very few or no natural predators or other elements that would normally keep them in check. These new introduced species have the ability to outcompete our native species for resources (habitat, food and shelter). In just a short time, invasive species can spread across the country if they are not controlled.

Last week, we got a phone call from a local school concerned about the amount of goldfish that can be found in their campus storm water pond. It's thought that students have been dumping their unwanted pets into this waterbody for years when they leave for summer vacation/graduation. You might be asking yourself: what is so harmful about a few goldfish in a natural environment? The answer is: everything. Goldfish are becoming one of the worst invasive aquatic species in the world. These fish are able to tolerate changes in water temperature, as well as water with low levels of dissolved oxygen, and will primarily feed on fish eggs, larvae and aquatic plants – outcompeting our native aquatic species. Goldfish can grow quickly and up to 40 cm in length!

We teamed up with the students from the school to collect as many goldfish as we could out of the pond, and to educate them on the dangers of invasive species. The students suited up in waders, grabbed nets, and began corralling fish. 

Students waist deep in the stormwater pond on school property trying to capture introduced goldfish. 

Students waist deep in the stormwater pond on school property trying to capture introduced goldfish. 

Despite the rain, the students had a great time catching fish. It was even some of the students first time in chest waders – which is a whole different experience in itself. With the help of spectators, students were able to catch almost 25 goldfish! After speaking to some of the teachers from the school, I was informed that there were approximately 80+ goldfish living in this pond. Although the students were not able to catch all the fish, it was thought that this could a be a fun, recurring activity in the future for the students until all the fish are gone.  

Some of the goldfish that were caught using using handheld nets. 

Some of the goldfish that were caught using using handheld nets. 

One of the main questions I received during this workshop was: “what will you be doing with these fish when we go back to class?”. When I was first asked to lead this workshop, I didn’t really have a plan, as I didn’t have a tank at the office or at home to put the fish in. I decided to call one of our local pet supply stores to see if they would be interested in adopting the goldfish that had been collected. Without hesitation, they told me to bring them over and they would find them a new home.

I’m hoping that the students learned something from this experience – whether it was about not dumping their unwanted fish into lakes and streams or about general invasive species education. Remember, this situation also relates to everyone! If for any reason you cannot take care of your aquarium fish, please DO NOT dump them into a nearby stream, look for other alternatives:

  • Ask a family member/friend if they are interested in adopting your fish – many people have fish tanks in their home and may gladly take these critters off your hands.
  • Call your local aquarium – as long as the goldfish haven't grown to 40 cm in length, these facilities will usually take your unwanted pet (as it can be seen as free merchandise for them).
Goldfish being introduced to their new aquarium home.

Goldfish being introduced to their new aquarium home.

Employment Opportunity - Climate Change Adaptation Planner

Project Background

The City of Saint John, New Brunswick is challenged by ongoing social and environmental inequity whereby areas the most severe poverty rates in Canada are those in closest proximity to both highly vulnerable coastal areas and the region's commercial and economic core. In response to these challenges, ACAP Saint John has built upon its role as a leading environmental incubator in Atlantic Canada to secure support from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities [FCM] to develop a design-focused Climate Change Adaptation Feasibility Study for the three urban neighbourhoods of Saint John, as well as to create a city-wide Climate Change Adaption Plan. Working in a community defined by its oceans and waterways, ACAP Saint John’s work will pursue innovative adaptations to climate change, to identify best practices for stormwater management and to execute infrastructure investments that will enable community members to participate in bringing positive change to our shared environmental future.

Job Description

Thanks to this exciting new initiative, ACAP Saint John is seeking an energetic, self-motivated individual to join our team! The ideal candidate would be flexible in their working schedule, be able to work within a team, have excellent communication skills and be highly organized. The primary role of the Climate Change Adaptation Planner would be to lead the development of the design-focused Climate Change Adaptation Feasibility Study and a municipal Climate Change Adaptation Plan to decrease vulnerability and increase community resiliency to changing climate conditions and extreme weather. Research, analysis, management, and dissemination of data and information to assist in developing the Adaptation Plan will include, but not be limited to:

