With all due respect to a folk song from an earlier time, "Where Have All of the Flowers Gone?" which can be interpreted as dealing with the senselessness of an Asian war, the residents of Shelburne County have a question - "Where have all of the tide gauges gone?" This question is asked in an attempt to deal with the seemingly senseless removal and destruction of the very instruments that would have provided us with the data that would allow us to plan for the logical preparation as to what to do about the ongoing impact of climate/sea level change.
A tide gauge is a device that records how high the sea level is at any given time. As such it provides incredibly valuable data with respect to what the actual tides were and as a by-product what the actual sea level increase is over a long period of time. As a further benefit it also records the actual magnitude of a tidal or storm surge when it occurs. And we know over time those are having a greater impact as well. There are no functioning tide gauges left in Shelburne, Queens or Lunenburg counties - they have all been removed - they have all gone!
The same government that senselessly seems to attack science and technology has no qualms about spending over half a million dollars on a laser guided bomb (LGB) to blow up a broken down dump truck in Iraq (and that does not include transportation and delivery costs) cannot afford it seems, to maintain a network of absolutely critical tidal sensors. Using current off of the shelf equipment the cost of that one bomb could have funded the replacement of all of the removed tide gauge sensors for Atlantic Canada. The cost of the second bomb could have operated and maintained the system for over ten years.
I think the South African film maker Jamie Uys summed it up all very nicely in his movie "The Gods Must Be Crazy." Indeed our government seems to totally have fallen off of the rails. Right here in Shelburne County we have the manufacturing technology and expertise to build the required tide gauges as well as the vacant facilities necessary to operate and maintain the network.
The next storm and tidal surge is coming - it is just a matter of time. Will fishermen be out again with their chainsaws cutting the timber bollards off of their wharves to prevent catastrophic damage to their boats that are now sitting on top of the brand new wharf because it was built too low to the water? Good question! The governments answer to all of this - during the next storm go out and buy a bag of nails and a hammer and drive a nail into something at the highest level of water you can see. We will send a student around next summer to record the information. We are still waiting for the student and the nail is rusting! Mr. Uys and his movie was far more prophetic than he knew. Thank goodness there is an election coming.