A new project this year coordinated through the Rural Development Institute (RDI) at Selkirk College is working on developing a state of climate adaptation report to apply to the communities of both Kimberley and Rossland.
The purpose of the RDI-led project is to pilot, evaluate, refine and support uptake of the State of Climate Adaptation and Resilience in the Basin (SoCARB) indicator suite. SoCARB was developed in 2014 as a result of a research partnership between Columbia Basin Trust’s communities Adapting to Climate Change Initiative and the RDI, which sought to measure the Basin’s progress on climate adaptation and climate resilience using indicators.
The RDI partnered with Columbia Basin Trust’s Communities Adapting to Climate Change Initiative on a project in 2014, which sought to measure the Basin’s progress on climate adaptation and climate resilience using indicators.
As the RDI website states, indicators are helpful for informing residents, organizations, and governments regarding key trends in climate adaptation and resilience, facilitating understanding of complex issues, evaluating the effectiveness of various adaptation measures, and motivating change.
The indicators cover five different areas including water supply, extreme weather and emergency preparedness, agriculture, flooding and wildfire. There were two main outcomes from the fall 2017 report, one is the overall larger report and the second outcome is a two page summary, which is an at a glance summary of the changes they are seeing and how the community is adapting to some of those factors.
Phase One of the State of Climate Adaptation project ended in fall 2017 and involved piloting the indicator suite in two communities to produce community level state of climate adaptation reports, conduct an evaluation of the Phase One pilot to inform refinement of the indicator suite and implementation process and refine SoCARB to improve its ability to the Basin-Boundary context.
Phase Two is now underway and involved implementing the refined SoCARB suite and process in two additional pilot communities and produce a toolkit to promote implementation of SoCARB by additional communities.
City Councillor Darryl Oakley says that a large and important part of the report is the section that includes interface fire reduction.
“It’s a huge concern for Kimberley, obviously because we’re surrounded by forest,” said Oakley. “The percentage of mapped high priority area that has been treated to reduce wildfire risk; it would be nice to have a timeline in terms of the biomass regrowth. When you take and work on an interface forest and remove biomass, with the funding being sporadic, you can end up with the biomass coming right back in. When you’re mapping this I think there should be timelines attached.”
Interface fire risk reduction involves assessing and treating high risk areas to reduce wildfire risk. The City of Kimberley has a Community Wildfire Protection Plan and is actively engaging in interface fuel treatment efforts each year as funding and weather conditions allow.
As stated in the report, wildfires on a regional scale are becoming more frequent and studies generally suggest that this trend, along with a trend to more area burned, will continue. Local-scale data relating to wildfire danger, frequency and size does not show reliable trends but provides a baseline for future assessments. Ongoing monitoring of fire incidents will help Kimberley understand the level of risk that wildfire poses to the community. In addition, continued monitoring of the environmental and economic impacts of fire will help Kimberley evaluate the effectiveness of its mitigation and adaptation actions, including ongoing interface fire risk reduction and implementation of development instruments designed to address fire risk.
For more information, visit the RDI website