Coastal Hazards

Prince Edward Island’s coastline is always changing.  The coastline is shaped by the forces of wind, waves, tides, and changes in sea level.  Two of the most important coastal hazards on Prince Edward Island are coastal erosion and coastal flooding.  

What is Coastal Erosion?

Coastal erosion is the natural breakdown and removal of rocks and soil along the coastline. Coastal erosion happens mainly as a result of wave action and the freeze-thaw cycle.  Historically, PEI’s coastline has eroded at a rate of about 30 cm each year. However, coastal erosion is expected to increase in the future as sea level continues to rise, as strong storms occur more often, and as sea ice becomes less prevalent during the winter months.   

What is Coastal Flooding?

Coastal flooding happens when seawater flows temporarily over low-lying (but normally dry) land that is near the coast.  Coastal flooding typically happens as a result of storm surge - a temporary rise in sea level caused by an extreme weather event like a hurricane or post-tropical storm. During a storm, air pressure drops, and strong winds push the water towards the shore. Coastal flooding during a storm surge can be especially damaging if it happens during a high tide. Over time, as sea level continues to rise, coastal flooding caused by storm surge events will reach further inland.

How can I find out more about coastal hazards in PEI?

You can use the new Coastal Hazards Information Platform (CHIP) to visualize the coastal hazards for PEI. CHIP provides the historic rate of coastal change (i.e., erosion) for PEI’s coastline, and shows which areas are located within the coastal floodplain for 2020, 2050 and 2100. 

Where can I get information about coastal hazards for a specific property?

You can request a free Coastal Hazard Assessment to find out more about the vulnerability of a property to coastal hazards. 

Where can I get information for developers and design professionals?

You can download a Watershed Flood Projections Report which will provide projected flood water elevations that can be used in the design of a property or site. 

What can I do about coastal hazards that affect my property?

To learn more about coastal hazards in PEI and what you can do to protect your home, you can take a free, online course called Protecting PEI Homes from Flooding and Erosion.  

This course has been developed by the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, in partnership with the Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action and the University of Prince Edward Island’s ClimateSense program. 

Who can I contact for more information?

Please contact the Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action if you need assistance with these coastal hazard tools and resources at

Published date: 
November 4, 2021