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Community-Based Climate Change
Adaptation Plan
for the Canaan-Washademoak
Water, Land and Communities: Adapting to
Climate Change along the St. John River
November 30, 2015
Your Environmental Trust Fund at Work
Why a Plan?
• A plan is like a roadmap: it tells you where
you are, where you are going, and how to get
there. In this case, our goal is to prepare
residents, summer vacationers, and visitors to
the region to adapt to the effects of climate
change here.
Climate Change in our Watershed
• Although we hear many dire warnings about
how climate change will affect various aspects
of ecosystems and communities, there are
also some potential benefits related to climate
Goal of this Plan
• This adaptation plan is intended to allow
members of our communities to minimize the
potential negative effects and maximize the
positive ones as our climate shifts.
• We focused our efforts on two primary
aspects of adaptation:
1) identifying cool water refugia for salmonids
2) identifying potential hazards related to climate
change and characterizing our communities’
ability to respond to them.
Cool Water Refugia for Salmonids
• We met with local holders of traditional
ecological knowledge, and mapped the sites
with which they are familiar.
• Members of the Canaan River Fish and Game
Association participated in this exercise, as did
individual residents in the lower reaches of
the system.
Disaster Preparedness and
Community Resiliency
• Mayor and Council of Cambridge-Narrows
• Rural Resiliency Index questionnaire
• NB EMO presentation
Social Conditions
• The human population of the Canaan-Washademoak
Watershed has been in transition for over a decade,
particularly in its lower reaches in the vicinity of the
• Because of the ageing resident population and an
influx of new retirees, its elderly population will
continue to increase in terms of absolute numbers and
as a proportion of the total population.
• There will be an increased need for appropriate
support services and recreational and social
Land Ownership in the CanaanWashademoak Watershed
Much of the land in
private ownership is in
the lower reaches of
the watershed; further
upstream, the private
parcels of land are
largely along water
courses, and the upland
areas are Crown land
that is heavily forested
What Will Climate Change Bring?
• There are differences in the projections of
temperature changes in the 21st century.
• Range from an increase of approximately
1.1 to 5.3° Celsius, based on anticipated
carbon emissions
• Greater increase in winter low
temperatures than in summer high
temperatures, particularly in the early part
of the century.
These are dramatic changes, which will have
second order effects on parameters such as –
– water availability,
– proportion of precipitation that falls as rain or
– resultant snow pack,
– plant growth rates,
– net primary production,
– evapotranspiration rates,
– length of the growing season,
– plant and animal phenology
Effects on Water
• Due to the combined effects of changes in temperature,
precipitation patterns and form (i.e. more rain and less snow), we
can expect increasing temperatures in both surface and
groundwater aquifers.
• Additionally, we can expect increased flooding due to elevated
river discharge, particularly in the winter, and more intense storm
• overall discharge in rivers may increase in a changing climate, the
timing of the distribution of water may also change such that our
normal summer flows are decreased dramatically, while winter
flows increase
• Our seasonal weather patterns in general may become more
“dramatic: winter cyclonic storms, summer heat and drought, early
or late frost, winter rain/thaw, river ice jams and flooding.”
Freshwater Habitat and Populations
• reduction in habitat availability, in particular for
cold-water fishes such as salmonids;
• altered fish migrations in some areas;
• reduction or destruction of native fisheries;
• restructuring of aquatic communities because of
invasion of alien species of both plants and
• increased eutrophication;
• dramatic alteration of a variety of complex
biogeochemical processes
Effects on Forests
• A variety of pressures will
be placed on forests across
Canada as our climate shifts
– shifts in site factors,
– synchrony of phenology,
– physiological responses of
– regeneration,
– migration,
– shifts in species ranges,
– adaptation pressure;
– abiotic and biotic
– out-competition by invasive
– increased susceptibility to
pests and insects
– increased or decreased
primary productivity due to
increases in atmospheric
concentrations of carbon
Terrestrial Fauna
• We can anticipate that the normal ranges of our native
fauna will migrate in a northeastern pattern.
