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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.

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$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

Download and read the project summary as a PDF: Building Essential Public Support for the Future of Delta’s Agriculture.

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 implemented key tactics from the strategy through piloting a series of community outreach and education activities to strengthen understanding of local agriculture and climate change issues in Delta.

The project developed short videos, developed agriculture related content for the Corporation of Delta website, contributed to educational curriculum and employed 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 were intended to build collaboration between producer groups and other groups in Delta with an interest in agriculture, food security and climate change adaptation as well as to strengthen community support for the agriculture sector in Delta.  The range of activities implemented was evaluated for their effectiveness in achieving these goals.

View the three short videos below. 

Related Documents

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

Delta – Fraser River Salinity Modeling and Monitoring

In Delta, agricultural water supply and salinity are twin management challenges. The combination of changing patterns of river flow in the Fraser River; increasing irrigation demand due to warmer, longer and drier summers; and sea level rise, are expected to contribute to an increasing quantity of saline water migrating up the river.

Our current understanding of salinity influences on the lower Fraser River is incomplete. To fill this gap, this project will provide a comprehensive and longer-term approach to understanding the dynamics of the lower Fraser River, the potential impacts of climate change, as well as shifts that may accompany the removal of the George Massey Tunnel. This project will generate modeling runs based on the various combinations of climate-change and river flow scenarios, sea level rise and potential dredging scenarios.

Model outcomes and a clear report on the current, and anticipated future, extent of saline water intrusion will identify times when salinity levels are expected to be higher than a functional threshold for agricultural water us and will provide information for decision makers on how to respond to these changes and mitigate the migration of the salt wedge. The model results and report will also provide recommendations for salinity monitoring locations and a salinity monitoring program.

Fraser Valley – Enhanced Collaboration for Agricultural Drainage and Ditch Management

Good drainage infrastructure improves the productivity of agricultural soil through removal of excess moisture and provides more flexible windows for agricultural activities – particularly early and late in the production season. Due to changing precipitation patterns, climate change is anticipated to increase pressure on drainage infrastructure on the farm, and beyond the farm gate. Farm level drainage frequently links into broader regional systems, but each local government in the Fraser Valley has its own approach to maintaining this public infrastructure. Additional government agencies may also be involved in actions pertaining to drainage management which creates a complex system requiring effective coordination and collaboration between agencies.

The goal of this project is to improve the coordination and consistency of the approach to dealing with agricultural drainage in order to assist producers with effective management of these systems. The project will conduct a high-level assessment of the state of agricultural ditches and drainage across the Fraser Valley Regional District to identify priority and common issues, and current processes and practices. The project will then share the findings with key partners and agencies and initiate dialogue through workshops to identify options for improving coordination and management. Finally, the project will seek to create a primary updated information source of clear and consistent information for producers about ditch and drainage maintenance.

Freshet Flooding and Fraser Valley Agriculture: Evaluating Impacts and Options for Resilience

The potential for spring flooding off the Fraser River caused by a rapid melt of snowpack (freshet) is a seasonal threat for communities and agricultural operations in the floodplain and it is expected that climate change will increase both the magnitude and frequency of large floods on the Fraser River. Evaluating the potential impacts and costs to agriculture associated with freshet flooding, and well as impacts on the broader economy, was identified as a priority in the Fraser Valley Regional Adaptation Strategies.

This project assesses and evaluates: 1) the overall economic value of agricultural production in the Fraser Valley with a focus on the areas at risk of flooding, 2) the potential costs and losses for agriculture and associated businesses under several flood scenarios, and 3) options for mitigating agricultural losses, increasing resilience and speeding recovery in case of a large flood. The results of this study will strengthen the basis for government and industry planning and actions to address agricultural flooding impacts and support recovery. 

Fraser Valley – Agricultural Water Workshop

During workshops for development of the Fraser Valley Adaptation Strategies, producers highlighted information gaps around the future of agricultural water in the Fraser Valley. Concerns were raised about the changing regulatory context governing water use, as well as the ways that climate change might influence both supply and demand of water during the agricultural production season.

This project will provide knowledge transfer related to the local water context as well as agricultural water management options and innovations. Following a scan of knowledge gaps and areas of interest, and through consultation with local industry representatives, local government and producers, the specific content for a day-long workshop will be determined. The workshop will include a range of relevant water-related information for producers including: future water supply, the provincial regulatory context (the Water Sustainability Act) and water management practices and technologies. Local examples of successful implementation of best practices and technologies will be included through photos, producer presentations, discussion and question and answer sessions. Integration of drainage management topics will also be included to address the range of climate-change related water issues that producers are dealing with in the Fraser Valley.

The project will also develop handouts documenting useful information shared at the workshop and a workshop summary document, which will both be made widely available upon project completion.

Fraser Valley – Agricultural Pest (activities, gaps and priorities) Assessment

As average annual temperatures increase, the range and prevalence of pests and pathogens is anticipated to shift. There is also concern that new insects, diseases, weeds and invasive species will be introduced and become established. In contemplating the need to adapt to changing pest threats, producers participating in the Fraser Valley Regional Adaptation Strategies workshops indicated the need for a broader and more coordinated effort to address pest surveillance, monitoring and management challenges within the Fraser Valley

The Fraser Valley Agricultural Pest Assessment project is the first step towards a coordinated pest surveillance, monitoring and management effort. This project will: review and document recent and current activities across the sector (for crops and livestock) in the region, will identify current and future needs, gaps and common priorities, and will also serve as a “catalogue” of the various activities underway. Upon completion of the inventory and assessment, a cross-sector workshop will be held to share and discuss findings, to confirm or refine the priorities, and to ensure that future investment is suitably targeted. Bringing sector groups and potential partners together is an important step to build partnerships for cooperative approaches to address existing, emerging and future pest-related challenges.


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

Download and read the project summary as a PDF: Helping Farmers Get a Jump on Growing Season with Crop Protection.

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

Download and read the project summary as a PDF: Delta Drainage Study Lays Groundwork for Climate Adaptation.

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.