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At Kanaka Bar, preparing for climate change is seen as an important milestone towards the achievement of community’s vision of self-sufficiency.  It is being incorporated in everything that is being done by the community on a day to day basis.  The Traditional Territory of Kanaka Bar is located 14 kilometers south of Lytton, B.C., in the Fraser Canyon. Water plays a critical role in the health of the community. Kanaka Bar has five watersheds: Kwoiek Creek, Morneylun Creek, Nekliptum Creek, Siwash Creek and Four Barrel Creek, all of which support traditional food sources, wildlife and agricultural activities, provide drinking water to the community and hydroelectric power to BC Hydro’s grid.

Over the recent years, many changes have been observed throughout the Traditional Territory. Community members have noticed that wildlife is moving away from the community and travelling further up-mountain, salmon numbers are decreasing and are swimming deeper in the Fraser River in search of cooler temperatures and vegetation growth is changing. As well, consistent rainfall has been replaced by long periods of dry weather and unpredictable storms. These local observations are consistent with scientific predictions of how climate change is likely to affect the region. Although drought has not yet affected the community’s water resources, there is substantial concern that they may be threatened as climate change impacts intensify.

In response to these concerning changes within their Territory, Kanaka Bar has undertaken a Community Vulnerability Assessment to better understand how their environment may continue to change, and how these changes may impact key community values and areas of concern.

Understanding Kanaka Bar’s concerns and priorities was the first step in the Vulnerability Assessment process. Together with environmental professionals from Urban Systems, community members gathered at engagement events to ask questions, and express their concerns about climate change and how it would impact community life and well-being.

After priorities were identified, current and future effects of climate change on these areas were studied. Some anticipated changes that emerged from this research were warmer temperatures year-round; less precipitation in the summer but more in the fall, winter, and spring; less snow; more frequent and intense storms events; changes in water resources; continued stress on the salmon population; changes in the availability of traditional foods; and increased risk of forest fire.

Understanding the ways in which Kanaka Bar was vulnerable to climate change has allowed the community to take meaningful steps towards reducing their risks and becoming more resilient by developing an adaptation strategy. Kanaka Bar’s Adaptation Strategy supports their goal of self-sufficiency while increasing their resilience. It maps out short and long term adaptation actions in six priority areas: Water Resources, Forest Fires, Traditional Foods, Access Roads, Supporting Self-Sufficiency and Youth and Community Engagement and Education. These actions range from installing weather monitoring stations in the community, to expanding food production initiatives, to hosting annual workshops on climate change. Together they represent a “Made at Kanaka, by Kanaka for Kanaka” adaption plan that will benefit the community in a holistic way that goes far beyond coping with climate change.

To learn more about Kanaka Bar and the great strides they’re making towards climate resilience and self-sufficiency, visit their website.

Figure 1Kanaka Youth at Morneylun Water Gauging Station

 

Author: Kanaka Bar

On March 28, 2019, a webinar on Eco-Cultural Approaches to Climate Change Adaptation was presented by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (people of the Inlet). This webinar provides an introduction to the TWN Climate Change program, youth stories, and community climate resiliency planning.

We have received permission to share the recorded webinar on this website as it may contain valuable information and insights for other First Nations communities working on climate change projects in Canada.

Click on the image below or click here to start the webinar (length – 1:02:08).

(Note: You may be prompted to download Adobe Connect to watch the video – a link to the download will appear automatically).

Events

Description (from watershedsforum.ca website):

WHAT IS WATERSHEDS 2020?

Join us October 14, 15 & 16 for a 3-day hands-on forum that brings together a diverse of community of water leaders in B.C.—including Indigenous Nations, watershed groups, local and provincial government staff, funders, and the network of practitioners and champions—to build and deepen connections, learn from one another, and explore opportunities for improved watershed decision-making.

Location will be confirmed soon, but be ready to discover a distinct region of B.C to learn from and profile regional watershed issues and initiatives.

WHY WATERSHED GOVERNANCE? WHY NOW?

From record-breaking droughts and floods to conflicts over use and rights, British Columbia’s fresh water is facing increasing threats. Addressing current and looming freshwater challenges requires new partnerships and innovative forms of collaborative governance to respond to the many social and ecological needs of our watersheds.

THE AGENDA

Watersheds 2020 will be shaped by the needs and priorities identified by the water community and offers a chance for deeper understanding of the emerging issues and the opportunities to create change.

Our core programs are starting to come together! Below is a sneak peek at the Watersheds 2020 panels and talks.

  • Water and watershed security the emerging imperative
  • Stories from on-the-ground watershed governance projects
  • Indigenous-led water initiatives
  • UNDRIP, DRIPA, and Indigenous laws
  • Water ethics and cross-cultural values
  • Sustainable funding – lessons and future potential
  • Source to estuary – law, policy, and management
  • Global to local innovators and possibilities
  • Stepping stones to watershed governance – tools and priorities to gain greater influence and strengthen collaborations
  • Global examples – lessons from elsewhere

Watersheds 2020 will also include opportunities for hands-on engagement through capacity-building workshops and field trips.