Let's take care of our land of plenty!

The Pays de Cocagne Sustainable Development Group's (PCSDG) mission is to engage citizen participation towards the sustainability of Cocagne watershed communities
Présentateurs
Serge LaRochelle, project manager, Bernadette Goguen, co-chair, Denise Maillet, presenter, Wiebke Tinney, coordinator

March 12, 2019

Cocagne - Denise Maillet, a biologist for Bird Studies Canada, gave a presentation January 30, 2019 at the Maison de la santé of Cocagne outlining the importance of marshes for humans and animals alike. You can watch the video of the presentation on our YouTube channel here (presentation in French).

Collation

Denise explained the ecological functions of wetlands, namely providing habitats for migratory birds who live, feed or nest on shores. Shorebirds need these important places to stop during their long migrations to refuel. They can land on sites like the Cormierville marsh.

She spoke of a phenomenon called “the coastal squeeze”. The rise of sea levels puts pressure on
marshes and mudflats which are sent further inland by rising waters. Rigid structures along roads, rock fill for example, prevent these environments from migrating inland.

The presentation led to a discussion on the importance of restoring and conserving wetlands. Here are some of the views exchanged:

Behind a salt marsh, there’s a freshwater marsh.If we mess with the freshwater marsh (e.g., fill), the salt marsh can’t progress inland as the sea levels rise. The carbon stocked in the affected freshwater marsh is then released, and the benefits of the freshwater marsh are lost.

Boulders will erode over time, so it isn’t the best solution. Following the coastline from Saint-Thomas to Cocagne, you can see three quarters of the houses have rocks along the coast. Fifteen years ago, only about 20% of NB’s coastline was rock filled; now it’s over 50%. And rock filling is mostly used to protect roads.

In the Cormierville marsh, erosion is making the dune recede. I set up swallow birdhouses about 30 feet from the coast (they serve as markers). Now, the space between water and birdhouses is diminishing.

I like the way rock filling was done on a property on the Cormierville marsh. They moved the sand to cover the big boulders. Now beach grass is growing among the rocks in the sand and on the land behind it.

Beach grass, or Ammophila, is like an iceberg. You can only see the top, but the network of roots growing under the sand is extensive. It can be quite resistant. In the sand, water doesn't stay long and there aren’t a lot of nutrients. But people walking on it 4 or 5 times can kill it.

In the Cap-Pelé region, they anchor dead fir or spruce trees along the dunes where sand accumulates. The dead trees gather more sand. They can then plant beach grass. Their roots retain sand and help stabilize the dune.

Coastal wetlands and estuaries aren’t immune to the effects of climate change and human influence.
Alexandre Boudreau, L’Étoile : Changements climatiques : que faire pour sauver les estuaires?

Local refreshments were served: apples from La Fleur du Pommier orchard, crackers with goat cheese from Champ Doré farm in Grande-Digue, and salmon from Bathurst, followed by coffee from Downeast Coffee in Notre Dame. Bon appétit!

Sea levels rose quite a bit with January’s heavy rainfalls.
Resident of Saint-Thomas

Talks on solutions for climate change are taking place in 2018– 2019. Discussions on various themes will fuel a climate change adaptation plan for the Cocagne River watershed.

INTERESTING RESOURCES
Bird Studies Canada
Vision H2O
Ecology Action Centre Living Shorelines
Helping Nature Heal

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • According to Denise Maillet, it is possible to preserve wetlands. “We can start by realizing we’re lucky to have the wetlands we have left. Many people want bigger lawns, but every time we cut [into the marshes], we remove any benefits they would provide our land in the future.”
  • Julie Cormier from Vision H2O explains that using dead spruce or fir trees to stabilize dunes can work in areas where sand already accumulates, but nothing is guaranteed. “In May and June, we put them out on the beach by tying them down on the sand. It’s important to anchor them properly so the sea doesn’t take them away. It requires a lot of physical labour, but for areas with large beaches where sand already gathers, it works well.”
  • Rosmarie Lohnes from Helping Nature Heal will hold a workshop in Shediac Cape on March 16, 2019, to demonstrate natural techniques for coastal restoration. For more information, contact the GDDPC at 576-8247.
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Upcoming activities

June 16, 2019 - Picnic and seeding at the Cocagne community garden

9:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m.
Bring a lunch and your picnic blanket! The community garden provides tools, seeds and advice.
You can have a private lot or garden in the collective part. Collective harvests go to school, to people in need, and to a benefit dinner this fall.
1789 route 535 to Cocagne
Facebook event
or call Marc Picard 878-3032
or Yvan Picard 531-5327

June 19, 2019 - Companion planting workshop

6:30 p.m.
at Cocagne Community Garden
1789 route 535 to Cocagne
With Mario Doiron
Organized by the Kent Community Inclusion Network

July 2, 2019 - Waterfowl observation excursion

6:30p.m.
Meet at Cocagne marina
With ornithologist Roland Chiasson of Aster Group
Please wear long sleeves at bring binoculars, a bird guide and mosquito-repellent

July 6, 2019 - Butterfly observation excursion

In case of rain July 7
10:00a.m to noon
With Stuart Tingley, Louis-Émile Cormier and Richard Perron
Meeting at the entrance to the Cocagne trail, park at Marcial street
Walk round trip 1.5km. Bring your binoculars and mosquito repellent.

August 3, 2019 - Butterfly observation excursion

In case of rain August 4
10:00a.m to noon
With Stuart Tingley, Louis-Émile Cormier and Richard Perron
Meeting at the entrance to the Cocagne trail, park at Marcial street
Walk round trip 1.5km. Bring your binoculars and mosquito repellent.

Ours Partners

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The Pays de Cocagne in pictures

The Pays de Cocagne in pictures