The 3-year project deployed a project team consisting of members of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation and the Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources (OCCIAR), which included members of various provincial ministries. The project team along with the community first compiled western information related to area specific climate change trends as well as Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and community knowledge. With this information the project utilized risk and vulnerability assessments to systematically understand the challenges facing the Georgina Island community. This information helped to highlight current effects on the community such as unsafe ice conditions, unpredictable fish populations, and reductions in water quality. The assessments showed that factors such as increasing wind speeds and changing seasonal patterns exacerbate concerns over future water quality and winter access to the island.
The First Nations of Georgina Island, located on Lake Simcoe in southern Ontario, embarked on a 3-year a project from 2012-2015 in order to address current and future climate change impacts to their community including changes in ice quality, animal populations and threats to water quality. Changes in ice quality may hamper accessibility to the island during the winter season should the ice become too thin to safely travel across by certain modes. Changes in fish and bird populations may affect local fishing as well as ecosystem function. Lastly, reduced water quality due to extreme precipitation events may have an impact on the health of the residents. In light of these challenges the project guided the development of climate change adaptation and implementation plans. These plans were partially informed by vulnerability and risk assessments which the community had undergone at the onset of the project as well as by the continuous collection of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), community knowledge, and western scientific knowledge. Knowledge was collected in a variety of ways including through community engagement meetings and distributed surveys. Future efforts related to climate change on Georgina Island consist of the formation of a sub-watershed plan which would encompass the entirety of the First Nations of Georgina Island territory (including adjacent islands and mainland connections) as well as the implementation of identified actions.