An Evaluation of Flood Risk to Infrastructure Across the Chignecto Isthmus

Nova Scotia’s road and rail gateways to Canada are situated within the Chignecto Isthmus – a low-lying area that is vulnerable to rising sea levels and storm surges from both the Bay of Fundy and the Northumberland Strait. Currently, a system of agricultural dykes, the Canadian National Railway (CNR) and the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 104) protect this area (2,200 ha),its vital transportation links, and more than $70 million of public and private assets. However, the area has historically flooded during large storm events and climate change will increase flooding frequency, duration and intensity. The NS Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (NSTIR) and CNR will continue to maintain their systems in face of environmental hazards but practical adaptation options must also be developed as part of integrated provincial and corporate approaches to climate change. In partnership with the Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN), Nova Scotia’s Climate Change Directorate and other ACASA members, NSTIR set out to investigate the short and long-term risks of flooding of the Isthmus and initiate an adaptation program to respond to climate change., The work involves eight key tasks: acquire and process additional lidar (Light detection and ranging) data in a narrow band near Route 366 to Tidnish Head and Baie Verte, and integrate this information with the newly-completed Lidar coverage in the Amherst, NS, and Sackville, NB areas; gather the necessary existing information to conduct flood risk modeling and mapping across the rest of the NS frontier (to the Tidnish-Baie Verte area); conduct additional field surveys to ground-truth the digital elevation model(DEM) and the flood modeling predictions; prepare an integrated set of flood risk maps of the Isthmus area; identify areas and transportation infrastructure at risk on the Isthmus; identify potential alternative routes for sustainable transportation present summaries of the research project at the ACAS conference in March 2012(; and prepare a Final Report for NSTIR and ACASA., A presentation at the Nova Scotia ACAS conference in March 2012 A final report for the ACASA website, The project will generate information on the flooding risk areas in the Chignecto Isthmus, as well as provide considerations to decision makers and planners for adaptation management in the area.