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Winnipeg, Manitoba

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. 

Wetlands

  • Preservation and expansion of wetlands support mitigating air pollution and reducing the urban heat island effect (pg. 25)
  • Join the watershed management authority and conservation districts program in Manitoba with the aim of helping to re-establish extensive wetlands that historically surrounded Winnipeg (pg. 54)

Forestry

Increase and Preserve Tree Canopy

  • Continue and explore opportunities to expand the Winnipeg Releaf Program (pg. 54)
  • Continue partnership with the University of Winnipeg and Trees Winnipeg to map the City’s canopy cover and to determine canopy cover targets for the city overall and for various land use categories (pg. 54)
  • Prepare an Urban Forestry Strategic Plan that includes key indicators based on public health and climate mitigation considerations. The Strategic Plan should recognize and consider different strategies for Winnipeg’s diverse communities, including new, developing and mature neighbourhoods (pg. 54)
  • Require a minimum threshold of trees in new neighbourhoods based on development agreement parameters (pg. 54)
  • Preservation and expansion of urban forests support mitigating air pollution and reducing the urban heat island effect (pg. 25)

Okotoks, Alberta

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. 

Wetlands

  • Develop a Town wetlands policy that will bolster flood mitigation and maximize ecosystem services (pg. 29)
  • Increase utilization of natural areas and open spaces for water capture and storage (pg. 32)

Forestry

Ensure no net loss to Okotoks' urban forest canopy cover over time

  • Incorporate adaptive management planning into the Urban Forest Management plan to allow flexibility in managing invasive, threatening insects and diseases (pg. 26)

Agriculture

  • Lobby provincial and federal governments to reduce pesticide use on agricultural lands for biodiversity and watershed protection (pg. 26)
  • Encourage agricultural sector crop diversification and the use of drought-resistant crops (pg. 27)

Suburban/Urban

Develop and implement a town-wide green network strategy

  • Establish naturalized open space and green infrastructure targets for all new neighbourhood developments and Town-owned properties (pg. 26)
  • Work with current property owners in flood prone areas to protect, raise or relocate vulnerable structures (pg. 29)
  • Develop incentives for residents and businesses who plant native vegetation and shift away from traditional lawns (pg. 32)
  • Improve the permeability of surfaces on your property to decrease runoff into storm drains (pg. 32)
  • Help maintain green infrastructure such as rain gardens in your neighbourhood (pg. 32)
  • Develop incentives for residents and businesses who plant native vegetation and shift away from traditional lawns. (pg. 32)
  • Designate applicable parks, naturalized spaces, and view sheds as municipal heritage properties (including cultural landscapes and unique landscape features) (pg. 27)

Coastal/Oceans

  • Develop and implement a river valley protection and enhancement policy (pg. 26)
  • Introduce wider setbacks for riparian and environmentally significant areas (pg. 26)

Huron-Kinloss, Ontario

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. 

Coastal/Oceans

Protect and enhance riverbanks, streambanks, and shorelines from the impacts of flooding and erosion

  • Improve flood-prone riverbanks by implementing natural, rural stormwater management measures upstream (pg. 34)
  • Promote and support dune development along backshore of beach and include planting dune grasses and sand fencing to induce settling of wind-blown sands (pg. 34/57)
  • Improve sediment and erosion control from construction activities through improved inspections, reporting, and operational controls (pg. 34)
  • Buffering watercourses using trees, shrubs, and hay (pg. 56)
  • Restoring river valleys and flood plain (pg. 56)

Forestry

Enhance the resiliency of the Township’s forests and natural landscape

  • Explore and expand tree planting, streetscaping, and other strategies to increase shade and cooling, including the planting of strategic plant species (e.g. native grasses, shrubs, trees, and, pollinators, etc.) on private and public land (pg. 34)
  • Develop an invasive species response strategy, including funding for these efforts and guidance materials for private landowners (pg. 34)

Wetlands

  • Promoting wetland restoration development (pg. 57)

Agriculture

Improve and support agricultural resilience to climate change

  • Investigate innovative drainage techniques for managing flooding and runoff issues on agricultural lands (pg. 36)
  • Using cover crops (pg. 56)

Suburban/Urban

Incorporate use of green infrastructure to manage the impacts of climate change

  • Encourage the incorporation of Low Impact Development (LID) features and green infrastructure into new development and redevelopment projects (pg. 34)

Churchill, Manitoba

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.

