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Okanagan Agricultural Adaptation Projects - Harmony Bjarnson, CAI & Kellie Garcia, OBWB

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Okanagan Agricultural Adaptation Projects - Harmony Bjarnson, CAI & Kellie Garcia, OBWB

  1. 1. climate action resources for the agriculture & food sector in BC | www.BCAgClimateAction.ca
  2. 2. climate action resources for the agriculture & food sector in BC | www.BCAgClimateAction.ca www.oiso.ca
  3. 3. climate action resources for the agriculture & food sector in BC | www.BCAgClimateAction.ca https://www.bcagclimateaction.ca/library/wildfire-preparedness/
  4. 4. climate action resources for the agriculture & food sector in BC | www.BCAgClimateAction.ca Sign up for emergency notifications at: www.emergency.rdos.bc.ca/ Regional District of the Okanagan and Similkameen Agricultural Wildfire Communications
  5. 5. Okanagan Agricultural Water Supply Communications Project Presentation at BC Agricultural Climate Adaptation Research Workshop December 2, 2019
  6. 6. Project purpose Help water suppliers provide agricultural customers with information about their water supply – “early and often”
  7. 7. Why improve communications? • Each water supplier has unique sources, infrastructure, restrictions, and users • Regular updates on water availability can assist in decision-making on the farm
  8. 8. 2019 Participants
  9. 9. www.obwb.ca/alerts
  10. 10. Messages to expect • Early season updates on snow pack, reservoir levels, summer weather forecasts • Water supply updates • Changes in water restriction stages and responses • Irrigation turn on/turn off dates • Water-use efficiency tips and resources
  11. 11. www.obwb.ca/ag

Editor's Notes


  • Phase 1: Start-up funding for proof of concept

    Create a centralized system to share information pertaining to invasive species identification and management tailored to agricultural needs
    Phase 2: Now underway

  • The template and guide are designed to be used together. For anyone wanting a copy of the guide (to compliment the template that has been provided today) – it is available on our website.
    The guide provides very thorough instructions and you can work through it on your own (without an expert to help you!) – but since it is helping you to develop a very comprehensive wildfire preparedness and mitigation plan, be aware that it will take a bit of time and energy to work through.
    Maybe you want to partner up with some other producers and work through it together – holding each other accountable and trouble shooting each other questions – or maybe you live on the interface and just need to put your head down and do it!
    Even reading through the template and guide and starting to think about the topics of highest relevance to your farm will make you better prepared in an emergency.
  • Agricultural producers face unique challenges during wildfire events – both when faced with evacuation alerts and orders, and also when wildfires are in the area but when there is no immediate threat. Producers may have livestock to relocate or may be required to make preparations to shelter livestock in place; producers may have to make decisions to move harvest dates forward (if possible) or to move stored (or freshly picked) product off the farm to a safe location. Some operations may also have large numbers of staff and/or visitors to consider. In all cases clear, concise information about wildfire status will ease stress and enable producers to make better choices regarding farm management.
     
    The Discussion Document Planning and Information Exchange for Wildfire Impact Reduction (2018) identified issues and potential solutions associated with communication before, during and after wildfires. While recognizing the complexities of wildfire response, the report highlights the need to move from reactionary to proactive communications. Pre-season communications (between response agencies and producers) can play a vital role in ensuring that producers are able to react quickly and effectively to a wildfire threat and communications are an important element in reducing wildfire impacts to the agriculture sector. When wildfires are not actively occurring in an area, both government agencies and producer organizations are better able to prepare for, and participate in, processes to enhance and improve lines of communication. In addition, if pre-season communication becomes an annual regional activity, it can be continuously improved upon over time and can evolve to address emerging and complex issues.
     
    This pilot project will partner with the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) to bring producers and key response agencies (e.g. BCWS, AGRI, FLNRORD) together for information exchange and relationship building. The meetings will include representatives from all major commodity groups and will take place in advance of the wildfire season (i.e. February 2019 & 2020), with a one-off post-season ‘debrief’ in fall of 2019.
  • To provide consistent, data-driven, timely and accurate information about the local water supply and the expected/required reductions in water use.
  • 8 water suppliers (serving ~2700 agricultural water users)
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