The implications of climate change have resulted in heightened flood risk in the Kootenay and Boundary regions. A healthy functioning riparian area can provide valuable flood resiliency and mitigate flood damage where these areas overlap with vital agricultural lands. Agricultural producers play an important role in riparian area management but require enhanced support to fully understand how riparian areas relate to flood mitigation, along with options for management. Without knowledge and support, producers may find the topic of riparian health overwhelming, and it can be hard to understand the benefit of assessing riparian health, its management, and rehabilitation.
Associated Environmental Consultants (Associated) was retained by the BC Climate Change Adaptation Program (CCAP) to communicate the value of riparian areas on farmland. This involved consolidating existing information, developing and/or expanding educational material, and engaging with stakeholders. The outcome was communication about riparian area function and health, the implications of climate change to these features, methods to evaluate them, and a link to local resources and expertise to help make key land use decisions. To complete this project, collaboration was essential. All of these efforts were completed in collaboration with CCAP, Environmental Farm Planners (EFPs) from the three Kootenay regions (East, Central, and Boundary), members of the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, and local government.
The purpose of the project is to understand gaps in knowledge and available information for producers with riparian areas on both large and small waterways in the Kootenays. Further, associates worked to fill those gaps and to transfer relevant information and resources to land users. This report summarizes the activities completed during the project to achieve these goals.