Atlantic Canada is vulnerable to climate change. Warmer temperatures, rising seas, more precipitation, and more frequent and intense storms will present many challenges for Newfoundland and Labrador communities. Tools and resources are needed to help communities make decisions that minimize their risk to climate change.
In 2009, the Atlantic Provinces and the Government of Canada partnered to deliver the Regional Adaptation Collaborative (RAC) Program. This program, administered through the Atlantic Climate Adaptation Solutions Association (ACASA), worked to develop tools and resources that help decision makers address issues like coastal erosion, coastal and inland flooding, infrastructure design, and groundwater management.
The RAC program has received continued funding support from Natural Resources Canada and the Atlantic provinces to build on adaptation capacity until 2016.
For more information on the Regional Adaptation Collaborative Program, go to https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/environment/impacts-adaptation/regional-initiatives/10631 .
For resources on climate change adaptation and to view reports from the RAC Program in Atlantic Canada, go to www.atlanticadaptation.ca .
Flood Risk mapping in Newfoundland and Labrador delineates the floodway as zones where floods have a return period of 20 years (5% chance in any year) and the flood fringe where the risk of flooding is once in 100 years (1% chance in any year). Flood risk areas have been mapped for 38 communities in the Province. These maps are used for public information, municipal planning, development control, and the setting of structural design criteria. All proposed developments in flood risk zones are evaluated against potential impacts on water resources, the structures themselves, and the surrounding areas.
To help support climate change adaptation, these flood risk mapping studies are being updated and new ones undertaken using climate change projections. This initiative is important for public safety and information, municipal and development planning, setting of structural design criteria, and flood response. This mapping will assist in regulating new developments in flood-prone areas, help minimize flood damage to properties and the environment, and restrict activities that could degrade water resources. A brochure is available outlining Government's New Template for Climate Change Flood Risk Mapping (331 KB).
For more information about Flood Risk Mapping: http://www.ecc.gov.nl.ca/waterres/flooding/frm.html
Floods, public safety and climate change are integrally linked. Due to climate change, the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events such as hurricanes that result in flooding is expected to increase. Climate change altered precipitation patterns will result in new communities experiencing regular floods and communities with existing flooding issues experiencing more intense and extensive flooding incidents.
The Hurricane Season Flood Alert System (HSFAS) is based on forecasted precipitation amounts and seeks to provide communities with flood warning services as a key climate change adaptation and public safety tool.
Alerts are provided to communities that have Flood Risk Mapping Studies (FRMS) or have published intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) curves from which precipitation based flood triggers can be derived. The HSFAS is to help communities in the province prepare for storms and avoid future high-cost expenditures in repairs and damages.
The HSFAS is operational during the peak hurricane months of June to December.
For more information about HSFAS: http://www.ecc.gov.nl.ca/waterres/flooding/hurricane.html
Communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as those across Atlantic Canada, are vulnerable to climate change and need to prepare for projected impacts. An important first step for communities is to assess how, where, and to what extent they are vulnerable to these impacts.
With funding from the Natural Resources Canada Regional Adaptation Collaborative Program, the Department of Environment and Climate Change, in partnership with Memorial University of Newfoundland and Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, developed a step-by-step guide to help communities assess their vulnerability to climate change.
This climate change vulnerability assessment tool, 7 Steps to Assess Climate Change Vulnerability in Your Community was adapted from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and was piloted in six Newfoundland and Labrador communities. The tool is designed for communities with limited resources and does not require any technical expertise to use. This tool can serve as a guide for community leaders and decision makers, providing a means for a quick analysis of local climate change impacts and possible adaptation options.
Municipalities NL and the Professional Municipal Administrators, with funding assistance from the Department of Environment and Climate Change, developed a municipal infrastructure training tool. The tool, Managing Municipal Infrastructure in a Changing Climate, is used as a training tool to help municipal staff manage and prepare for the impacts of climate change.
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