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cover-RegionalStrategies-Okanagan-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” focusing on wine grape and tree fruit production systems in the Okanagan region.

Building on the findings of the assessment, the Okanagan Region Adaptation Strategies plan was completed in the spring of 2016. 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 Okanagan Adaptation Strategies plan is currently being implemented in partnership with a number of funders and local organizations.

Related Farm Innovator Projects (learn more)

Vented Orchard Covers to Protect Cherries Against Rain and Hail

A BC cherry orchard is testing vented orchard covers as a tool to protect tender fruit against rain and hail damage. The technology was pioneered in Europe, where it has been used to substantially reduce rain and hail related fruit damage, and increase water use efficiency in orchards. The project is evaluating the risks and the economic benefits of using vented orchard covers (in combination with wind machines) under current growing conditions in the Okanagan. Project findings will assist producers to assess the potential for this technology to reduce vulnerability to impacts associated with climate change.

The evaluation will compare fruit quality and water use efficiency for cherries grown inside and outside the vented covers, gather data over three years and provide a cost-benefit analysis that will be shared with other growers through publications, field days and presentations.

Economic, Social and Environmental Benefits of Riparian Rehabilitation as a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

Natural watersheds are inherently resilient and adaptable in the face of altered conditions. Rehabilitation of degraded riparian corridors running through agricultural land is important because natural stream systems provide considerable buffering capacity to absorb the impacts of floods, heat waves, infestations, and other extreme events, thereby offering adaptive capacity to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

This project will assess a group riparian restoration process (supported through the Environmental Farm Plan program) that involves producers in the Alderson Creek drainage in the Fortune Creek Watershed near Armstrong, BC. The project will monitor adoption/implementation of best management practices as well as impacts to the watershed with respect to environmental conditions and resilience.

The rehabilitation project will be monitored to quantify social, economic and bio-physical variables relevant to the project as well as stakeholder attitudes, opinions, and knowledge exchange. The findings will be communicated through two workshops (toward the end of the project), producer bulletins (fact sheets), academic publications and media.

Adapting to Low Light Growing Conditions using High Tunnel Structures

As global temperatures rise, snowfall and accumulation will likely be reduced and replaced with increased rainfall and accompanying cloud cover. The combination of these effects over the next 30 to 50 years could have very serious implications for agricultural opportunities in the mountainous regions of BC’s Interior. This project will study the viability of using high tunnel structures to improve food-crop production in locations previously seen as undesirable for commercial agriculture, and which may become even more challenging as a consequence of climate change.

This demonstration project will study the viability of winter salad green production in a low-cost, high-tunnel structure heated with a compost heat system in low light conditions, and without supplemental lighting. Data will be collected on crop quality, quantity, days to harvest and planting dates. Findings on which crops are viable in the low light structure will be shared in a final report, which will also offer recommendations on how to construct low-cost, high-tunnel structure that will withstand snow accumulation in mountain/high altitude conditions, encourage and maintain plant growth/crop productivity and maximize light exposure and minimize input costs such as artificial lighting and heating. An overall cost-effectiveness evaluation will be included.

Transfer of knowledge will primarily target small-scale farmers looking for innovative low-cost strategies for extending their growing season.