Province of Prince Edward Island

03/25/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/25/2024 09:35

Popular PEI Provincial Park protected for generations

An innovative shoreline project that is reducing the impacts of climate change and erosion at Cedar Dunes Provincial Park near West Point is complete.

The shoreline was suffering from ongoing and extensive sea level rise, storm surge, and wave-driven erosion. Cedar Dunes provincial campground and beach were starting to wash away so the Province completed major restoration work to protect it.

"Shoreline protection is necessary for the sustainability of provincial infrastructure, such as provincial parks, highways, and bridges," said Ernie Hudson, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. "Cedar Dunes is a special area for Islanders and visitors. Effective restoration means that the next generations can enjoy camping or visiting the beach.""

In the winter of 2021-2022, construction began by installing five reefs and a groyne (artificial barrier) designed to withstand strong storms and waves and help build up sediment to reduce erosion. In February and March 2024, two more reefs and approximately 14,000 tonnes of sand nourishment were added to the shoreline protection system. Each reef has about 2,000 tonnes of large rock with each one measuring about 45 meters long by 15 metres wide by three metres high.

"The reefs take energy out of high waves from hitting the shore causing erosion," said Phil Gotell, a provincial engineer for western PEI. "They worked so well that they defended the shore from the power of Hurricane Fiona."

Construction occurs in winter, when the ground is frozen to prevent equipment and vehicles disrupting the beach, as well as to avoid visitors and protected birds. "There are species at risk here like piping plovers and bank swallows," said Paul Strain, provincial environmental coordinator. "We stay away when they're nesting or migrating."

Stewart Enterprises is the local construction company building the reefs. "A lot of families use the park here," said owner Larry Stewart. "It was a community effort to put everything here and it's important that it stays."

Coastal engineers measured and studied waves, tides, currents, and sediment flow to find the best solution for the environment. Beach nourishment, a groyne and offshore coastal reefs were selected because they work with the natural conditions to help rebuild and protect the shore.

Earlier this month, the engineers that designed the project received the Lieutenant Governor's Award for Engineering Achievement from the Association of Professional Engineers of Prince Edward Island.

The provincial government will continue to monitor the area using drone technology and land-based surveys for continuous evaluation and improvement for future design techniques.

Image caption:
Phil Gotell and Mark Sherren, provincial government engineers, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Ernie Hudson, and Paul Strain, environmental coordinator with the department.
Image caption:
Cedar Dunes before construction in 2021
Image caption:
Shoreline protection at Cedar Dunes Provincial Park involved offshore coastal reefs, a groyne, and 14,000 tonnes of new sand.

Media contact:
Vicki Tse
Workforce, Advanced Learning and Population
[email protected]