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Recommendations to Inform Development of a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for the Lake Simcoe Watershed Al Douglas - Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources Chris Lemieux – University of Waterloo Gary Nielsen - Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Paul Gray - Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources April 19, 2011
Background – Lake Simcoe • Policy 7.11 of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan commits the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to develop a climate change adaptation strategy for the Lake Simcoe watershed by June 2011, in collaboration with other ministries and partners • The Plan states thatin order to support the development and implementation of the climate change strategy, MOE in collaboration with other ministries and partners will: • Assess and evaluate the risk of climate change impacts on the watershed • Conduct and support additional research to study the impacts of climate change in the watershed • Develop an integrated climate change monitoring program to model the impacts of climate change on the watershed • Develop climate change adaptation plans and promote the establishment of a Lake Simcoe adaptation planning Community of Practice (CoP) • The purpose of the strategy is to increase the resiliency of the Lake Simcoe watershed to the impacts of climate change
Climate Change is a reality in the Lake Simcoe • Average global temperature has warmed by .76°C over the last century • During the same period, Ontario temperature changes range from O to 1.4°C • modelled projections indicate further air temperature increases of 1.1 to 6.4°C depending largely upon how humans respond to GHG emissions issues • Enhancing the adaptive capacity of natural and built systems to respond to changes will be important to the health and well being of people living and working in the Lake Simcoe Watershed in the next century and beyond
Climate Change Adaptation Plan Components Assessment of organizational readiness and where necessary improvement to the capacity of an organization’s ability to respond. Establishment or reconfiguration of a baseline upon which to measure change and adaptation success. Development and use of climate scenarios and socio-economic scenarios to help envision future conditions. Ongoing completion of vulnerability analyses using the future scenarios to assess strengths and weaknesses. Identification and development adaptation strategies. Implementation of the adaptation strategies. Monitoring of the strategies to evaluate success and the need for adjustment. Adjustment of the management strategies decisions where needed.
Step 1. Engage Experts and Identify Indicators • 11 themes requiring adaptation measures selected • The availability of expertise had a significant bearing on the selection of areas of inquiry for this pilot project • Experts in the natural sciences sector were were contracted to carry out detailed vulnerability analysis based on peer reviewed research and literature reviews • Experts in the agriculture and infrastructure themes were polled and asked for responses based on their personal experience and knowledge
Step 2. Vulnerability Assessments Using a guiding framework, experts assessed the vulnerability of system components (both natural and built) to the impacts of climate variability and climate change in the context of current system stresses. Natural Environment Built Environment - hydrology - wildlife - vegetative cover - aquatic habitat - natural heritage - parks and protected areas - species at risk - insects - invasive species - agriculture - transportation - stormwater - building code - power transmission - buildings - provincial infrastructure MNR, Trent University, Waterloo University MOE, MMAH, MTO, MoI, local power AND communities and municipalities
Step 2. Vulnerability Assessments (cont’d) Lake Simcoe Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Authors
Step 2. Vulnerability Assessments (cont’d) Infrastructure Questions for Provincial Departments • How has the infrastructure been challenged by historic weather and climate? Include long term changes to means, variability and extreme events. • List non-climate stressors and state how they may have contributed to current vulnerability. Consider land use changes, demographic/population changes, economic changes, etc and place these in the context of the point in life cycle, age, maintenance records, etc • Based on responses above, how has the infrastructure/system responded to climate change? Discuss the coping or carrying capacity of the infrastructure. • Given current vulnerabilities and assuming that climate will continue to change what vulnerabilities will be enhanced and what new vulnerabilities will appear? Consider 2 climate scenarios – low and high (defined).
Step 2. Vulnerability Assessments (cont’d) Infrastructure Questionnaire for Municipalities • Has your community experienced any of the weather-related events listed below within the last five years (with examples)? Yes-No-Not Sure • To what extent has any of the above weather-related events impacted your infrastructure? Scale of 1-5 • Indicate the extent to which the weather-related events will impact the various classes of infrastructure. Scale of 1 to 5 • Which of the weather-related events from Question 1, pose the greatest threats to your infrastructure? List the top 3.
