Climate Risk and Adaptation

There is unequivocal evidence that our climate has warmed over the last century and will warm further in the future. Projections indicate a warmer and generally wetter future climate, with an increase in the frequency and intensity of some extreme weather events. Climate change is already altering our natural environment with changes related to the timing and availability of water, shifts in natural ecosystems, landscapes and species’ ranges. These impacts affect every aspect of our lives – our livelihoods and economy, social connectedness, cultural traditions, and general wellbeing.

Climate resilience is how we successfully cope, manage and recover from weather and climate hazards and impacts. Adaptations are solutions driven by policies, processes, practices and changes to infrastructure to lessen potential damages associated with climate change impacts.

Climate resilience can be enhanced through a range of soft and hard adaptations. Soft adaptations include measures based in municipal policy and practice, changes to land use, different building requirements, and plans for emergency management. Hard adaptations include tangible changes to infrastructure such as buildings, dams and elevating or even relocating infrastructure. Before adaptations can be made, it is crucial to do a risk assessment and build an adaptation plan.

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Project Background

In April 2023, the MD of Bighorn was successful in obtaining funding through the Climate Resilience Capacity Building Program for the completion of a Climate Risk Assessment and development of a Climate Adaptation Plan for our region. With the assistance of an internal Steering Committee, the MD is partnering with All One Sky Foundation on this project. The Steering Committee consists of the MD’s CAO, Shaina Tutt, Directors Bill Luka, Andrew Box, Brenda Hewko, Wayne Shanks and is being coordinated by Kendra Tippe.  

The Climate Resilience Capacity Building Program was developed and administered by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre, a partnership of Alberta Municipalities, Rural Municipalities of Alberta, and the Government of Alberta.

Project Plan

  • Identify historic trends, future projections and impacts anticipated for the municipality, as a result of climate change.
  • Assess and prioritize the risks and opportunities of climate change for the municipality.
  • Identify and prioritize cost-effective actions for a short, medium and long-term time period that could be implemented by the municipality to increase resilience to a changing climate, accounting for the current capacity and resources of MD staff.
  • Provide direction on monitoring and evaluation of the Climate Adaptation Plan.

Project Deliverables

  • Climate Projections Report for the MD of Bighorn.
  • MD of Bighorn Climate Risk Assessment Report.
  • Climate Adaptation Plan for the MD of Bighorn.

Timeline and Next Steps

June 2023 - Project kick-off held with the Steering Committee
October 2023 - A Climate Risk Assessment workshop was held in Exshaw with municipal staff and key stakeholders to prioritize climate risks facing the region.
November 28, 2023 - Project update at the Governance and Priorities Committee (GPC) meeting.
January 2024 - Identify actions to manage the priority risks from the climate risk assessment and prioritize the actions using a simplified cost-benefit analysis approach.
January or February 2024 - Present a draft plan to Council.
February 29, 2024 - Finalization of Climate Adaptation Plan for the MD of Bighorn

For more information about the Climate Risk Assessment and Adaptation Plan contact:
Kendra Tippe, Environmental Fieldman, Municipal District of Bighorn.
Jeff Zukiwsky, Director of Climate Risk and Resilience, All One Sky Foundation.