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Lower Mainland

cover-RegionalStrategies-FraserValley-200Completed 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 various production systems in the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver regions.

Building on the findings of the assessment, the Delta Adaptation Strategies plan was completed in 2013, and a summary of the plan is also available. The Fraser Valley Adaptation Strategies plan was completed in 2015, a summary of this plan is also available.  The plans identify 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 Delta 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:

Projects completed or underway are described in more detail below.

Regional Projects

Delta – Potential Economic and Agricultural Production Impacts of Climate Change Related Flooding in the Fraser Delta

Projections for sea level rise (1.2m in the Fraser delta by 2100) and the potential for associated flooding of agricultural lands are a priority climate change impact identified in the Delta Adaptation Strategies.  However, there is limited information available about the potential magnitude and severity of impacts of coastal flooding for agriculture.  This study is a step toward addressing this gap.  The study also encompasses analysis of other types of climate-change related flood risk that have the potential to impact agriculture in the Fraser delta area.

This study utilizes existing data to analyze and evaluate the potential impacts  (immediate, short and long-term) of climate-change related flooding to portions of the Fraser delta’s agricultural land base and production capacity.  The report combines information about the potentially vulnerable agricultural land base, with available information about current agricultural production on that land base (capital investment, production types etc.) to evaluate the potential economic impacts, as well as to analyze short and longer-term impacts to productive capacity.

Related Documents

Delta – Agriculture and Climate Change Collaborative Communications Strategy

Climate change is an emerging challenge with the potential to have significant impacts on agriculture and the agricultural land base.  However, for effective adaptation of agricultural production to occur, partnerships and shared understanding will be needed.  As part of the Delta Adaptation Strategies improving public understanding of the sector, and strengthening its relationship with the surrounding community, was identified as a foundational step in building Delta agriculture’s resilience to current and future challenges.

With participation from key local organizations, this project developed a communications strategy.  The strategy identifies a series of community outreach and education activities to strengthen understanding of local agriculture and climate change issues.  Development of the strategy included background research, targeted consultation and meetings with local partners.  Audiences for the outreach and education activities could include Delta residents, community groups, farmers and agricultural organizations.  A second project will be initiated to implement priority communications activities selected from the longer-term strategy.

Related Documents

Delta – Forum: Addressing Flood Risk in a Changing Climate: What’s at Stake for Agriculture in the Fraser Delta?

Following the completion of the Potential Agricultural and economic impacts from climate change related flooding in the Fraser delta project, a Forum was held in Delta in January 2015. This event brought together agricultural producers, government representatives and other partners to engage in a multi-stakeholder dialogue to translate study findings into strategies for adaptation and action.

The forum was designed to develop a shared understanding of potential impacts to Fraser delta agriculture due to climate change related flooding, to build collaboration and partnerships for adaptation to identified impacts and to identify strategies, opportunities and next steps for action.

Related Documents

Delta – Flooding Preparedness and Mitigation Pilot Project

Sea level rise associated with climate change is anticipated to increase the risk of coastal flooding in the Fraser delta.  Agricultural lands in Delta are susceptible to multiple types of flood risk associated with climate change.  The first phase of this project includes a review of existing agricultural flooding preparedness and mitigation resources (within BC and beyond), consultation with producers and experts about risks and priorities, and development of a draft manual for individualized flooding preparedness and mitigation planning with Delta farmers.

In Phase 2, between 5 and 10 agricultural producers in Delta will participate in a pilot to develop individual flooding preparedness and mitigation plans.  The focus of this planning will be on evaluating risk and identifying appropriate actions for reducing the potential impact (and losses) associated with future flooding.  The project will be evaluated, both for future application in Delta and transferability to other agricultural areas with a high flood risk.

Delta – Climate Change and Agriculture Education and Outreach

The Agriculture and Climate Change Collaborative Communications Strategy project brought together those in Delta with an interest in local agriculture, food security and climate change to develop a communications strategy. This project implements key tactics from the strategy, piloting a series of community outreach and education activities to strengthen understanding of local agriculture and climate change issues in Delta.

The project will develop short videos, develop agriculture related content for the Corporation of Delta website, contribute to educational curriculum and employ traditional media as well as social media in order to raise community/public awareness about Delta agriculture, climate change and the potential impacts of climate change on agriculture. These activities will build collaboration between producer groups and other groups in Delta with an interest in agriculture, food security and climate change adaptation as well as strengthen community support for the agriculture sector in Delta. As much as possible, the range of activities implemented will be evaluated for their effectiveness in achieving these goals.