Step 2. Vulnerability Assessments (cont’d) Infrastructure Questionnaire for Municipalities • Considering the list of infrastructure, please indicate to what extent will these non-climate stressors impact the system. Scale of 1-5 • If climate continues to change (long term changes to average, variability and extremes), will the classes of infrastructure become more or less vulnerable? • Are there specific locations where infrastructure is all ready vulnerable to current weather hazards (e.g. does the same location flood each time there is a heavy rain event, etc.)? • Does your community intend to develop and implement mechanisms (adaptation) to reduce climate-related risks? No, Yes within 1 year, Possibly within 2-3 years, Possibly within 4-6 years, Not Sure
Step 2. Vulnerability Assessments (cont’d) Communities Information Meeting • A brief overview of climate change, sample historic climate trends and projections of climate (temp and precipitation); • (Vulnerability) questions similar to those in the survey were presented; • Sought specific community vulnerabilities; • Received some comments on adaptive measures and comments about process impediments.
Step 3. Project Future Scenarios Changes in climate will have major implications for composition, structure and function of ecosystems for the Lake Simcoe WatershedBuilt infrastructure will be similarly challenged
Step 4. Project Future Vulnerability • All vulnerability information is posted on • www.climateOntario.ca/LakeSimcoeDelphi.php • Using the questions that were developed for the breakout session at the Lake Simcoe forum in November 2010 AND • Using the Policy Delphi method as the basis for expert input, the planning team developed the questions to populate the on-line Delphi questionnaire.
Step 5. Develop a Method to generate adaptation ideas – Policy Delphi selected for Lake Simcoe Overview of Policy Delphi Process • Iterative group-oriented Idea Generating Strategy (IGS) that seeks to generate the strongest possible opposing views on the potential resolutions of a major policy issue • Participants are afforded the freedom to present and challenge alternative viewpoints, and to think reflectively and independently between iterations Chris Lemieux, University of Waterloo
Advantages of the Delphi Method • Overcomes limitations of other IGSs, including: • one or a few vocal individuals to dominate the discussion • people to remain silent, possibly due to shyness or fear of censure • the ‘rut effect’ (i.e., participants getting hung-up on one thought and staying in that rut for the duration of the meeting) • the power of persuasion and the ‘bandwagon’ effect • the unwillingness to abandon ‘norms’ • geographic isolation • cost Chris Lemieux, University of Waterloo
Lake Simcoe Policy Delphi Process • Electronic survey was used for the two rounds of questions • First round provided survey participants with the climate change vulnerability reports prepared by the scientists, including the list of three primary consequences of climate change • Survey contained 11 questions organized according to seven general categories: legislation and policy, strategic planning, land use and/or resource management planning, management and operations, monitoring, research, and knowledge dissemination (communication) • Recommendations generated by the Nov 24/25 workshop breakout groups and the first-round Delphi survey were used to develop a synthesized suite of adaptation options for each of the 11 themes. • These recommendations were then evaluated in the second-round survey for their perceived priority and feasibility (affordability and ease of implementation)
Sample Questions from Policy Delphi Phase I • 1) Legislation and Policy • What types of policies are required to provide for an adaptive approach to decision-making? • 2) Strategic Planning • What short- and long-term strategic planning is required to support the vision of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan? 3) Increasing Knowledge • What types of information and forms of knowledge are required to support robust and flexible decision-making? • 11 questions in total across 7 themes Adaptation Report – pg. 31
Participant Response Rate • 74 individuals were invited to participate in the first round of the policy Delphi survey • 20 did not feel qualified to answer the questions. • of the 54 participants, 43 (84%) responded • of the 43 respondents to the first-round survey, 39 (88%) completed the second round survey • 8 agricultural experts and practitioners provided advice to the agricultural representative who completed the first-round survey • 16 municipal representatives completed the infrastructure survey • 16 municipal representatives from 8 communities attended the February face-to-face meeting to further discuss community vulnerabilities.