• Less clear, however, is the relative success rate of these
shifts, since forest assemblages are not able to migrate as
readily or quickly as some of the animals that depend upon
them for habitat or food.
• Some animals can migrate more easily than others: small
animals (e.g. salamanders), or those inhabiting very
specific, isolated, habitats (e.g. some species of butterflies)
or able to withstand narrow ranges of temperatures are
more likely to have trouble migrating than larger or winged
animals adapted to more general conditions or a wider
range of temperatures
Invasive Species
• There is tremendous concern among naturalists and
natural resource managers that climate change will
encourage the spread of invasive alien species of insect
pests, pathogens, and plants.
• Invasive species of insects and pests are often limited
by the ability of host plants or animals to resist
• In forests already stressed by high carbon dioxide
concentrations, elevated temperature, drought, etc.
the ability of individual trees to resist infection is
• Our ecosystems will change dramatically in the coming
• Native, iconic species of plants and animals may diminish or
be lost altogether.
• New assemblages of plants and the animals for which they
provide habitat will appear.
• Management strategies on the part of private landowners
and public agencies can contribute to preservation of
species and ecosystem assemblages native to NB:
– Assisted northward migration of forest types could be
incorporated into our tree planting strategies.
– Protection of cool-water refugia can help to protect our already
compromised salmon populations.
RRI: Potential CC-related Hazards
(Mayor and Council, Cambridge-Narrows)
Fresh water boating accidents
Extreme cold
Heat waves
Lightening and thunder storms
Tornados and waterspouts
Dam failure
Diseases (animal and human)
Ground failure and surface failure
(may be present under conditions
leading up to the spring freshet)
Food shortages (caused by dependency on
outside sources)
Brush, bush, and grass fires caused by
Erosion, accretion caused by humans
(primarily forestry activities in this area)
Land subsidence and sinkholes caused by
human activity (changes in land use)
Oil pipeline leaks (future concern)
Flash floods (culverts wash out because of
Local flooding (because of construction of
buildings too close to the lake)
River ice jam flood
Rainstorm floods
Snowmelt flood
Power outage
Water outage
Emergency Measures Organization
• Village of Cambridge-Narrows working directly
with EMO to complete a disaster
preparedness plan.
• Very focused on flooding
• Recommendations:
1) know the risks
2) make a plan
3) have a kit
Rural Resiliency Index Results
• Variety of resiliency strategies recommended
– Communication
– Emergency Shelters
– Evacuation routes
– Disaster preparedness plan
– CWWA Assessment: we are not quite at this level
of organization yet
Adaptation: Individual Homeowners
• Plan ahead with family members, friends, and
neighbours for cc-related events (esp. floods and
power outages)
• Preparing a kit with necessities for at least 72 hours
• Landscape their properties to reduce the risk and
impacts of floods. These include:
– Maintain shoreline vegetation
– Allow native vegetation to grow on your property: this can
minimize the susceptibility of the landscape to invasive
alien species of plants and animals
– Situate any new construction well above the apparent
flood zone
Adaptation: Cambridge-Narrows
• Village Plan includes a 30-metre Conservation
Zone around Washademoak Lake prohibits the
construction of buildings and other infrastructure
in the path of floods.
• Must be backed at the Provincial level to be
• Have created a warming/cooling centre in the
Municipal Building: showers and cots, charging of
cell phones and other electronic equipment;
store bottled water for use in the event that
peoples’ wells are not functional.
Adaptation: Watershed
• Outreach: the Canaan-Washademoak
Watershed is a dynamic system: much of
what happens on the land upstream in the
headwaters of the Canaan River affects the
ecological integrity of the lake downstream
• Work with landowners to protect cool water
refugia and maintain riparian vegetation
• Retain and replant native vegetation
Next Steps
• Work with owners to develop preservation strategies
for, and commitments to protect, cool water refugia
• Get buy-in from landowners and residents who have not
participated in the process
• Spread the word: climate resiliency depends on a
healthy, functioning ecosystem
• Work with RSCs to develop a formal watershed land use
plan that incorporates climate change
• Drill down in terms of preparedness, and actions to
protect and enhance ecosystem services, in particular in
partnership with RSCs