Delta – Drainage and Sub-irrigation Project

Effective drainage of agricultural lands is an important contributor to the agricultural viability of Delta. Despite existing practices and drainage infrastructure, drainage remains a challenge for some agricultural land in Delta. Drainage is likely to become more important (and challenging) with projections for an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events and the potential for coastal flooding.

At the same time as managing through more excessive precipitation, producers in Delta will also be managing more extended dry periods when irrigation is most needed. Producers will wish to identify mechanisms for most effectively and efficiently making use of available water. One option (that relates to drainage systems) is use of sub-irrigation. However, the relationship between of sub-irrigation and soil salinity requires additional exploration.

A drainage pilot project – possibly combined with a sub-irrigation demonstration – is likely to be of value. However, prior to investing in such a project, the first step is a thorough review and compilation of information from previous drainage projects in Delta, along with a broader literature review and a producer survey (to discuss current drainage systems and recent experiences with managing extreme precipitation). This project has confirmed the need for a pilot project, and has defined the scope, key questions and approach for pilot/demonstration activity.  This project is a partnership between the Delta Farmers’ Institute and the University of British Columbia Faculty of Land and Food Systems.

Related Documents

Related Farm Innovator Projects (learn more)

Evaluation of Thrips Damage to Potatoes in a Changing Climate

Potatoes are an important crop in BC and their production requires management of many pests, including thrips. The Fraser Valley is expected to have hotter and drier summer conditions and milder winters. Thrips multiply in hot, dry weather and milder winters may also increase winter survival rates. Currently, there are no economic thresholds established for growers for managing thrips outbreaks. In addition to a lack of management tools, little information is available about how thrips impact potato production and subsequent profit.

Working with 16 producer cooperators who grow seed, organic and conventional potatoes, this project will assess: how potato yields are affected by thrips at varying crop stages, local thrips transmission of tomato spotted wilt virus, and the varietal preferences of thrips (all in relation to measured growing season weather conditions). The project also includes extensive knowledge transfer through direct participation of 16-20 growers, presentations at the Lower Mainland Horticulture Improvement Association short course and/or the BC Potato and Vegetable Growers’ Annual General Meeting, a fact sheet and poster widely distributed to BC Potato Growers, and articles in Modern Agriculture and/or Country Life in BC. This will better prepare growers to manage this pest through changing climate conditions.

Strategies to Improve Forage Yield and Quality while Adapting to Climate Change

Anticipated changes in climate may impact forage production in the Fraser Valley through increased erosion risk, delays in spring planting, and potential for lower yields due to a shorter growing season with more prolonged hot and dry periods. Developing a toolkit of practical adaptive management strategies will assist forage producers in the Fraser Valley and on Vancouver Island to improve yield and quality of forage crops under future scenarios of changing climate and increasingly variable weather.

The project will test and demonstrate corn hybrids suited to both late planting and/or early harvesting and that are heat and flood tolerant, as well as winter crops (including grasses, legumes and cereals) that are amenable to a range of planting and harvesting dates. To address the climate change scenario of extended hot dry periods during the growing season, the project will introduce, test and demonstrate advanced irrigation practices (for their role in profitable and sustainable production).

Project findings, will be shared through field days, industry presentations and publications, and through the Pacific Field Corn Association website.

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.

Improving On-Farm Drainage Management to Reduce the Impacts of Climate Change in Delta, BC

Precipitation patterns in BC’s Fraser delta are expected to continue to shift with an increase in winter precipitation and extreme precipitation events. This has the potential to reduce the number of “workable” days for agricultural production (due to excess moisture on agricultural land), shorten growing or harvest season and/or delay planting. The changing precipitation patterns may also increase flooding and associated risk of crop loss. Increased salinization of productive soils in Delta is also a growing concern associated with climate change.

This project will demonstrate and evaluate on-farm strategies for addressing drainage and salinity problems. At two fields (with known drainage and salinity issues) three drainage management options will be installed each with three treatments of cover. Thirty additional fields (with seven producer cooperators) will be monitored and assessed for efficacy of range of drainage management practices including cleaning and maintenance on drainage tile systems.

Monitoring and data analysis related to these demonstrations will lead to updated factsheets on: drainage design criteria and recommendations, cost benefit estimates for new installations compared to maintenance, and cost benefit estimates of integrating cover crops or grassland set asides into drainage management strategies.

Sharing and transferring of results will include field days, updating of written materials (drainage manual, fact sheets) and a project website.