Tech & Science

Volunteers help rebuild dunes lost to Hurricane Fiona in Shediac, N.B. – New Brunswick

About 30 volunteers tied a Christmas tree on Beribow Beach in Shediak on Saturday morning to restore the dune system that was swept away by Hurricane Fiona.

Jolyne Hébert of the Shediac Bay Watershed Association, who organized the event, explained that the trees are expected to trap sand over time to create new dunes.

When marram grass grows on sand dunes, its roots are stable for a long time.

“We actually tied the Christmas tree with wooden stakes and biodegradable string,” says Hébert. “We made the (wood) line so there is a kind of natural barrier that helps the sand to re-accumulate.”

A row of trees tied together by volunteers at Beribo Beach seen from drone footage.

Courtesy Guy Léger

This tree was donated by the Shediac Town Tree Collection Program in January.

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Volunteer Joanne Tremblay-Légèr said her property was not damaged during the hurricane, but she did see some destruction.

She volunteered Saturday morning because she’s worried she won’t be able to protect the beach from storms and erosion now that the dunes are gone.

“There is no protection without dunes,” she said. “Waves crash into homes and surrounding areas and just destroy ecosystems.”

She was delighted with the number of people who attended the event.

“It was nice to see all the people taking care of the beach,” she said.

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Not only do dunes prevent coastal erosion and flooding, but dunes are also important for wildlife, Hébert says.

“We have many different species that depend on these dunes for their habitat and food,” she said.

The original dunes are about 11 meters wide and about 4 meters high, and replacement will take a long time, she said.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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