District of Elkford: Climate Change Adaptation Strategy
For several years, the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) has been spearheading research on climate impacts in the Columbia Basin, supported by a team of scientists and planners, and in partnership with the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC). The CBT observed that the impacts of climate change, and the vulnerability of communities to change, varied throughout the Basin. In 2008, the CBT recognized the need to support communities in identifying localized climate change projections and vulnerabilities, and in creating adaptation plans that would allow those communities to prepare for a much different future. The District of Elkford was one of two communities chosen to participate in Columbia Basin Trust’s Communities Adapting to Climate Change (CACC) initiative. For the District of Elkford, this initiative was integrated into an Official Community Plan (OCP) revision, which was to be completed ‘through a climate change lens.’
With support from PCIC, the Communities Adapting to Climate Change team (comprised of Karen Gorecki, Megan Walsh and Jeff Zukiwsky) developed a process that emphasized community and staff engagement, and the pairing of local knowledge with scientific data and projections to determine areas of priority for further climate impact research. Initial open houses revealed strong community concern for issues such as wildfire, road maintenance, stormwater management and water quality. The CACC research team used the public input and best available science to focus in on three priority areas: Wildfire, Flooding and Water Supply. These three priority areas were determined to be most vulnerable to future climatic changes, and in the context of Elkford, were of most concern to the community in terms of impacts on community safety and wellness.