Climate Change Information Products for Agriculture, Municipalities and Indigenous Communities in Bruce, Grey and Huron Counties of Southern Ontario (2020-2021)

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This project is part of a multi-year study to understand the state of climate change science in the Great Lakes and the impacts of the changing climate on various sectors and ecosystems in the region. Bruce Power is partnering with the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) and the Climate Risk Institute (CRI) to produce knowledge and information products that address opportunities and risks related to climate change and specific environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic values and activities in the counties that host or surround Bruce Power facilities.

The project has been scoped to assess climate change impacts, risks, and opportunities with respect to three Areas of Focus – agriculture, municipalities, and Indigenous communities – in the countries of Grey, Bruce and Huron. Work in each Area of Focus will involve:

  • developing a climate change risk registry,
  • establishing focus, scope and approach for risk and opportunity assessments,
  • conducting Area of Focus assessments, and
  • producing Area of Focus and basin-wide climate change risk and opportunity information products.

We are building on past work, including climate change workshops in Kincardine and Toronto in 2018 and a Review of Climate Change Impacts on Bruce Power and the Lake Huron Watershed conducted at the University of Toronto in 2019. Collaboration with local stakeholders is a critical component of this work as we strive to keep community collaborators at the heart of the project. Stakeholder engagement will help inform the focus and scope of risk assessments and the types of information products that will be developed.

Working Session – Climate Risk Products for Agriculture in Grey, Bruce and Huron

The project team hosted an online working session for stakeholders in the Agriculture Area of Focus on February 3rd, 2021.

Prior to the session we conducted a review of historic and projected climate trends and their impacts on key agricultural activities, crops and livestock in Grey, Bruce and Huron Counties. We then reached out to members of the agricultural community in the region to learn about their experiences in relation to weather-related impacts, risks and concerns. Based on literature and stakeholder engagement we developed a number of risk scenarios and calculated risk scores based on the likelihood of a climate event occurring and the severity of the consequences of its impact. 

At the working session, we presented main findings from the literature and interviews with members of the agricultural community, provided an overview of the climate risk registry and discussed options for priority climate risk information products.  

Working session participants had a chance to provide feedback on our approach and proposed products, to ensure their utility going forward. 

Together we have:

  • Reviewed what could be done to better understand and manage current and future climate risks in the region,
  • Identified the most useful information products to be developed,
  • Obtained feedback from farmers and other stakeholders on ways to mainstream key information to members of the regional agricultural/farming community.

 

Key points that were raised include:

  • The importance of product accessibility, educating people and making sure they know where to go for information and how to best apply it to their needs,
  • The value of building a community of practice where information about available resources would be shared and work on successful and sustainable farm management will be highlighted,
  • The importance of being synergistic with other organizations who have been developing climate risk and adaptation-related products and collaborating with trusted partners (e.g. OMAFRA) and farmers who are leaders in their communities to share information about and encourage the adoption of sustainable practices,
  • The need to account for a range of needs within the farming community (e.g. organic vs conventional farmers), making sure developed information products provide information relevant for a specific target audience,
  • The value of producing multipurpose, win-win solutions that include benefits to farms, biodiversity, and natural assets,
  • The need for downscaled regional datasets to help inform climate adaptation, taking the broader message and tailoring it to the local area,
  • Key information needs include climate trends and risk factors, BMP benefits to farmers, solutions for identified risk scenarios. Focusing on planning and building resilience within farm systems would go a long way in dealing with weather and climate uncertainty and unpredictability,
  • Online data and consultations, infographics, interactive mapping, and on-site demonstrations of successful solutions were some of the top suggestions for eventual climate risk information products.

Climate risk information products, proposed based on stakeholders’ feedback and evaluation of available data and methods, are currently under development.

The project is made possible with the support of Bruce Power and the Council of the Great Lakes Region. The Climate Risk Institute leads the Project Team.

For more information, please contact:

  • Anna Zaytseva, Project Lead, CRI
  • Emily Johnston, Senior Technical Officer – Environment, Sustainability, Community and Indigenous Relations, Bruce Power
  • Mark Fisher, President and CEO, CGLR