Recommendations All themes except infrastructure • more than 900 recommendations were submitted by the 43 respondents to the first-round survey • planning team reviewed the 900 recommendations, eliminated redundancies, and redrafted 695 recommendations in a consistent format for use in the second-round survey • with the ranking system developed for the round-two survey, first-order or high priority adaptation options were identified • in total, 92 recommendations were identified as first-order priority and an additional 48 recommendations were identified as first- or second-order priorities • First-order priority recommendations are:
First Order Priority Recommendations (sample) • STRATEGIC PLANNING • The implementation of all recommendations in the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan will • significantly improve the environmental health and ecological resilience of the Watershed to the impacts of climate change. • Develop a comprehensive terrestrial and aquatic natural heritage area system containing large core areas and exhibiting high connectivity throughout the Watershed in order to: • Enhance the resilience of ecosystems and species under changing climatic conditions; • Ensure the persistence of species at risk; and, • Facilitate species response to climate change. • Develop a Lake Simcoe Climate Change Adaptation Plan that includes quantified targets and objectives for socio-economic and ecological conditions that are resilient to the impacts of climate change.
First Order Priority Recommendations (sample) • LEGISLATION and POLICY • Climate change should be integrated into species at risk assessments and Species at Risk Act (SARA) recovery strategies. • The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) should be revised to include protection for all representative habitat types, not just wetlands. • Develop a tourism promotion policy that includes adaptive management principles in order to contribute to the local economy and respond to the needs of recreationists without compromising the sustainability of the natural assets of the Watershed in a rapidly changing climate. • Conduct a review of current official plans and associated policies in all 52 municipalities to determine how well they serve to protect remaining woodlands and wetlands.
First Order Priority Recommendations (sample) • KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: Research • Complete a spatial and quantitative analysis of the greenways and blueways that will be delineated and protected under the auspices of a fully implemented Lake Simcoe Protection Plan and determine if these areas provide optimal connectivity to mitigate climate change Impacts • Complete research on ecologically and socially meaningful planning objectives or targets for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. • Carry out the research necessary to be able to explicitly define and describe “resilient ecosystems” in the context of climate change. • Conduct an assessment of the risk associated with the movement of wood products (e.g., trends in firewood use) as disturbance vectors (e.g., Emerald Ash Borer, Asian Long Horn Beetle, 1000 Canker Disease, and Butternut Canker) for the potential impact on natural and urban forests.
First Order Priority Recommendations (sample) • KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: Monitoring • Implement all monitoring programs developed as part of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan (i.e., water chemistry, nutrient load, flooding, ground water, land-use change, tracking of best management practices, atmospheric monitoring and fish population indicators in the lake, stream monitoring of fish and invertebrates at sites throughout the watershed) and enhance monitoring programs with climate change indicators. • In collaboration with health officials, develop a climate impact human health and well-being surveillance system that tracks and reports on heat stress, vector and water borne diseases, extreme weather threats, and other health and well-being related impacts. • Institute standardized sampling to monitor distribution and abundance of Species at Risk (absolute and relative) on a regular basis across in the Lake Simcoe watershed and the rest of Ontario. • Target species that are most common to the region and known to be sensitive to change.
First Order Priority Recommendations (sample) • KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: Inventory • Commit to updating land-use and land cover mapping on a regular basis using new technologies, such as remote sensing. • Carry out a comprehensive, fine-scale vegetation inventory for the Watershed. • Design and implement a data collection process to gather vegetative cover data using state of the art remote sensing, GIS techniques, and ground plots. • Employ tools and techniques that permit planning teams to complete integrated assessments (e.g., GIS overlay mapping) for the sustainable allocation of ecological goods and services at the Watershed scale.
