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Shoreline erosion along the estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, the St. Lawrence River, and other watercourses has increased in recent decades. Climate change is likely to accelerate this phenomenon, especially in the Côte-Nord, Bas-Saint-Laurent, and Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine regions.
Erosion leads to irreversible changes such as the disappearance of beaches, riparian strips, and wildlife and plant habitat. It also significantly affects riparian and coastal communities and infrastructure. Via the Climate Change Action Plan, a major effort is being made to reduce Quebecer’s vulnerability to hazards associated with shoreline erosion.
Ministère de la Sécurité publique has been developing an observation network on ocean and weather conditions in the St. Lawrence River and the Gulf of St. Lawrence (in French) since 2009, in cooperation with Institut des sciences de la mer de Rimouski. The objective is to advance our knowledge in order to develop effective, innovative solutions to problems caused by shoreline erosion with a view to prevention and sustainable development.
A research chair on coastal change dynamics in the St. Lawrence Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence was set up to evaluate impacts and issues related to erosion and sea flooding. This coastal geoscience research chair was created in July 2008 at Université du Québec à Rimouski with financial support from the government. The objective is to get a better understanding of coastal erosion in the estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence and infrastructure vulnerability to coastal hazards (PDF) (report in French). The collected data allows us to map areas exposed to erosion (e.g., Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean (in French) ) and assess the vulnerability of buildings and infrastructure over the short, medium, and long term. The research chair also works with coastal communities to develop a preventive management approach to coastal hazards while increasing coastal resilience.