Traditional approaches to protecting coastal communities from ocean waves and erosion have involved hardening shorelines with structures like dykes, seawalls and jetties. However, these artificial structures may cause more problems than they solve. The Green Shores for Salmon Program will provide education and training to the public and shoreline professionals which we hope will result in greater adoption of nature-based solutions on Vancouver Island’s East Coast. The goal is to increase the naturalization and greening of shorelines, with associated benefits of reduced flood risk and erosion, retention of forage fish habitat, and promotion of healthy shoreline ecosystems on high value salmon habitat.
Green Shores for salmon will focus on Victoria up to Port McNeill where urgent action is needed. These communities are becoming more exposed to risk and habitat loss as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation and storms.
Mitigating Climate Change Impacts
Manmade structures actually exacerbate erosion because they deflect energy from pounding waves to other parts of the shoreline. They also take away key habitat like spawning beaches for forage fish, crucial for the marine food chain including Pacific salmon. In contrast, nature-based approaches using natural substrates and plants beautify shorelines, increase resilience to climate impacts and can be cheaper to build and maintain. They also create habitat for fish and wildlife, filter out pollutants from stormwater before it reaches the aquatic environment, and help to store carbon that would otherwise contribute to global warming.
The key components of the program include: