ABMI celebrates the release of Adapt-action – a new tool to help municipalities adapt to climate change
For municipalities facing risks, like flooding and wildfire, due to ongoing climate change, natural ecosystems may play a key role in reducing these risks while providing other benefits too.
Adapt-action helps Alberta municipalities understand how climate change might affect them and how they can become more climate resilient.
Adapt-action was created specifically for Alberta municipalities to help them identify and understand the potential implications of climate change for their communities and respond proactively. It was developed by the Miistakis Institute as part of the Biodiversity Management and Climate Change Adaptation (BMCCA) Project, led by the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute with funding provided by the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation.
Adapt-action focuses on building climate change resiliency through the use of ecosystem-based adaptation strategies—the protection or restoration of healthy ecosystems that support community well-being. In addition to helping municipalities respond positively to climate change, Adapt-action will help them to capitalize on emerging opportunities.
“Ecosystem-based adaptation strategies complement other adaptation strategies, such as those that rely on the development of new infrastructure like storm sewers or stream channels,” says project lead Guy Greenaway. “They can also achieve several community objectives through a single action: for example, a protected wetland upstream of a municipality can help to mitigate flooding, while also providing habitat for aquatic species and potentially supporting the provision of clean water to the municipality.”
Adapt-action also provides a “Strategy Checklist”, specific to Alberta municipalities, where communities can identify things they are already doing that support climate resiliency, and those strategies that might be incorporated into ongoing planning. Examples of such strategies include:
- updating municipal sustainability plans to reflect climate change,
- designating groundwater recharge zones within the Land Use Bylaw, or
- collaborating with their local Watershed Planning and Advisory Council to better understand climate-related risks in the watershed.
The ABMI’s BMCCA project supports our mission to provide relevant and credible scientific information on Alberta’s species and ecosystems to inform decision-making—including at the municipal level. Research from the BMCCA project informs many of the projected environmental changes described in Adapt-action.
“The ABMI’s climate change research has demonstrated that we can expect significant changes to our native ecosystems as a result of climate change,” says Dr. Dan Farr, Director of the ABMI’s Application Centre. “Adapt-action will enable communities to incorporate this information into their planning.”
Currently, Adapt-action includes comprehensive information on community implications and resiliency-building strategies for two climate change issues, water scarcity and flooding. These two topics were highlighted as priorities during consultation with municipalities. Future growth of Adapt-action will focus on developing content for additional climate change issues, like wildfire and extreme storms.
“The CCEMC funded this work because we want to support and inform policy development,” said Ray Luchkow, CCEMC Operations Management Committee member. “Adapt-action is an important part of that. It’s a great tool to support municipalities as they work to address risks associated with issues like drought and extreme weather.”
You can access Adapt-action at www.adaptaction.ca.
Contact: Amy Nixon, BMCCA Project Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Top: Medicine Hat, Brenda Carson
Middle: Tom Habib