  • Understanding other relevant climate adaptation plans and strategies;
  • Seeking appropriate technical expertise when needed;
  • Assessing regional and local vulnerabilities and risks;
  • Evaluating which actions have the greatest potential to effectively reduce risk;
  • Identifying priorities, timing considerations and resource needs;
  • Considering roles and responsibilities for implementation,
  • Act as a regional resource to municipalities and provide technical support regarding risks, vulnerabilities, and adaptation/mitigation actions and programs;
  • Develop new partnerships with academic, government and private sector organizations and agencies to collect, organize and analyze qualitative and quantitative data pertaining to the climate change impacts and adaptation;
  • Seek funding/project opportunities and develop funding and grant proposals as required to support the development and implementation of the Adaptation Plan;
  • Assist with development and implementation of communication plans to provide information to the community regarding the Adaptation Plan; and,
  • Keep current on climate change and energy related Provincial and Federal legislation, policies, and programs and the effect on regional and municipal adaptation and mitigation activities.

ACAP Saint John is open and collaborative. The prospective Climate Change Adaptation Planner must work effectively and respectfully, continually enhancing the work of project partners, ACAP Saint John staff, and community stakeholders. The chosen candidate will bring their skills and expertise to bear on the project, developing innovative responses to the city’s most vexing challenges and pushing for creative thinking. Together with ACAP Saint John staff, project partners, and community stakeholders, we will work to create unique design solutions that generate systemic and meaningful change for Saint John’s environment. The work will also be dynamic, and could include elements of ACAP Saint John's on-going projects and the selected candidate will also support on-going organizational social media initiatives.

Qualifications

  • An accredited post-secondary degree or diploma in Urban Planning, Environmental Planning, or a related field;
  • Experience with Geographic Information System [GIS] software;
  • Interest, and at least some formal training, in environmental programs and/or watershed management; 
  • Ability to safely work outdoors in all weather conditions;
  • Positive attitude and ability to work closely and collaboratively with staff, volunteers, and external stakeholders; and a,
  • Motivated self-starter who is able to work independently.

Assets

  • Knowledge of and passion for the issues and challenges facing non-profit organizations;
  • Experience with image manipulation, graphics design or rendering;
  • Strong writing and reporting skills, including proposal writing and record-keeping;
  • Professional or academic knowledge of the natural environment and/or physical geography of Atlantic Canada;
  • Fluency in both French and English;
  • Passion for environmental stewardship, conservation and restoration; and,
  • Communications skills for interaction with community volunteers of all demographic backgrounds.

Additional Information

The advertised position is for a full-time position, to commence in January of 2018.

ACAP Saint John is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome diversity in the workplace and encourage applications from all candidates including, but not limited to, women, non-cisgendered individuals, members of visible minority populations, persons with disabilities, and Indigenous peoples. 

About ACAP Saint John

For over twenty-five years, ACAP has conducted successful in-school environmental education programs, summer camps, ecological inventories, water quality monitoring programs, habitat restorations, watercourse restorations, wetland enhancements, contaminated site remediation, green space planning, and engaged thousands of area residents in community cleanup initiatives. ACAP Saint John has an excellent reputation in the community for acting as a third-party mediator of contentious environmental issues, and continues to expand their role as a public source of knowledge and information dissemination. We continue to affect long-term planning for greening and revitalization in Saint John by offering our expertise and our research outcomes to levels of government, corporations and institutions throughout the region. 

In 2016, ACAP Saint John renewed its focus on growing the restorative development potential of Greater Saint John, on issues of Climate Change adaptation, on restoring and conserving our invaluable ecological habitats, on building our community’s scientific knowledge base and on redefining how urban green spaces are preserved and enjoyed while fostering inclusive environments. 

At its heart, ACAP has always been an environmental incubator, one that transforms and evolves our region’s landscapes with the help of governments, companies and community collaborators. Our work is designed to be seen, felt and experienced throughout the environment – from our wetlands and coastlines to our streets and public spaces.

How to Apply

Please submit your cover letter and resume by December 15, 2017 to executivedirector at acapsj.org * with the subject line, "Climate Change Adaptation Planner" - only those short-listed for an interview will be contacted.

*Note: The e-mail address above has been masked to help prevent spam. Please copy the address and replace “at” with @.

