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Aboiteau farming on reclaimed marshland is a labor-intensive method in which earthen dykes are constructed to stop high tides from inundating marshland. A wooden sluice or aboiteau (plural aboiteaux) is then built into the dyke, with a hinged door (clapper valve) that swings open at low tide to allow fresh water to drain from the farmland but swings shut at high tide to prevent salt water from inundating the fields.[1][2]

Aboiteau farming is intimately linked with the story of French Acadian colonization of the shores of Canada's Bay of Fundy in the 17th and 18th centuries.[3] In the Kamouraska region of the St. Lawrence Valley of Quebec, aboiteau diking of salt marshes was closely tied to the modernization of agriculture in the 19th and early 20th centuries.[4] The Acadians constructed earthen dykes to isolate areas of salt marsh from repeated inundation by the tides.

A rare original "aboiteau" is the jewel of the West Pubnico Acadian Museums' artifacts. In 1990, local residents found a couple of boards sticking out of an eroding beach on Double Island, West Pubnico. They returned to the site in 1996 to remove the aboiteau, to preserve and display it at the museum.[5]


  1. ^ "More funding for shifting aboiteau" - Metro News Archived June 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "Excavation uncovers Acadian aboiteau" - Amherst Daily News
  3. ^ Hatvany, MG "The Origins of the Acadian Aboiteau: An Environmental Historical Geography," Historical Geography, 30 (2002): 121-137.
  4. ^ Hatvany, MG Marshlands: Four Centuries of Environmental Change on the Shores of the St. Lawrence (Québec: Les Presses de l'Université Laval, 2003).
  5. ^ Musée des Acadiens des Pubnicos et Centre de recherche
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