Understanding and Assessing Impacts
Kanaka Bar’s journey with climate change began with both awareness and acceptance of climate change. Kanaka intuitively knows that the impacts they are facing in their community (forest fires, flooding, air quality, smoke inversion layers, wind events, power failures, changed precipitation patterns and heat) will increase in frequency, duration and intensity with even greater adverse impacts forecasted on local area systems (food, electrical, transportation etc.). To further understand the impacts on their community, Kanaka undertook a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. They applied a three phase strategic planning process that relied on local input (community engagement), traditional knowledge, and a scientific assessment of climate change impacts. Examples of community member observations was gathered at a community engagement sessions and included: lower quantity and quality of berries and other plants; increased flooding of roads, basements, septic fields and culvert during spring months; and poor air quality associated with forest fires. A group discussion facilitated in 2018 identifying and developing an inventory of community values and concerns. Information was presented to the community on observed and future climate change projections. For example, data from the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) and ClimateBC was used to produce regional and site specific projections to the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s time periods, which showed projections focused on temperature, precipitation, and streamflow. The results indicated that future changes may include: warmer year-round temperatures; more precipitation in the spring, fall and winter and less in the summer; less snow and more rain; more frequent and intense storm events; changes in surface water resources; continued stressed on salmon populations; changes in traditional foods; and an increase risk of forest fire. Combining this information with the community feedback, areas were identified that indicate the greatest vulnerabilities and highest community priorities, including: water resources; forest fires; traditional foods; access roads.