Concurrent Sessions 2 | Feb 19, 2020 > (CS2-SS) Addressing Flood Risk in Communities and Regions

(CS2-SS) Addressing Flood Risk in Communities and Regions

posted on 1:35 PM, August 15, 2019

Moderator: Mike Simpson

Freedom Space for Rivers: An Economical Approach to Sustainable Management in a Changing Climate

Presenter: Joanna Eyquem

Globally, there has been movement towards more sustainable river management, based on the concept of working with natural processes. This includes giving appropriate space to rivers in urban and infrastructure design, so that natural flooding and erosion can occur, and associated ecosystem services can function. This approach, termed the "Freedom Space approach" in Quebec is in contrast to reactive, localized interventions, which have often served to temporarily displace problems rather than providing long-term solutions.

In this presentation, Joanna Eyquem will outline techniques being used to define the function space required by rivers. This includes use of LiDAR and hydrogeomorphological interpretation to identify fluvial risks, as well as consideration of riparian wetlands. Cost-benefit analysis undertaken for three case studies in Quebec will demonstrate the overall benefit to society of adopting this approach, taking into account the benefits of ecosystem services that are likely to increase watershed resilience to climate change impacts.

Adaptation to Flooding in Mi’kma’ki

Presenters: Alex Cadel and Cheyenne MacDonald

First Nations communities are commonly recognized as being among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Many communities already routinely deal with overland flooding, storm surge and erosion, and these impacts will be further exacerbated in a changing climate due to altered precipitation patterns and sea level rise.

This presentation will discuss how the Climate Action team at the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq has worked with eight Mi’kmaw communities to conduct climate vulnerability assessments, create digital elevation models to examine different flooding scenarios, and develop adaptation strategies to address priority issues. This will include an example of how flood hazard information was used to help band leadership make land use planning decisions for a new school, along with planned coastal monitoring and restoration activities. Presenters will also examine how the Mi’kmaw concepts of Netukulimk and Two-Eyed Seeing drive projects.

Dawson Creek Flood Mitigation: The Shift to Informed Decision-Making

Presenter: Chelsea Mottishaw

Each flood event creates unique opportunities as well as impacts and challenges. In the last decade, the City of Dawson Creek has experienced two large floods which resulted in considerable impacts to infrastructure, residents and the environment. With support from grant funding, the City of Dawson Creek has now committed to an integrated flood management approach, shifting from a reactionary response to flooding to informed decision-making.

This oral presentation will provide an overview of the City’s journey to building resiliency to flood risk through structural and non-structural investments. Achieving effective flood risk reduction requires a holistic watershed approach where staff, emergency management and academic research come together to inform policy and investments.