When we arrived at the end of the boardwalk one day this week, we noticed a man coming out of the trees along the shoreline, past the trail. "There's a lot of erosion along there this winter," he said, pointing along the shoreline beyond the boardwalk. "In that short stretch, there are twelve trees which have fallen onto the beach."
Looking at the area, the damage was obvious. The red soil, typical of the island, was visible along the shore. Trees had collapsed onto the beach from above. The shoreline which extends the length of the boardwalk into the city, is lined with armour stone, which has reduced erosion.
You can see the difference in erosion from the rock-lined shore to the exposed coastline. We have lost at least a meter, (3 feet) of coastline in this area.
The provincial government estimates that we lose from .3 to 1.5 meters, (1 to 5 feet) of coastline annually. It appears that we are in the upper range of that estimate in this area of the shoreline. The rate if erosion is alarming.
In Summerside, Prince Edward Island, we rely on groundwater for our water supply.
Our little city is on a small stretch of land between Northumberland Strait in the south and the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the north. Erosion can cause intrusions of salt water into the water table.
Two wells have been lost to salt water already. Erosion poses a threat to our water supply. The armour stone has helped prevent further salt water intrusion into the water table as well.
Our island is very flat. Models showing the effects of rising sea levels due to global warming show our island submerged. While we will not live to see this happen, this island is home to our granddaughters. What are we leaving for them? It is frightening to consider.