Employment Opportunity - Saint John River Datashed Coordinator

project logo - acap side by side.jpg

As part of its role as a leading environmental incubator in Atlantic Canada, ACAP Saint John is advancing a new collaborative Geographic Information System [GIS] program to increase stakeholder and rightsholder capacity for mapping, spatial data collection and public communication across the Bay of Fundy and Saint John River [Wolastoq] watershed.

The program will see a GIS/data analyst employed within the ACAP Saint John office who would be available on an ad hoc basis to assist on mapping projects, train users, to standardize and analyze datasets, and to produce mapping products with the goal of fostering collaboration toward an integrated approach to watershed management in New Brunswick.


Job Description

Thanks to this exciting new initiative, ACAP Saint John is seeking an energetic, self-motivated individual to join our team! The ideal candidate would be flexible in their working schedule, be able to work within a team, have excellent communication skills and be highly organized. The primary role of the Saint John River Datashed Coordinator will be to provide technical services including GIS data organization and management, geo-processing, mapping, database creation and maintenance, LiDAR processing, along with asessing drone imagery and DEMs. Attention to detail, the ability to adhere to deadlines and Geographic Information Systems, image and data processing experience are a must, along with a passion for finding collaborative solutions to large-scale environmental challenges.

The work will be dynamic, and could also include elements of ACAP Saint John's on-going projects including: Datashed promotion and adoption, environmental education and outreach, liaising and coordinating with partner conservation organizations/partners, managing datasets for the Saint John Harbour Environmental Monitoring Partnership [SJH-EMP], writing and proofing proposals, liaising with stakeholders and rights-holders, and site visits to Datashed partners. While this is a collaborative position, the Saint John River Datashed Coordinator will report directly to ACAP Saint John's Executive Director and be first and foremost responsible for in-house data management and mapping. The selected candidate will also support ACAP Saint John with its social media initiatives.

Qualifications

  • An accredited post-secondary degree or diploma in GIS (or related field);
  • Experience with field projects and collecting environmental data;
  • Interest, and at least some formal training, in environmental programs and/or watershed management; 
  • Ability to safely work outdoors in all weather conditions;
  • Positive attitude and ability to work closely and collaboratively with staff, volunteers, and external stakeholders; and a,
  • Motivated self-starter who is able to work independently.

Assets

  • Knowledge of and passion for the issues and challenges facing non-profit organizations;
  • Experience studying Cumulative Effects and work with large databases;
  • Strong writing and reporting skills, including proposal writing and record-keeping;
  • Professional or academic knowledge of the natural environment and/or physical geography of New Brunswick;
  • Fluency in both French and English;
  • Passion for environmental education, conservation and restoration; and,
  • Communications skills for interaction with community volunteers of all demographic backgrounds.

Due to program funding requirements, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Intend to lead an environmental career related to science, technology, engineering, or mathematics;
  • 30 years of age or younger;
  • Canadian citizen, landed immigrant, or refugee status;
  • Eligible to work in Canada;
  • Graduated from a post-secondary institution;
  • Unemployed or underemployed.

Additional Information

The advertised position is for a twelve month term  [at 40 hours per week], beginning in June, 2017.

ACAP Saint John is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome diversity in the workplace and encourage applications from all qualified candidates including women, members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities, and indigenous peoples. 

About ACAP Saint John

For over twenty-five years, ACAP Saint John has conducted successful in-school environmental education programs, summer camps, ecological inventories, water quality monitoring programs, habitat restorations, watercourse restorations, wetland enhancements, contaminated site remediation and engaged thousands of area residents in community cleanup initiatives. ACAP Saint John has an excellent reputation in the community for acting as a third party mediator on contentious environmental issues, and continues to expand their role as a public source of knowledge and information dissemination.

At its heart, ACAP Saint John is an environmental incubator, one that transforms and evolves our region’s landscapes with the help of governments, companies and community collaborators. Our work is designed to be seen, felt and experienced throughout the environment – from our wetlands and coastlines to our streets and public spaces.

How to Apply

Please submit your cover letter and resume by May 15, 2017 to executivedirector at acapsj.org * with the subject line, "Datashed Coordinator" - only those short-listed for an interview will be contacted.

