The Aboiteau - How it Works

  • The West Pubnico Aboiteau - Musée Historique de Pubnico-Ouest
  • The West Pubnico Aboiteau - from the NS Museum site
  • The Acadians constructed earthen dykes to isolate areas of saltmarsh from repeated inundation by the tides. Into the base of each dyke they built "aboiteaux" - wooden sluices fitted with swinging doors that allowed excess fresh water to drain from the newly claimed land, but shut to prevent re-entry of salt water at high tide. Drainage ditches channeled standing water away from the saturated soil, and after rainwater had diluted the salt content for a few years, the new fields were ready to sustain crops and livestock. Today, modern aboiteaux based on the same engineering principles are employed to maintain drainage of dykelands.

    (The above text and drawings were taken (photographed and used without permission) from an interpretive display at the Canadian Wildlife Service building, Sackville, New Brunswick)

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    Ted C. D'Eon