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Regional Adaptation Strategies series – Cariboo

Completed in the spring of 2012, the BC Agriculture Climate Change Adaptation Risk & Opportunity Assessment evaluates how changes to the climate may impact agricultural production for key commodities in various regions of BC.

The assessment generated five regional and commodity specific reports including a “Snapshot Report” for cattle production in the Central Interior Region.

Building on the findings of the assessment, the Cariboo Region Adaptation Strategies plan was completed in the spring of 2014. A summary of the plan is also available.  The plan identifies regionally specific collaborative strategies and actions that will enhance agriculture’s ability to adapt to projected changes.

$300,000 in Growing Forward funding is available for eligible collaborative projects identified in the plan. The Cariboo Region Adaptation Strategies plan is currently being implemented in partnership with a number of funders and local organizations. Implementation is being overseen by a local working group including:

Regional Projects

Cariboo – Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation Planning and Resources

Increasing summer temperatures and decreasing precipitation due to climate change are expected to increase the risk of wildfire in the Cariboo in the future. Wildfires threaten immediate agricultural production capacity and many agricultural operations in the Cariboo exist beyond the urban/wildfire interface area where the bulk of limited fire mitigation resources have been focused. Developing agriculture-specific resources and plans to strengthen wildfire preparedness, mitigation and recovery was a priority in the Cariboo Adaptation Strategies.

This project will pilot development of individual farm plans, as well as collaborative plans with producers facing wildfire risk. The individual farm plans will identify the risks, gaps and concerns faced by individual producers and inventory available resources. The collaborative planning process will engage groups of producers in close proximity, with the underlying objective of improving fire mitigation, preparedness and recovery, as well as enhancing communication between key fire management and response agencies and the agriculture sector. Costs, issues and barriers around implementation of mitigation measures will also be identified. Results from the pilot, as well as relevant materials from other fire-prone jurisdictions, will be used to develop agriculture-specific resources.

Cariboo – Cooperative Maintenance and Enhancement of Agriculturally Significant Dams

In the Cariboo region, dams play an important role in water storage to ensure continued access to sufficient water for irrigation and livestock. While dams benefit a range of stakeholders, many agricultural producers are solely responsible for mandatory dam assessments, upgrades, maintenance and management. These can be cost prohibitive, and there is concern that producers are opting to decommission dams rather than maintain them.

This project created an inventory of agricultural dams across the region, document their issues, and prioritize them in terms of their potential for increased storage and level of risk of decommissioning.  Key partners were consulted during the inventory with the objective of documenting common interests and/or co-benefits (e.g. wetland type and wildlife habitat values) associated with agricultural dams. Upon completion of the inventory, a dialogue was initiated with potential partners in order to identify and define potential costs and risk-sharing strategies for dams. A cooperative dam management and maintenance approach was recommended for addressing challenges and ensuring that valuable dams are not decommissioned.

Related Documents

Cariboo – Workshop on Maintaining and Enhancing Agricultural Dams

The Cariboo region cooperative maintenance and enhancement of agricultural dams report was intended to inventory agricultural dams, identify co-benefits, evaluate the issues facing dam owners and identify potential collaborative solutions.

Following the completion of the report, a workshop was held in Williams Lake in November 2015 to share and discuss the report. The workshop evaluated and prioritized the identified issues and potential solutions. In sharing report findings, the workshop provided a knowledge transfer opportunity for participants but focused strongly on determining how to move forward effectively with preferred solutions.

Related Documents

Cariboo – Livestock Surface Water Assessment and Options

Extensive rangelands are an important part of the livestock production system in the Cariboo. Having adequate water for both livestock and wildlife is critical for the sustainable use and management of these lands. Climate change projections show dry periods in summer increasing and intensifying, threatening surface water sources for livestock and wildlife in an area that is already at risk during extended dry periods. Water shortages reduce access to rangeland, and could lead to overgrazing in some areas and reduced productivity overall.

The focus of this project is to maintain and enhance range productivity through alternative livestock water development. It will identify and map areas experiencing reduced surface water availability, and those that may become vulnerable with climate change, through local consultations, using existing databases and water license records and site visits. The project will help provide a basis for identifying priority areas for livestock water development, identifying water-licensing constraints in critical areas, and for determining options for livestock water development. The project will recommend suitable water development options for the Cariboo in order to encourage strategic investment in development of water sources. A second phase of project activity may be undertaken to pilot and evaluate the costs and benefits of water development projects in the Cariboo.

Related Farm Innovator Projects (learn more)

Using Management-Intensive Grazing for Adapting to and Mitigating Climate Change

This multi-year project will evaluate the potential for Management-Intensive Grazing as a tool to strengthen the resilience of rangelands to climate change related impacts. Intensively managed pastures will be observed and compared to more extensively (traditionally) managed pastures on the ranches of 6-8 cattle producers in the BC Interior in a collaborative undertaking with the BC Cattlemen’s Association. The project will use field-based data and remote sensing to measure and monitor range health, and to test for indicators of sustainable pastures and grasslands, including soil carbon, soil moisture availability, plant diversity and productivity.

The project will engage with 5-8 cattle producer co-operators. Findings and conclusions will be communicated via field days and workshops coordinated with the BC Cattlemen’s Association and the Grasslands Conservation Council of BC, as well as through articles to industry-relevant publications. A website and fact sheets will also be created for broad distribution.

For more details and updates on this project, visit the project website at:

Demonstrating Innovative Forage Production Practices to Increase Climate Change Adaptation

The ability to consistently produce a suitable volume of export grade, higher value forage in BC’s Central Interior is limited by variable weather conditions usually experienced during the harvest windows. Several forage yield evaluations have been conducted in the Central Interior of BC, but there is little information available on the relationship between weather and forage quality. Producers are also looking for adaptive production options for on-farm feeding and grazing. This project will assist in the development of production and harvest adaptations focused on growing high quality forage under a variety of conditions.

The project includes the installation of weather stations, evaluation of production practices through on-farm trials, and the linking of weather data and results of the farm trials. The project also includes the creation of a manual to assist producers with conducting their own on-farm trials. The combination of project activities seeks to increase information and management options available to producers to assist them in responding to changes in growing conditions.

Participating producers will directly increase their knowledge/capacity. Field days, conducted on participating farms, will share knowledge with area producers. Articles, factsheets, and photos will be posted on Farmwest website. The manual will be made available to producers throughout BC at the end of the project in both an online and hard copy format. Project outcomes will also be presented at a seminar-type event.

Adapting BC Horticulture through Protected-Crop Research and Demonstration

This project will evaluate to effectiveness of a range of plastic film mulches and low tunnels in modifying soil and horticultural crop environments to support adaptation to anticipated changes in climate in BC (in particular changes and variability in regional temperatures, increases in spring runoff and rainfall, and decreases in available soil water during the summer months).

This project will assess the plastic mulching the tunnel technologies for their ability to: prevent the incidence of early spring and fall frosts, raise average air and soil temperature, maximize photosynthesis, prevent condensation droplets (to decrease incidence of plant disease), and produce early season produce. Experiments will take place at UBC Farm as well as one farm in the Central Interior and one farm in the lower Fraser Valley.

The outcome of this research will be communicated to producers through field tours, presentations to producers, articles in producer journals and magazines, and findings will be integrated into the CSFS Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture curriculum.