In 2008, Elkford was chosen to partner with the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) in a year-long process on adapting to local climatic changes. Elkford’s interest in the initiative was a result of the desire to see implications of future climatic changes incorporated into their Official Community Plan (OCP). Historically, Elkford has dealt with climate-related hazards, including flooding, drought and wildfires. To understand future climate impacts, Elkford examined potential precipitation and temperature changes using historical (last 100 years) and regional modeling projections (next ~70 years) provided by the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC). The team investigated climate change impacts based on the data provided by PCIC, researched the scientific literature, and gathered information from experts to explore what other biophysical and anthropogenic impacts may affect Elkford and the surrounding region. Existing information on climate change impacts and projections was used to develop impact pathways that identify physical and ecological impacts of climate change and associated socioeconomic impacts on the community. Through this, six priority areas were identified:
- flooding/land slides
- water availability
- ecosystem change, and
These priorities were presented to the community to determine whether they reflected their key areas of concern through booths in the mall, a paper and web-based survey, and an open house event. A Vulnerability and Risk Assessment was conducted to find gaps in the identified planning areas and to help determine what to pay attention to first. Risk was assessed by identifying the probability of a climate change related event occurring within a 20-year period and the vulnerability of the community. The team then undertook action planning, followed by an implementation, monitoring and adjusting phase.