Nova Scotia Beaches Study

Results of the
Nova Scotia Beaches Study
Nova Scotia Department of Lands &Forests
Parks and Recreation Division
March, 1986

INTRODUCTION

In September, 1983, the Interdepartmental Committee on Beaches was established by the Board of Resource Development in response to resource management concerns associated with Crescent Beach, Lunenburg County. The Committee was asked to provide a number of options and recommendations with regards to the protection or development of beaches in general and Crescent Beach in particular. The Committee, chaired by Lands and Forests, included members from the Departments of Transportation, Environment, Culture, Recreation and Fitness, and Policy Board.

In November, 1983, the Committee held its first meeting and identified three specific goals:

  1. To provide an inventory of Nova Scotia beaches to summarize information by county on use/development and problems/ issues;

  2. To provide options for the protection or development of beaches in general, and Crescent Beach in particular;

  3. To propose a mechanism for managing beaches where more than one department has management responsibilities.

The Committee decided that the completion of the beach inventory would be its first task.

In December, 1983, the Nova Scotia Beach Survey matrix was designed by staff of the Department of Lands and Forests, Parks and Recreation Division. Beaches with a Canada land Inventory Recreation rating of 1, 2 or 3, indicating a very high to moderately high capability for outdoor recreation, were identified, mapped and listed on survey forms for each county.

In January, 1984, the survey forms and maps were sent to Lands and Forest district offices for operations personnel to complete. In addition, survey forms were sent to selected government departments and agencies, (e.g Culture, Recreation and Fitness). The forms were completed and returned to Lands and Forests, Parks and Recreation Division.

In January, 1986, manpower resources became available to renew work on the Nova Scotia Beaches Survey. The main objective was to complete the inventory and prepare a report summarizing information on ownership, use/development and problems/issues associated with Nova Scotia beaches.

This report presents the results of the Nova Scotia Beach Survey. The report contains an outline and critique of the survey method; a provincial overview of the results of the Survey; an overview of the survey results for each county; a discussion of the problems and issues associated with Nova Scotia beaches, including possible management options; and recommendations for the benefit of the Interdepartmental Committee on Beaches in order to develop management options and strategies for the protection and development of the beach resources of the province.

SURVEY METHOD

Out1ine of the Survey Method

In response to the determination by the Interdepartmental Committee on Beaches that its first goal would be to conduct an inventory of Nova Scotia beaches in order to establish an information base concerning beach resources, the Nova Scotia Beach Survey was initiated.

In December, 1983, the Nova Scotia Beach Survey matrix was designed by staff of the Department of Lands and Forests, Parks and Recreation Division. Beaches with a Canada Land Inventory Recreation rating of 1, 2, or 3, indicating a very high to moderately high capability for outdoor recreation, were identified, mapped on 1:250,000 base maps, and listed on survey forms for each county. Over 40 information categories (variables) were presented in the matrix under the following topic headings: description, ownership, use and development, problems and issues and comments. Table 1 presents the information categories presented in the matrix outlining the nature of the information that was sought in the Survey.

In January, 1984, the survey forms and maps were sent to Lands and Forests district offices for operations personnel to complete. The existing knowledge of Operations Branch staff, regarding the beaches in their local areas, was the main source of information for the Survey. Field work was not required, but some examination of aerial photographs and topographic maps was conducted. Survey forms were also sent to selected government departments for their input. All survey forms were completed and returned to Lands and Forests, Parks and Recreation Division.

-- page 102 in the original text --

COMMENTS ON LUNENBURG COUNTY BEACHES (cont'd) -

CRESCENT 6-2:

Erosion protection - by the Department of Transportation and Municipal using, rock timbers and posts; armour rock seawall constructed in 1957

Beach clean-up -by lands and Forests PEP crews

Access uncontrolled -have had problems with unauthorized camping, pedestrian damage, vehicle damage, vehicles racing on foreshore, littering and vandalism

Other Problems and Issues -lack of parking spaces, garbage and sewage disposal, campers cutting trees at southeastern end of beach

KINGSBURG 7-2: Beach clean-up -by lands and Forests PEP crews

MASONS BEACH 8-5: Beach clean-up -by lands and Forests PEP crews BACHMAN 9-3: Beach clean-up -by lands and Forests PEP crews

BAYSWATER 10-3:

Natural values -well developed dune system

Beach clean-up -by lands and Forests PEP crews

Access uncontrolled -have had problems with loud parties, littering, vandalism

WESTHAVERS 11-5: Beach clean-up -by lands and Forests PEP crews

-- page 184 in the original text --

The Interdepartmental Committee on Beaches can play a key role in developing a policy for the preservation and management of Nova Scotia's beach resources. Based on the results of the I Nova Scotia Beach Survey, the following recommendations are made for the benefit of the Committee. These recommendations are meant to serve as a reference for further discussion and refinement by the Committee, in order to develop management options and strategies for the protection and development of the beach resources of the Province. It is emphasized however, that during review of these recommendations, the Committee must be cognizant of the limitations of the survey data as outlined in the Survey Methods section, and should make extensive reference to other sources of information, some of which may have to be generated through further studies.

