Salt marshes in Nova Scotia: a status report of the Saltmarsh Working Group
Patriquin, David G.
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There are approximately 80,000 acres of salt marsh land in Nova Scotia of which approximately 43,000 acres have been dyked for agricultural use. Salt marsh lands have served as major producers of food in estuarine regions. Increasing demands are being placed on these lands for recreation, waterfowl impoundments, wild rice cultivation and aquaculture. At the same time, some of these areas are being eroded by dredging and filling operations. Questions concerning the agricultural versus pristine values of the marshes are raised whenever storm damage occurs and expensive repairs of dykes are required, or when these dykelands are simply left in a state of ill-use. Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive legislation dealing with these marshlands, and thus, as management problems arise, they are dealt with "piece meal" or not at all. The Salt Marsh Working Group was formed in 1976 in an effort to bring together information about saltmarshes in Nova Scotia and to encourage the development of a salt marsh management policy which gives fair consideration to multiple demands. Three one-day public seminars were held during the winter of 1976-77 which dealt successively with Geology and Biology, Agricultural Usage, and Recreational and Waterfowl Usage of Nova Scotian salt marshes. Finally, there was a day in which the group attempted to reach some consensus on the status of present knowledge of the Nova Scotian salt marshes; in particular, to determine if we now have the scientific basis required for formulation of an effective management policy, and if not, the sort of information that is required. This document, which reports in detail on the four sessions, represents the culmination of the work by the Salt Marsh Working Group.