First Order Priority Recommendations (sample) • KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: Dissemination (Communication) • Develop a climate change education strategy that will provide local examples of future scenarios, vulnerabilities, and impacts to better link adaptation and mitigation actions with communities located within the Watershed. • Create demonstration sites at specific locations within the Watershed (e.g., natural heritage areas and other tourism locations) to educate visitors on climate change impacts and sustainable responses (e.g., energy efficiency). • Use the term “Green Infrastructure” to convey the concept that healthy and functional natural systems are required all around us to sustain human social and economic systems. • Ensure that community engagement is built into all climate change and adaptation related planning in the watershed.
First Order Priority Recommendations (sample) • ON-SITE PLANNING and MANAGEMENT • Develop emergency management strategies that help communities and businesses prepare for increased flooding, drought, and erosion due to more frequent extreme weather events in the Watershed. • Develop and implement Watershed-wide water conservation strategies to decrease water demand and use. • Tree planting initiatives should be promoted by all levels of government to improve air quality, conserve water, regulate climate, save energy, provide habitat, and improve economic sustainability. • Integrate use of climate change scenarios and vulnerability assessments into land-use plans and resource management plans, including but not limited to nutrient management plans, municipal official plans, fisheries management plans, wildlife management plans, and forest management plans.
First Order Priority Recommendations (sample) • ENABLERS (including PRINCIPLES) • Adaptive management should be a principle embedded in all climate change related planning. • The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and Ministry of Environment (MOE) need to improve interagency communication and cooperation to ensure water quality and quantity are protected and ecosystem health and resilience are enhanced in a rapidly changing climate. • Adapting to climate change will require increased levels of collaboration and cooperation at many levels, including between agencies, between different levels of management with agencies; and, between themes and sectors. This needs to be made explicit in the design of policy, strategic plans, work plans and project charters. • Achieving the consensus required to move forward on climate change adaptation programs will require the design a specific process to engage and include local communities in the development of adaptation policies, frameworks, and plans.
Recommendations for Infrastructure (sample) • Develop an inventory of current infrastructure to measure baseline conditions, performance and capacity constraints. • Develop guidelines and policy to encourage and support the use of rainwater capture and reuse technology at houses and other buildings. • Integrate stormwater master planning into the Planning Act. • Make every effort to mimic the natural environment when planning and/or retrofitting subdivisions.
What have we heard from you? How has your input been used? On the results + generated 900+ adaptation recommendations + common themes to the recommendations + many recommendations are beneficial to more than one sector - uneven distribution of respondents (expertise) - insufficient community responses On the process - too many questions, not enough time, not the right expertise, ill-informed, no room for input on questions, etc.
Post Adaptation Report - Workshop Many of the experts who participated in the process invited to hear results and provide feedback Process – feedback will help us refine the process to make it better. Review and comment on adaptation options . What is missing from the report? How can the strategy be moved forward with the respective delivery agents (municipalities, CA, Province, others)? What barriers stand in the way to building resiliency in the watershed? Also included discussion of an adaptation template and options for the layout/structure of the CCA strategy.
Recommendations for Future Strategic Assessment (Hindsight) • Use ensemble of climate models and scenarios when possible • Engage stakeholders and experts early and substantively • Scope needs to be comprehensive and include regional, national and international influances • Ensure the appropriate expertise (capacity) is in place • Allow adequate time to participate in climate change adaptation planning • Provide incentives to participants • Improve the capacity of the online-survey engine • Engage communities • Assessments of risks
An Adaptive Management Framework Step 1 Establish Baselines: Climate Flora Fauna June-August 2010 September – November 2010 December 2010 – March 2011 Step 2 Develop Scenarios for: Climate Socio-economics Step 3 Assess Vulnerability of Natural Assets and Human Society to Climate Change Step 4 Identify and Evaluate Adaptation Options September - October 2010 We are here May 2011 Step 6 Monitor for Change And Adapt as Needed Step 5 Implement Adaptation Options July 2011 P. Gray, MNR, 2011