Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Darlene Marie Andries, 1984

The Impact of Beach Protection on Beach Sand and Gravel Extraction in Nova Scotia 1968-1983


The use of Nova Scotia beaches as a source of sand and gravel is an important issue in human impact upon the coastal zone. In this study, the problem is first analyzed by placing it into a regional context by looking at how the conflict has been dealt with in the other Maritime Provinces. Beach protection legislation in Nova Scotia is then discussed, in particular focusing on the replacement of the "Beaches Protection Act" (1967) with the "Beaches Preservation and Protection Act" in 1975. In determining the nature of the impact that beach protection has had on beach sand and gravel extraction, sixteen years covering 1968 through 1983 are analyzed to note the geographical distribution of protected beaches and the volume of beach sand and gravel removed under permit in Nova Scotia. Results of a Spearman Rank Correlation Test revealed that there is a significant negative relationship between the volume of beach sand and gravel extracted under permit and the cumulative number of beaches protected on mainland Nova Scotia. The relationship did not exist for Cape Breton because it accounted for over 70% of all beach sand and gravel removed during the study period. As a result, the trend in reducing legal beach sand and gravel has been significantly slower for Cape Breton than for mainland Nova Scotia, and consequently, results for the entire province were influenced by this fact. A combination of the change in beach protection legislation, the data provided by several technical reports concerning the effects of beach sand and gravel extraction, as well as the strong emphasis on the use of beaches as a recreation source, and the pressure of concerned citizens and groups to protect this resource, has led to an 88% reduction in beach sand and gravel extraction under permit in Nova Scotia since 1975.