Sea level change in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, southern British Columbia : implications for the interpretation of nearshore archaeological features

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Wyatt, Glenda
Sea level along the B.C. coastline has changed dramatically over the past 10,000 years due to isostatic rebound following deglaciation from the Fraser Glaciation (Clague & James, 2002). In the future, sea levels globally are also predicted to rise according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2014), due to climate change. Lemmen et al. (2008), suggest that in the near future some B.C. coastal communities will have to deal with changes in shorelines due to rising sea levels, and hence erosional patterns, modifications to ecosystems and habitats, and potentially an altered marine food supply. This thesis examines local paleo-sea level curves for Southern Georgia Strait and the Southern Gulf Islands constructed from a literature search, GIS analysis, and archaeological data from clam gardens. Clam gardens are rock walls, created by First Nations, that expand the natural habitat of clams in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner. Pollen maps of the area from the literature are used to add landscape change to GIS-modelled paleo-sea level “shorescapes”. This project is part of an ongoing research project undertaken with Parks Canada, in partnership with Royal Roads University and the Clam Garden Network, in the Gulf Island National Park Reserve (GINPR) to research and potentially restore First Nations nearshore archaeological features in GINPR.
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