Climate Change Adapt
The aim of the Climate Change Adaptation project is to support our member Nations in planning for, and dealing with, the impacts of climate change on their fisheries. Our project will focus on the impacts of inland flooding and coastal flooding on aboriginal fisheries.
The Fraser River is one of the greatest salmon producing river systems in the world, and many First Nation people, with a long history of reliance on fishing, reside within the Fraser River Basin. Climate change is putting pressure on salmon stocks that our communities depend on. Stocks have been declining, and First Nation fishers have been getting fewer opportunities to fish throughout the year.
The Lower Fraser river is predicted to face repeated and severe impacts from freshet and coastal flooding due to climate change. Sea levels in the Lower Mainland are expected to rise 1 meter within the next 100 years, according to a report by the BC government in 2011. Water temperatures are expected to increase as a result of climate change. Prior years have demonstrated that atypically elevated water temperatures lead to high numbers of salmon dying before arriving at their spawning grounds. Moreover, First Nations fishing grounds and infrastructure are being impacted by flooding and erosion.
Mapping and Assessment
During this project, we will map environmental and cultural values of importance to First Nations. Once the maps are produced, different climate change flood scenarios (from FBC), will be superimposed over these maps to understand what important values will be affected by flooding. A Risk and Vulnerability Assessment will then be conducted to assign a ranking of value (relative importance), risk (potential for loss, damage, destruction), and vulnerability (weakness in protection effort) across the region.
This project will result in a mapped inventory of values (e.g. fish species, fish habitat, threats to fish habitat and passage, cultural sites etc.) that are important to First Nations fisheries. A First Nations driven climate change adaptation plan will be developed. Implementing recommendations from this plan could create jobs and build capacity within Nations. (e.g. habitat restoration, environmental monitoring etc.)
The mapping and vulnerability assessment will provide us with information about:
- Areas that have greater priority/ value to First Nations.
- Threats to First Nations fisheries and fish habitat such as contaminated sites, fish barriers etc.
- Areas that are most vulnerable to flooding, and what will be affected in those areas.
Benefits of the project
- Spatial database to identify the areas vulnerable to inland and coastal flooding.
- Creation of Community-driven climate adaptation plans.
- Habitat mapping and adaptation planning will also support LFFA’s work on fish habitat restoration.
- Information on the consequences of inaction in comparison to different adaptive measures.
- Provide a platform for First Nations to voice concerns and plan together and work proactively to deal with potential impacts of flooding.
- Implementation of could result in enhanced capacity, communication, infrastructure and employment in First Nation communities.
- First Nations voice in land use and flood management processes such as the Fraser Basin Council Flood Management Planning Process.
The LFFA is planning to conduct this project in 3 phases:
2017-18 Phase 1: Mapping and Vulnerability Assessment
2018-20 Phase 2: Community-based Adaptation Planning Meetings
2020-21 Phase 3: Adaptation Strategy