  1. The most immediate concern is to deal with the important beach resources that are under considerable stress, and are in imminent danger of failing.
    Site specific studies, involving representative 'problem beaches', are required to develop management techniques to alleviate the wide variety of problems at these beaches. The following beaches were identified as "problem beaches" by the Nova Scotia Beach Survey, based on the number of problems and issues recorded for each beach, and comments made by Lands and Forests Operations Branch staff. These beaches are candidates for immediate attention:

  2. -- page 185 in the original text --

  3. Beach clean-up is currently conducted at a large proportion of the province's beaches by the Department of Lands and Forests. Lands and Forests relies heavily on the Provincial Employment Program (PEP) to provide manpower for beach clean-up, otherwise beach clean- up does not get carried out regularly, if at all. Some district offices have had problems securing adequate PEP manpower in recent years. Once PEP manpower is assured, adequate financial resources are required to provide supervision, transportation and materials (i.e. garbage bags, tools) for PEP crews, and this too has proven a problem. 

    The Committee shou1d consider recommending a province-wide beach clean-up summer employment program. Lands and Forests district offices should determine their annual beach clean- up requirements, from a PEP manpower and financial support standpoint. Assurance of adequate PEP manpower, supervision, transportation and materials is critical. A comprehensive beach clean-up program would maintain high standards of beach quality, and provide a large number of summer employment opportunities. Alternatively, beach clean- up could be sponsored through regular funding sources. Consideration should be given to exploring ways other organizations (i.e. municipal governments, tourism associations, community groups, etc.) could actively participate in conducting beach clean-up services.

    -- page 186 in the original text --

  4. Human-induced erosion problems are threatening the stability of a large proportion of beaches in the province. There is a pressing need for dune restoration programs at many Nova Scotia beaches. Use of restoration techniques that take advantage of natural processes using inexpensive materials (i.e. brush piles, snow fencing, etc.) should be encouraged.

    The Committee should therefore consider recommending that a province-wide, beach restoration program be instituted. Restoration techniques that take advantage of natural processes do not require a large amount of technical expertise. Staff within the Department of Lands and Forests district offices and Parks Division potentially could supply planning and supervision cap- abilities; manpower could be supplied by PEP programs; inexpensive materials that are readily available (i.e. brush piles, snow fencing) could be used for dune rehabilitation. Financial resources to support such a program would be minimal, considering the long-term benefits derived from the program. A beach restoration program based on natural processes would provide much needed beach restoration; be cost effective; further develop expertise within the Department of Lands and Forests to deal with beach problems; and provide much needed employment opportunities.

    An alternative to a Lands and Forests administered beach restoration program, would be co-operative efforts between the provincial government and other organizations (i.e. municipal govern- ments, community groups, etc.) in conducting beach restoration projects. Consideration should be given to developing mechanisms

    -- page 187 in the original text --

    for these other groups to participate actively in beach restoration. The provincial government should consider developing an information kit on beach restoration techniques for use by organizations and individuals interested in dune restoration projects. 

  5. Many of the problems and issues associated with Nova Scotia beaches occur as a result of a lack of public awareness of the sensitivity of dunes and the effects that human activities have on beach systems. 

    The Committee should consider recommending a public education campaign to increase awareness of natural beach processes, problems and issues associated with beaches, restoration programs and the need for regulation of beach activities. While promoting increased public awareness of beach problems and issues, the recreational potential of Nova Scotia beaches could also be promoted.

    A number of cost-effective tools are available to promote awareness of beach problems and issues. These include: articles for local newspapers; audio visual presentations for school groups and community organizations; interpretive displays at Provincial Park beaches, etc. The Department of Lands and Forests, Parks and Recreation Division could supply the technical expertise to conduct the public education program if financial resources were provided.

  6. In order to take advantage of the recreational potential of Nova Scotia beaches, the Province must develop and implement a comprehensive policy for the preservation and management of beaches. A comprehensive survey of the Province's beach resources

    -- page 188 in the original text --

    is required to determine the degree of management required to achieve policy goals, and to develop a provincial framework for determining the protection and management requirements of specific beaches in the province. Such an approach would enable the identification and selection of beaches for aggregate removal purposes, recreation, acquisition and protection. 

    A commitment by the Department of Lands and Forests to enforce regulations under the Beaches Preservation and Protection Act would play a key role in implementing an effective beach preservation and management policy. 

    Recognition of the enormous recreational potential of beaches should be demonstrated by the province through the provision of sufficient financial resources for adequate beach maintenance and restoration programs, public education programs, beach acquisition, surveillance and enforcement.