Category:

Climate Change Adaptation

COLOUR COORDINATING: “It’s time to design smarter 21st century systems that restore and maintain green infrastructure as a critical component of urban resilience and vitality,” says Jan Cassin, Water Initiative Director, Forest Trends Foundation (September 2019)


“How can we move from viewing green infrastructure in terms of “nice to have” extras, to putting green infrastructure at the center of how we value and invest in the infrastructure we need for vibrant, resilient cities? A number of innovations can move us in this direction,” states Jan Cassin. “Cities and their utilities should embrace natural asset management. In the same way that well-managed utilities strategically assess their gray assets, we can evaluate our green infrastructure base.”

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BLUE AND GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE: Vietnam has been selected as the study location for assessing effectiveness of eco-friendly flood schemes because its low-lying coastal cities are particularly vulnerable to increased flood risk due to rapid urbanisation and climate change


“In the last few decades approaches to dealing with flood risk in urban areas have typically preferred the adoption of hard infrastructure like dykes, concrete barriers and raised structures – all of which are costly to build and maintain, and may have adverse environmental impacts locally and further downstream,” stated Dr. Lee Bosher. “Loughborough University is supporting the work of the University of Stirling in assessing the role of natural capital and ascertaining the added economic value that alternative BGI measures for flood defence and mitigation can provide.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2013: Massive floods in Alberta and in the Toronto region provided the same kind of wake-up call that B.C. got in 2003, when it was hit by wild fires and drought (article published in the Globe & Mail newspaper, July 2013)


“In Canada, water has surpassed fire to become the leading cause of property damage, and now costs insurers about $1.7-billion a year, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The budgets and stakes are enormous,” wrote Wendy Stueck. “Over the past decade or so, there has been increasing use of so-called ‘green’ infrastructure, which involves using vegetation and soil to disperse rainwater as it falls rather than funnelling it into a storm sewer.”

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Researchers Link Climate Change to Urban and Suburban Stormwater Management: “What we design now is in place for 20 or 30 years, so we should design it with future climate conditions in mind as opposed to what the past rain has looked like,” said Dr. Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman, University of Maryland


“This work puts emphasis on what’s happening in local upland spaces that has immediate implications for the people who are living in these watersheds for future flood mitigation, but connects this to the broader issues of how increased runoff links to the health of the Chesapeake Bay,” stated Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman. “It is really the bigger rain events where we are seeing things not work as well, and that’s concerning partly because we know that with climate change these more intense events are going to become more common.”

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INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE SALMON: “It is not just about the salmon. It is what that organism represents that is fundamental to how we look at the landscape, especially when the climate is changing,” stated Nick Leone, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, at the Parksville 2019 Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate


In embarking on this journey, British Columbians can learn from historical precedents and parallels. In particular, the “salmon crisis” in the 1990s was a game-changer in the way it was the catalyst for green infrastructure practices. A generation later, will lightning strike twice and will the iconic salmon again be the regulatory driver that spurs communities to raise the bar to ‘improve where we live’? “If we are to fundamentally restore or rehabilitate creeksheds, we must first recognize and understand the essential elements that make up a dynamic landscape. It is a system. Act accordingly,” stated Nick Leone.

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NATURE’S ASSETS: “It is becoming increasingly apparent that these resources can be harnessed as critical infrastructure and leveraged to manage the risks associated with climate change,” said Charles Brindamour, Intact Financial Corporation’s CEO (April 2019)


“Climate change is having an enormous human and economic impact. Canadians – especially government and business leaders – can lead the way in addressing and managing the associated risks. By making our country one of the most climate resilient in the world, we can protect our nature, our economy and our people,” stated Charles Brindamour. “As the Summit has made clear, nature and natural resources are, and have always been, among Canada’s greatest assets.”

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JUST RELEASED (March 2019): “Integrating Green and Gray – Creating Next Generation Infrastructure” – joint report by World Bank and World Resources Institute states that the next generation of infrastructure can help drive economies and strengthen communities and the environment


“21st century challenges require innovative solutions and utilizing all the tools at our disposal. And integrating ‘green’ natural systems like forests, wetlands and flood plains into ‘gray’ infrastructure system shows how nature can lie at the heart of sustainable development. ‘Integrating Green & Gray – Creating Next-Generation Infrastructure’ provides guidance on how to do just that,” stated Greg Browder, World Bank Global Lead for Water Security & Lead Author.

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WATER STEWARDSHIP IN A CHANGING CLIMATE: “The essential ingredients for restorative development encompass: vision, strategy to deliver the vision, and commitment to implement an ongoing program,” says John Finnie, Chair of the Parksville 2019 Symposium Organizing Committee (Asset Management BC Newsletter, February 2019)


“Guided by a whole-system, water balance approach, restorative land development would reconnect hydrology and ecology, and this would: reduce stream erosion, flooding and the associated infrastructure liability; increase the dry weather baseflow in streams; and stem the loss of aquatic habitat and fish. Connecting dots, then, a key message is that restorative land development results in sustainable stream restoration,” says John Finnie.

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Michigan’s Struggles to Fund Stormwater Infrastructure: “Paying more for infrastructure and utilities is the new reality,” said engineer Greg Kacvinsky


“The pipes that we put in the ground 50 years ago were designed under a different set of criteria. And so when rainfall changes, and when climate changes, the system doesn’t provide the same level of service that it used to. Where communities used to be able to rely on money coming down, or raining down, from the federal government, now the federal government is there to say, we’ll give you money…but you’re gonna pay us back,” Greg Kacvinsky said.

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“IBC fully stands by our insured loss numbers and their attribution to escalating severe weather events driven by climate change,” wrote Craig Stewart, Insurance Bureau of Canada, in an Op-Ed published in the Financial Post newspaper


“The IBC-sponsored report, Combating Canada’s Rising Floods Costs: Natural infrastructure is an underutilized option, provides a framework for making decisions about the return on investment of green infrastructure deployed as a climate-adaptation measure,” wrote Craig Stewart. “Fundamentally, we as a nation need to prepare for the impacts of severe weather. By focusing on adapting to climate change we can work together constructively to keep Canadians out of harm’s way.”

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