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Regional Adaptation Strategies series – Peace

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 grain and oilseed production in the Peace Region.

Building on the findings of the assessment, the Peace Region Adaptation Strategies plan was completed in the spring of 2013. 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 Peace 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

Knowledge transfer tools: Irrigation feasibility & weather monitoring

A number of actions are identified in the Peace Adaptation Strategies to support agriculture to adapt to increasingly dry and drought conditions in summer, including a project on Evaluation of Irrigation Potential in the BC Peace Region.  The irrigation feasibility study was completed in the autumn of 2015. The study identified a small number of irrigation opportunities, and additional opportunities may exist.

The feasibility study is a long and technical document and, even with a relatively concise executive summary, it does not highlight or define the opportunities in an accessible form for producers. For a relatively small investment, This project will develop a set of fact sheets and a workshop to summarize overall findings,with particular attention to the opportunities, that will make the findings of the previous study more accessible. 

In addition to offering a session focused on the irrigation information, a second session will be offered related to the new weather data and decision support tools website, which is part of the Peace – Agriculture Weather Monitoring and Decision Support Tools project.

Peace – Increasing Availability of Agriculturally Relevant Weather Data

Upon initiating this project, many producers in the Peace region only had access to weather data coming from stations located too far from their operations to provide relevant information. The lack of readily available agriculturally relevant weather data was identified as a significant gap in the Peace Adaptation Strategies planning process.

Developing and implementing a strategy to increase access to weather data that supports day-to-day, seasonal and longer-term decision-making and planning was a high priority for producers in the Peace region.

This study analyzes and evaluates the options for improved weather data collection and availability. The research included consultation with producers and producer organizations as well as agencies currently involved in weather data collection in the BC Peace. A detailed analysis of existing weather stations was conducted. The study identifies current gaps in monitoring and recommendations for strengthening the monitoring network, as well as options for increasing the availability of data and decision support tools for producers in the BC Peace.

Based on this piece of work, a second project is now underway to implement select recommendations for improving weather monitoring and data availability.

Peace – Enhancing Agriculturally Relevant Weather Data (2014 report)

Related Documents

Peace – Collaborative Monitoring Pilot Project

Download and read the project summary as a PDF: Pest & Disease Monitoring: the Front Line of Climate Adaptation.

One of the most significant gaps identified through the Peace Regional Strategies planning process was the lack of monitoring for agriculturally significant pests, diseases, weeds and invasive species. While there is an extensive pest monitoring network across the Prairies, it recently did not extend into the BC Peace. With a changing climate, the risks associated with this gap are substantial; monitoring is fundamental to understanding, preparing for and managing associated changes in the ranges and prevalence of economically significant pests, pathogens and weeds.

This two-year pilot project brought together a cross-section of sector organizations to jointly support BC-Peace based monitoring for pests, pathogens and weeds that have been identified as current or emerging threats. In partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada staff, a linkage was facilitated to broaden data analysis and processing capacity. The project also included communications activities to effectively share information back with producers in the region.

Related Documents

Peace – Evaluation of Irrigation Potential in the BC Peace Region

Dry and drought conditions are projected to increase and intensify with climate change in the Peace region. Competition for water from non-agricultural uses, and water use restrictions, have prompted some agriculture producers to question whether the current and future water demand for agriculture has been adequately considered in planning scenarios. There is currently very little irrigation of crops in the region, but this project takes am important step towards establishing potential for irrigation in the region, a step needed in order to adequately assess future agricultural water demand. Conducting an irrigation feasibility study was one of the actions identified in the Peace Adaptation Strategies to support agriculture to adapt to dry and drought conditions.

The project objectives were to : 1) identify appropriate irrigation systems based on current and future cropping scenarios; 2) identify constraints related to irrigation in the region; 3) establish preliminary cost-benefit estimates for various irrigation and cropping scenarios, and; 4) help establish the future potential for irrigation and water demand for crop production in the region. The project will address these goals by looking at water supply, water demand and economics.

The findings of this project are available for local agricultural organizations and local governments for their consideration, and may ultimately be integrated into local and regional planning initiatives.

Peace – Evaluation of Irrigation Potential in the BC Peace Region (2016 report)

Peace – Evaluation of Irrigation Potential in the BC Peace Region (2016 summary)

Related Documents

Peace – Agriculture Weather Monitoring and Decision Support Tools

Download and read the project summary as a PDF: Good Data Informs Good Decisions in Climate of Change.

During the development of the Peace Adaptation Strategies, increasing producer access to weather data emerged as a priority to support real-time, seasonal and long-term decision-making and planning. Improved baseline weather data is also needed to inform other actions identified through the Adaptation Strategies such as strengthening monitoring for pests and diseases. As a first step, a comprehensive assessment of current weather monitoring and data availability, as well as options for improvement, was completed in the spring of 2014, see Enhancing Agriculturally Relevant Weather Data (April 2014).

This project will implement the recommendation of the 2014 report to establish a collaborative approach to expanding and maintaining the weather monitoring network within the BC Peace region. Up to 15 new weather stations will be established within the region, and operators of existing weather stations will also be invited to participate in a regional data sharing initiative to increase the quantity and quality of weather data available to support producer decisions (real-time, seasonal and long-term).

Project proponents will present at workshops and meetings and develop an informational brochure for producers in the region to increase awareness of the broadened weather data network and available data/tools.

Peace – Defining a new approach to Agricultural Land Use Inventory in the BC Peace

The Peace Adaptation Strategies identifies the need to complete Agricultural Water Demand Modeling in the BC Peace region in order to plan effectively for agricultural water supply and access.  This background information is not only needed for agricultural water management, but also for regional level decision-making that involves all water users. By improving understanding of demand, as well as potential for water storage and supply sources, priorities for agricultural water development may be identified.

A traditional Agricultural Land Use Inventory (ALUI), generally completed by the BC Ministry of Agriculture and partners, is a pre-cursor to Agricultural Water Demand Modeling.  The ALUI typically relies on a “windshield survey” to collect detailed spatial information on land cover including crop types, irrigation systems, land use, livestock, agricultural practices, and water features. Due to the unique and extensive nature of the Peace, a new approach to the traditional ALUI is required. 

This project will assess data needs, assess existing data available, scope methodologies, and evaluate new approaches to data collection for an ALUI.  The project will also assess the end uses of ALUI and AWDM data for the Peace Region. This project will also identify additional data requirements and associated costs for the Agriculture Water Demand Model (AWDM) such as soils data and climate data.

The project will result in a detailed project plan for an Agricultural Land Use Inventory and Agricultural Water Demand Model on agricultural lands in the Peace River Regional District.   This plan will include cost / benefit assumptions of carrying out an ALUI and an AWDM.

Related Farm Innovator Projects (learn more)

Innovative Management Practices for Resiliency

As weather variability and extreme weather events increase, forage producers in the Peace region will require flexible and responsive management strategies. This project will work with Peace producers using a farm systems approach to identify and to adopt nutrient management practices and forage production systems that are more resilient to weather extremes and climate change.

Three strategies will be evaluated including: 1) revitalization of forage stand options (e.g. utilizing existing on farm resources such as nutrients from confined feeding or winterfeeding sites, grazing management, seeding, fertilizing and rejuvenating forage stands to increase production); 2) establishment, production and stand longevity of legume alternatives to alfalfa; and 3) identification of ways to reduce nutrient loss. The three production strategies will be evaluated based on economic indicators, soil quality, soil and crop response and producer perspectives on the adoption of the practice.

Project findings will be shared via field days, seminars/ tours and workshops, the Peace River Forage Association’s website, newsletters and fact sheets.