The City of Winnipeg developed their 4-year Climate Action Plan in 2018 as a framework to address climate change mitigation in a comprehensive and holistic manner that is built on community collaboration. Winnipeg’s plan is very community-focused and it actively encourages community engagement and seeks out partnerships with the Indigenous community, community organizations and conservation districts at every stage of the plan. The plan is made up of seven strategic opportunities each with their own key directives and actions and was created as a long-term commitment to climate adaptation. It demonstrates a unique application of wetland NBCS as a way to reduce the urban heat island effect and it provides forestry NBCS actions that are great examples for any municipality looking to develop their own Urban Forestry plan.
Increase and Preserve Tree Canopy
The Town of Okotoks released a 15-year climate action plan in 2018 as a response to the flooding, wildfires, and hail storms that affected nearby municipalities in the years before. The plan was developed to both lead climate action in the community but also to support residents and businesses in implementing their own climate actions. The plan set goals in eight priority areas using the One Living Planet Framework as a way to integrate the co-benefits of climate actions with other initiatives in the municipality. It uses the municipality’s existing social wellness framework to ensure that the costs and benefits of climate action are fairly distributed within the community and goes so far as to integrate the indicators from the climate action plan into its other municipal planning documents to help monitor progress and achieve the plan’s targets. Okotoks is a great example of how a municipality can incorporate NBCS into their management plans and policies.
Ensure no net loss to Okotoks' urban forest canopy cover over time
Develop and implement a town-wide green network strategy
The Township of Huron-Kinloss developed their Climate Change and Energy Plan in 2020. The plan is divided into 9 areas and contains 41 short-, medium-, and long-term actions designed to help adapt to increasing precipitation, temperatures, and rising sea levels. The climate change and energy plan describes the intention behind each action and lays out what is currently being done about it, develops supporting actions to help achieve the primary action’s goal and provides clear monitoring metrics for evaluation. As the Township is located on the shores of Lake Huron its coastal actions make great examples of NBCS adaptation for lakeside municipalities.
Protect and enhance riverbanks, streambanks, and shorelines from the impacts of flooding and erosion
Enhance the resiliency of the Township’s forests and natural landscape
Improve and support agricultural resilience to climate change
Incorporate use of green infrastructure to manage the impacts of climate change
The Town of Churchill created their Climate Change Adaptation Strategy in 2020 as a framework and strategy for building cultural and traditional resilience, responding to the risks to infrastructure and the economy, vulnerabilities, and ensuring accessible clean lands and waters. This plan is a great example of NBCS in a Northern and rural municipality as it addresses the unique challenges that Northern communities face. The plan clearly identifies seven key areas for climate adaptation, considers their co-benefits and breaks them down into concrete actions for implementation. The Suburban and Urban NBCS actions included in the strategy demonstrate how even small-scale, relatively low-cost, actions can have positive impacts towards climate adaptation.
This climate change adaptation strategy effectively demonstrates how a municipality can address equity within climate adaptation for marginalized communities. Churchill developed their plan with an eye towards Reconciliation, engaging with a Climate Adaptation working group that included a diverse group of stakeholders. The strategy places an emphasis on Indigenous stakeholders recognizing that the Indigenous way of life is tied to the land and there is a cultural and traditional reliance on the natural environment that is increasingly affected by climate change.
Incorporate green infrastructure when possible
Implement a stormwater master plan
Implement an Invasive Species Program
Implement an Invasive Species Program (Protect the coastal region and watercourses through invasive species management of mussels)
The City of Kawartha Lakes developed the Kawartha Lakes Healthy Environment Plan in 2019 as a follow-up to their integrated community sustainability plan. It was created as a comprehensive community-wide action plan with goals to help the city adapt and plan for the unexpected effects of climate change. The plan provides a rather detailed list of NBCS actions for agriculture designed to help increase carbon sequestration. It also supplies actions for forestry intended to increase the city’s canopy cover while ensuring that green spaces are equitably accessible for all residents.
