Heavy downpours, heat domes, and receding snowpacks are the climate change effects felt in British Columbia, Canada.
Declining snow cover means less snowmelt in spring and less runoff in summer, affecting industries like hydropower, agriculture, and fisheries. Long-term loss of glaciers also means increased water shortage risk. British Columbia’s record droughts and wildfires are affecting its farmers and ranchers. They are receiving support from the government so they can continue producing food.
British Columbia is committed to addressing climate change impacts—the Provincial Government is responsible for adapting to climate change and including indigenous knowledge. On 20 June 2022, the Province released B.C.’s Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy, which strengthens our collective capacity to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to the impacts of climate change.
The Climate Adaptation Strategy involves actions to respond to sudden events like wildfires, floods, and heatwaves while also helping British Columbians prepare for slow-onset changes like sea level rise, habitat loss, receding glaciers, and water shortages. The Strategy also builds on over a decade of the provincial government, Indigenous Nations, and communities across British Columbia to prepare for a changing climate.
It outlines various actions to address climate impacts and build resilience across B.C. These actions are grouped into four key pathways:
- (1) Foundations for success: partnerships, knowledge, and decision-making;
- (2) Safe and healthy communities;
- (3) Resilient species and ecosystems; and
- (4) Climate-ready economy and infrastructure.
To help farmers and ranchers, the Province delivers a Regional Extension Program, a new 5-year producer-focused research and extension program that started in April 2023.
Mirage News reports that The Regional Extension Program supports regional projects on research, knowledge transfer, and new technologies. Funded by the governments of Canada and British Columbia, the program aims to ensure healthy soils and ecosystems in agricultural communities while also helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for and mitigate the impacts of drought, wildfire, flooding, and extreme temperatures.
Excerpts from the Mirage News article:
- The program funds activities like knowledge transfer events, data sharing, on-farm demonstrations, workshops, and webinars highlighting best practices and the latest research and technologies to support sustainable agriculture. There are 16 projects underway, with more to be started in the coming months”.
- Several projects focus on helping regions prepare for and adapt to drought. In drought-affected regions of B.C., workshops are being offered to give farmers the information they need to be better prepared and implement new strategies and best management practices that help them adapt to the impacts of climate change.
- Other projects include workshops and field days on silvopasture for farmers and ranchers to learn about and apply new and best management practices that improve water quality and land use planning.
- A key feature of this program is the use of local knowledge whereby ministry staff work directly with farmers throughout the province to identify and develop projects that strengthen climate resilience and food security in communities.
Learn more about the Regional Extension Program by browsing the link in the “Sources” section below.
Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy Actions for 2022-2025. British Columbia. Retrieved from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/climate-change/adaptation/cpas.pdf
Canada, BC Aid Farmers in Climate Change Adaptation. (2023, 6 October). Mirage News. Retrieved from https://www.miragenews.com/canada-bc-aid-farmers-in-climate-change-1098350/
Regional Extension Program. (n.d.) British Columbia. Retrieved from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/regional-extension-program
Preparing for Climate Change. (n.d.) British Columbia. Retrieved from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/natural-resources-climate-change/natural-resources-climate-change-adaptation