Climate Change Adaptation Guidelines for Sea Dikes and Coastal Flood Hazard Land Use in British Columbia

Tina Neale
Posted on: 10/13/2011 - Updated on: 3/02/2020

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Tina Neale

Project Summary

Two hundred and twenty thousand people living in the Metro Vancouver region of British Columbia are protected by approximately 127 kilometres of coastal dikes. The dikes are managed by local government diking authorities that follow provincial guidelines in dike design and construction. Local governments also follow provincial guidelines in zoning and approving developments in the coastal floodplain.

The purpose of this project is to update British Columbia's guidelines for dike design, shoreline setbacks, and flood construction levels to consider future sea level rise, storm surges, and wave run up effects. The Province is drafting a policy that will update relevant sections of existing ministry guidelines. Further stakeholder and public engagement will be part of this process.


This project, coordinated by Ausenco Sandwell for the BC Ministry of Environment, is part of the B.C. Regional Adaptation Collaborative (RAC). The RAC consists of 21 collaborative projects across the province to support decision-making on water allocation and use, forest and watershed management, flood protection and floodplain management, and community planning. The emphasis is on building regionally relevant tools and information, and on integrating climate change adaptation into planning and decision-making.  Funding for the BC RAC is provided by Natural Resources Canada, the Province of BC, and partner organizations based in BC.


The project leads provided a series of reports, including Policy Discussion Paper, Sea Dike Guidelines, and Guidelines for Management of Coastal Flood Hazard Land Use (links available in green sidebar). Policy documents are being drafted based on these technical reports. Public engagement sessions will be held in Fall/Winter 2011-12.

Outcomes and Conclusions

Despite the reports being published as "information only," the recommended sea dike design criteria are being applied in new construction. The BC Ministry of Environment is currently designing an outreach and engagement process to inform coastal professionals and decision-makers about the recommended guidelines and development of the related policy changes.


Neale, T. (2011). Climate Change Adaptation Guidelines for Sea Dikes and Coastal Flood Hazard Land Use in British Columbia. Ed. Rachel M. Gregg [Case study on a project of Ausenco Sandwell and the British Columbia Ministry of Environment]. Retrieved from CAKE:… (Last updated October 2011)

Project Contacts

Affiliated Organizations

The BC Ministry of Environment is tasked to foster and enhance a clean, healthy and naturally diverse environment. In 2009, the Environmental Stewardship and Parks and Protected Areas Divisions of the BC Ministry of Environment distributed Common Statements of Understanding and Working Principles related to climate change adaptation. These principles should be taken into consideration in all future projects and planning. The Ministry recognizes that it must prepare for and adapt to the unavoidable impacts rising greenhouse gas concentrations will cause throughout the Province.