Implement best practices within agriculture management systems, which improve efficiency and resilience to climate impacts
Enhance the protection of natural assets and ecosystems, while expanding the City’s natural capital and building climate resilience in the environment
Develop and implement a community-wide tree management and resilience program to increase tree canopy and protect existing canopy from climate and weather-related risks
Increase the use of green infrastructure and reduce hardscaping to improve stormwater management, reduce the urban heat island effect and other associated benefits
Manage shoreline erosion
The City of Edmundston, New Brunswick created their Climate Change Adaptation Plan (Plan D’adaptation aux Changements Climatiques pour la Ville d’Edmundston) in 2020 to improve resilience to intense precipitation events and frequent snowfalls, as well as to reduce the increasing risks associated with flooding, freezing and thawing, and coastal erosion. The plan is a framework for developing risk assessments and adaptation actions. It focuses on long-term adaptation solutions for both current and future effects of climate change. Edmundston’s plan is highlighted because it effectively uses place-sensitive nature-based climate solutions based on up-to-date climate data and flood mapping. For each of the five key areas highlighted in the climate change adaptation plan, the city provides a detailed summary of the challenges, goals, and current actions that are being undertaken. The plan successfully incorporates planning, policy, and by-laws into its recommended future actions and encourages collaboration with neighbouring jurisdictions and non-government organizations in its implementation.
Incorporating green infrastructure in stormwater management
The Town of Caledon updated their Community Climate Change Action Plan in 2021 recognizing the speed at which climate change has accelerated since 2011 meant that they needed to be more ambitious in adapting and mitigating the effects of climate change. The plan’s five action categories are based on local needs brought up by community stakeholders during public engagement consultations. Caledon has a great example of a climate action plan that utilizes zoning and planning policies to enact change across regions and provides key examples of how a municipality can tackle NBCS in agriculture even though it often falls outside of their jurisdiction.
Protect Caledon’s agricultural lands
Restore and enhance natural features on public and private land
Promote and expand the use of green infrastructure
Protect Caledon’s natural lands
Upgrade stormwater plans and practices to reduce risks from extreme weather events
Maintain and expand the tree canopy
The City of Vernon developed their Climate Action Plan in 2021 and takes an integrated approach to climate adaptation to address each of the community’s targets. Vernon’s plan has eight focus areas designed to address climate adaptation and mitigation according to the community’s specific needs and challenges. This plan highlights opportunities for collaboration between municipalities, their residents, and local organizations as each group was provided with reasonable actions for each goal that they could take to make the plan successful.
Continue protection of biodiversity, riparian areas and environmentally sensitive areas in a changing climate
The urban forest is prepared and protected from climate change impacts and the number of trees is increased
Incorporate green infrastructure into storm water management
Integrate climate change considerations into the planning and operations of municipals parks, naturalized areas, and public open spaces
The City of Prince Geoge released Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for the Community of Prince George in 2020 as a follow-up to their 2009 climate adaptation strategy. While their old plan focused on forests and flooding, their 2020 strategy places an emphasis on addressing the city’s increasing risk from wildfires and flooding. The municipality’s strategy is a noteworthy example of a detailed climate action plan as it integrates traditional ecological knowledge into the plan and sets actions that a municipality has the capacity to feasibly implement at the municipal level. The plan includes a well-thought-out list of associated climate change risks, potential partnerships and funding for each goal, and potential co-benefits from each goal. The plan is also a great example of coastal, ocean, suburban and urban, and wetland NBCS.
Assess slope stability and erosion hazards and implement slope stabilization practices as required
Promote and expand the use of green infrastructure and nature-based solutions for stormwater management
Identify and support initiatives that address the impacts of extreme heat and warmer weather
Support local farmers in developing and implementing sustainable and resilient management practices (pg. 34)
Assess need for an updated Urban Forest Strategy
Protect and enhance riparian zones through better protection of river and creek shorelines to better manage stormwater runoff and improve stream health