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 mapped environmental and cultural values of importance to First Nations.
Once the maps were produced, we held a series of meetings in each of the Lower Fraser regions/watersheds to get inputs on priority areas for our First Nation members. The maps can be viewed on our website: https://climateadapt.lffamaps.ca
For the last phase of the project, we developed a First Nations-led Strategy to Prioritize Restoration and Climate Adaptation projects in the Lower Fraser (report attached). This phase of the project was a joint effort with the Coastal Restoration Project, in order to synergize work and develop a holistic plan for restoration that encompasses climate change adaptation.
This project resulted 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 was developed. We plan to start implementing recommendations from this plan driven by decisions taken by our leaders at the Watershed Working Groups that have been formed to guide and implement this work. Implementing the plan could create jobs and build capacity within Nations. (e.g. habitat restoration, environmental monitoring etc.)
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.
2017-18 Phase 1: Mapping and Vulnerability Assessment
2018-20 Phase 2: Community-based Adaptation Planning Meetings
2020-21 Phase 3: Adaptation Strategy
2021-22: Implementation through Watershed Working Groups