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 Climate Change Adaptation 

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Prince George Community Climate Change Adaptation 

Adaptation can be defined as preparing for climate change. To help plan for and adjust to both the positive and negative impacts of a changing climate, the City has partnered with University of Northern BC (UNBC), the Fraser Basin Council and many other groups. The overall goal of the project has been to determine what the important local impacts are, and to identify the best ways to address them.

Climate projections reveal that the region is likely to warm
by 1.6°C to 2.5°C by the 2050s and local precipitation will increase by 3% to 10% (with most of the increase occurring in winter). These projections were presented to local community members and experts, and the top priorities related to climate change for Prince George were determined to be: forests; flooding; and transportation infrastructure.

The City has incorporated adaptation into the myPG sustainability plan, and also into the draft of the new Official Community Plan. Prince George is taking actions to address changes in forests in both its municipal parks and the natural areas within and surrounding the City.  A recent flood risk assessment incorporated future climate projections and recommended adjustments to account for the impacts of climate change and the mountain pine beetle.  Research is ongoing to assess how to better design and maintain roads in changing conditions. Other ongoing projects include examining climate change and local sensitive ecosystems, and analyzing freeze-thaw cycles and precipitation events. Future projects can explore how the City can take advantage of the agricultural opportunities associated with a longer growing season, how to manage storm-water for changing conditions and how to concurrently adapt to and mitigate climate change.

Click here to view a video summarizing the overall Prince George project.

More information about the exciting initiatives ongoing in Prince George are highlighted below.

Assessment of Climate Changes in Prince George:

One of the first steps in the adaptation project was to obtain detailed information for Prince George related to past climate changes and future projections. To accomplish this the City partnered with the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (based out of the Univeristy of Victoria). The resulting report (entitled: Climate change in Prince George: summary of past trends and future projections) provides a comprehensive overview of past climate changes and future projections for the region, and has been used to inform many adaptation actions. View the report here.

Community Climate Change Adaptation Strategy:

The results of many local exercises were compiled to create a detailed adaptation strategy for Prince George. The top adaptation priorities, along with examples of key local vulnerabilities, are presented in the chart below. (It is important to note that the ‘other’ priorities are not necessarily the lowest priorities).

For more information about the process to determine the local priorities, what the priorities mean and potential actions to address them refer to the full adaptation strategy here.

Incorporating Adaptation in Local Documents:

Prince George was enabled to continue its adaptation work with funding provided by the Natural Resources Canada Regional Adaptation Collaborative (RAC) project. One of the main steps taken has been to use the existing adaptation strategy and incorporate actions into the myPG sustainability plan and the draft of the Official Community Plan (OCP). Researchers worked with the City to achieve this goal.

For details on how adaptation is incorporated into myPG see the full Report here or the Executive Summary here.

For details on how adaptation is incorporated into the draft OCP see the full Report here or the Executive Summary here.

To view the Prince George myPG plan visit http://www.mypg.ca/about/Pages/WhatisanICSP.aspx and to view the approved OCP, click here.

The video summarizing the overall Prince George project includes information about myPG and is available here

 

Taking Measures to Address Impacts in Prince George:

With the RAC funding the City was also able to begin to address many important local impacts. A brief overview of some completed and ongoing activities, along with links to detailed reports and overview videos, is as follows:

Adaptation and Forests: Before this project began Prince George was already a leader in forest management. The City is taking many actions to mitigate fire risk locally and prevent urban wildland interface fires. Local staff are already thinking about what tree species should be planted in parks to prepare for changes and to make the City more resilient to pest outbreaks. More information is available in the full report here, or its Executive Summary here, and view a video about the project here.

Adaptation and Flooding: In 2009 Prince George underwent a detailed flood risk analysis to help prepare for freshet floods on the Fraser River and ice jam events along the Nechako. The City had climate change projections incorporated into the assessment, and the final recommendation was to include an extra 0.6 m of freeboard allowance (i.e. vertical distance above the flood plain) to account for future changes related to climate change and the mountain pine beetle. More information is available in the full report hereor its Executive Summary here or view a video about the project here.

Adaptation and Transportation: Prince George has partnered with experts from the University of Waterloo to investigate how to design and maintain roads better to account for climate change. Ongoing work includes an assessment of how climate change affects road safety, road conditions and vehicle crashes. The City is also considering using pervious concrete material to account for changing conditions. More information is available in the full report here or its Executive Summary here, and view a video about the project here.

Adaptation and Sensitive Ecosystems: Prince George initiated a sensitive ecosystems mapping project in 2010, and decided to incorporate an extra element investigating how climate change effects natural areas within the City. The exercise identifies areas that are sensitive to future changes, and can help the City decide where to conserve natural spaces and where to develop.  More information is available in the full report titled "The City of Prince George:The Effects of Climate Change on Natural Areashere, the reports accompanying maps (see below for specific links) and view a video about the project here.

The City of Prince George: Effects of Climate Change on Natural Areas Report has several associated maps that are in pdf format and can be viewed by clicking on the following links:
1.  Actual Soil Moisture Regime 2011
2.  Actual Soil Moisture Regime 2020
3.  Actual Soil Moisture Regime 2050
4.  Actual Soil Moisture Regime 2080
5.  Base Risk Map
6.  Sensitive Ecosystem Risk Map
7.  Leading Species Risk Map
8.  Spruce Risk Map
9.  Douglas Fir Risk Map

Climate Change and Freeze-Thaw and Precipitation: The City has hired consultants to look at how freeze-thaw cycles are changing, and also how the intensity, duration and frequency of precipitation events are shifting. More information is available in the full report here or its Executive Summary here.

Ongoing Initiatives: Information about the other priorities for Prince George, and actions that the City is starting to take (and can take in the future) is available in the full report here or the Executive Summary here.

 

Prince George Adaptation Videos:

To view a list of all of the short videos about how Prince George is adaptation to climate change (and to link to the videos) visit here.

 

Contact us:

Ian Picketts,
UNBC adaptation researcher
250-960-6700
picketts@unbc.ca

Dave Dyer,
City of Prince George
250-561-7663
DDyer@city.pg.bc.ca

Dan Adamson
City of Prince George
250-561-7698
dadamson@city.pg.bc.ca

 


 

 







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