MISSISSAUGA – The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sounded the alarm in their recent report on climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, released February 28. The report anticipates widespread adverse impacts to people and nature from more frequent and intense extreme events caused by climate change while noting that adaptation efforts can reduce impacts to communities most at risk.
Monitoring data from Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) is already revealing that local communities are trending toward an increase in extreme heat days, exceeding the normal annual number in nine of the past 10 years. In alignment with IPCC’s findings, extreme heat in the Credit River Watershed will likely increase the risk of heat-related illnesses and hospitalizations, with vulnerable populations most affected, highlighting the need for targeted adaptation.
The Peel Climate Change Partnership (PCCP) identified a neighbourhood in the City of Brampton as having high vulnerability to extreme heat. With the support of our partners and funders, CVC’s Community Tree Project is helping enhance the community’s resilience and capacity to act on climate change. Since the start of 2021, 114 virtual and in-person events have engaged 2,900 people in the community and another 17,000 people were reached through targeted mailouts. The project has so far planted 2,800 trees and shrubs to increase shaded area and naturally cool the community. Learn more at cvc.ca/CommunityTreeProject.
Other climate change impacts like flooding are also a concern locally. Flooding from more frequent and intense rain events is expected to increase as the climate changes. The July 2013 storm and associated flooding highlighted many social and infrastructure vulnerabilities increasing the risk to local communities.
As part of the PCCP, CVC developed a software tool to help municipalities identify vulnerable areas and critical infrastructure at risk of flooding. This can help municipalities target resources, emergency planning and outreach. The tool compares the return on investment of stormwater solutions under different climate scenarios, empowering municipalities and property owners to make informed decisions.
“From extreme heat to increased frequency of flooding, we’re beginning to see the impacts of climate change at the local level, impacting people’s quality of life in very real ways,” says Quentin Hanchard, Chief Administration Officer for Credit Valley Conservation. “CVC is working with our partners and watershed residents to identify areas at greatest risk and plan adaptation measures accordingly.”
With our municipal partners, CVC is adapting to climate change in other ways by:
- Improving flood forecasting and warning to be more accurate and responsive.
- Providing access to weather and water level readings in real-time.
- Providing flood messaging and alerts to 3,800 (and growing) Alertable App users.
- Creating and restoring habitat to improve resilience to climate change impacts.
- Engaging and educating private homeowners, farmers, businesses, institutions and neighbourhoods.
Residents play an important role in adapting to climate change, often through simple actions such as:
- Planting native trees, shrubs and flowers in their yard and gardens.
- Engaging with elected officials at all levels of government about climate change.
- Joining CVC and other agencies at educational webinars, tree plantings and other neighbourhood events to get involved in local action.
- Donating to local conservation projects through the Credit Valley Conservation Foundation.
Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) is a local conservation authority established by the Ontario government in 1954 to protect, restore and enhance the natural environment of the Credit River Watershed. The watershed is the area of land where all rainfall, snowmelt and runoff drain into the Credit River and then Lake Ontario. CVC creates connections between people and nature, knowledge and action that inspires a deep appreciation for the role of nature in keeping people connected, healthy and happy. CVC is a member of Conservation Ontario.
Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications
Credit Valley Conservation
905-670-1615 ext. 385