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Smart Shift Summit 2017

Realizing Opportunities & Adapting to Climate Change Naturally

Roxanne MacKinnon & Yvonne Reeves

On March 27 – 28, the New Brunswick Environmental Network (NBEN) held a two-day climate change summit in Moncton. ACAP staff were fortunate to be able to attend this summit that drew in over 300 people from different disciplines – NGO’s, government (Federal, provincial and municipal), businesses, farmers, woodlot owners, scientists, and the general public were all present. Day one began with introductions from Dawn Arnold, the mayor of Moncton and the Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, followed by a multisectoral panel discussion. The rest of the day was a whirlwind of climate change discussions with over 60 presentations to choose from and a Keynote from Hon. Roger Melanson, Chair of the Treasury Board. Day two was set-up like a workshop with presentations grouped by topic and lots of breaks to network and ask questions. If you are interested in what we attended, see the list at the end of the blog.

We connected with people working on a broad variety of projects that will help our province move forward on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, understanding impacts on our natural, managed, and built environments, and adapting to future changes in our region. This sharing of information, experiences, and ideas really helped us to feel connected to the issue and many of the people working towards solutions in our communities. From government to grassroots, innovative ideas are being tested and shared to increase our resilience. We trust that this event will ripple out into further innovation and partnerships across our region and help to inform decision making going forward. Our climate impacts every aspect of our lives - our environment, culture, society, economy, and our shared experiences.

One of the most notable themes coming from this summit was the importance of community involvement within these projects. Whether it is talking with neighbours about controlling bank erosion along a stream, protecting dune systems along the coast, increasing tree species diversity in woodlots, backyards, and urban forests, or developing an adaptation plan for a municipality, community input is valuable and helps drive the implementation and success of any climate change project.

Please get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more about the summit or any of the sessions listed below. We’re happy to discuss what we heard and pass along any materials we acquired.

 

Day One:

  • Talking about climate change with New Brunswickers - Dr. Lousie Comeau, Conservation Council of NB

  • Cost-benefit analysis of adaptation options -  Jeff Wilson, Green Analytics

  • Naturalized stormwater management guidelines - Elaine Aucoin, City of Moncton

  • Using local climate data to plan for adaptation in your sector - Prativa Pradhan, NB Environment and Local Government

  • Connecting with social organizations to strengthen climate action - Joanna Brown, Westmorland Albert Community Inclusion Network Co-operative

  • FCM’s new Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program - Guillaume Couillard, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

  • Using flood mapping to identify risks - James Bornemann, Southeast Regional Service Commission

  • NB Power’s Integrated Resource Plan - Mike Bourque, NB Power

  • Cap and trade for woodlots in NB - Dale Prest, Community Forest International

  • Linking local food, healthy environments and people - Dr. Kathleen Kevany, Dalhousie University

  • Forest carbon Inventory and accounting - Dr. Chris Hennigar, NB Department of Energy and Resource Development

  • Slowing down water and controlling erosion - Michel Grėgoire, Organisme de bassin versant du fleuve Saint-Jean

  • Impact of climate change on NB’s future forests - Dr. Anthony Taylor, Natural Resources Canada

 

Day Two:

  • Climate change adaptation: Why work with nature? - Michel Grėgroire, Organisme du bassin versant du fleuve St-Jean

  • Economics of working with nature: Accounting for natural capital in Ontario’s Greenbelt - Jeff Wilson, Green Analytics

  • Inland flood risks: Future scenarios - Dr. Anne-Marie Laroche, Université de Moncton

  • Enhancing Rivers: A Green Win-Win Approaching - Ben Whalen, Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee

  • Naturalized Stormwater Ponds: Water Storage and More - Wade Lewis, Ducks Unlimited Canada

  • Reducing run-off with rain gardens - Amanda Marlin, EOS Eco-Energy

  • Urban forests: Creating resilient cities - James Steenberg, Dalhousie University

  • Dune restoration: Managing coastal erosion - Robert Capozi, NB Department of Environment and Local Government & Rémi Donelle, Shediac Bay Watershed Association

  • Connecting habitat: Wildlife corridors and ecosystem services - Serge LeRochelle, Groupe de développement durable de Pays de Cocagne

  • Incorporating nature into municipal decision making - Robert Hughes, Town of Stratford, PEI

  • Blue zone: Using land-use planning to respond to flood risk - Sébastien Doiron, James Bornemann & Melanie Jellet, Southeast Regional Service Commission

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