Suburban/Urban

Incorporate green infrastructure when possible

  • Use green infrastructure instead of traditional grey infrastructure to temporarily store or slow down rainwater runoff to ease the burden on ageing infrastructure (pg. 47)

Implement a stormwater master plan

  • Connect downspouts and encourage the use of French drains, dry wells, bioretention stormwater ponds or rain gardens to enhance drainage, promote use of native plants (pg. 49)
  • Create a drainage strategy to contend with permafrost degradation (pg. 49)

Forestry

Implement an Invasive Species Program

  • Ensure tree and plant species established are native where possible, diverse, disease resistant and have high climate adaptability (pg. 51)

Coastal/Oceans

Implement an Invasive Species Program (Protect the coastal region and watercourses through invasive species management of mussels)

  • Create awareness that Zebra mussels are progressing northward through Manitoba’s waterways, they have the potential to clog drinking water infrastructure and other supports (pg. 51)

Kawartha Lakes, Ontario

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. 

Agriculture

Implement best practices within agriculture management systems, which improve efficiency and resilience to climate impacts

  • Use no-till and cover crops to control agricultural run-off, conserve water, reduce pollution, and prevent soil erosion and sedimentation (pg. 19)
  • Increase the use of tile drainage systems or controlled drainage systems and/or additional sustainable water management practices (such as water storage) to improve water use efficiency, conservation, and drainage (pg. 19)
  • Pursue other innovative agricultural practices (e.g. precision farming)  (pg. 19)
  • Facilitate forums, training sessions, and capacity-building activities for local farms on best practices, and new/emerging practices and technologies, to increase soil carbon sequestration and storage including:
    • Improved cropland management, including crop selection and rotation, nutrient management, tillage/residue management, and water management (including irrigation, drainage), agroforestry, etc. (pg. 24)
    • Restoration of degraded lands (using erosion control, organic and nutrient amendments), conversion of marginal farmland to perennial grasses or trees, and restoration of wetlands (pg. 24)

Forestry

Enhance the protection of natural assets and ecosystems, while expanding the City’s natural capital and building climate resilience in the environment

  • Expand naturalization programs and integrate these within existing planning processes to increase the number of trees, parks and green spaces, ensuring equitable access for all residents, particularly vulnerable populations (pg. 48)
  • Update the identification and evaluation of natural assets, green spaces, and natural features to quantify climate change risks, using Ecological Land Classification data, for example. Use this information to restore and protect the features and functions of the natural environment, prioritizing highly sensitive and/or valuable areas (pg. 48)

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

  • Develop an Urban Forestry Plan, which guides the planning and development of the urban forest canopy (pg. 51)
  • Protect the existing urban tree canopy through the development of a Tree Inventory and Preservation Plan and/or tree by-law (pg. 51)
  • Work with conservation authorities to quantify existing tree cover and trends over time, as per Environmental Land Classification (pg. 51)
  • Conduct additional research into urban tree canopy to identify areas in urban boundaries where planting should occur, and conduct ongoing management of the existing tree inventory (pg. 51)
  • Use City by-laws, standards, and permitting processes to optimize soil and root growth conditions for shade trees on public and private property (e.g. soil quality, quantity and moisture content), particularly for new developments and their lots (pg. 51)
  • Ensure species and location selection criteria in the tree planting strategies reflect future climate projections and any urban heat island effect mapping to improve shade coverage (e.g. planting large shade trees in priority heat island areas) (pg. 51)
  • Promote and increase planting of native tree species or resilience species (e.g. salt-tolerant trees) through initiatives such as community plantings programs and subsidies for plantings on private property (pg. 51)
  • Consider planting edible tree species to promote local food security (pg. 51)
  • Undertake proactive tree monitoring and maintenance to lessen damage during and after extreme weather events (pg. 51)

Suburban/Urban

Increase the use of green infrastructure and reduce hardscaping to improve stormwater management, reduce the urban heat island effect and other associated benefits

  • Increase the implementation of low-impact development and green infrastructure for stormwater management on public and private property, buildings, and roads in high-risk areas (pg. 70)
  • Continue to encourage developers to demonstrate how they have incorporated energy efficiency, climate change adaptation and green infrastructure (i.e. green and/or cool roofs, low impact development (LID) landscaping, permeable pavement, and tree and native species plantings) measures into new builds (pg. 28)
  • Require green infrastructure to be integrated (where feasible) in all new city-owned developments (pg. 35)
  • Integrate green infrastructure into community planning and street design to mimic natural habitat and functions whenever possible and prioritize areas that are vulnerable to heat and flooding (pg. 36)
  • Continue to create and preserve pollinator habitat and support healthy pollinator populations (pg. 48)

Coastal/Oceans

Manage shoreline erosion

  • Pursue shoreline protection along lakes and streams and erosion control across the landscape (pg. 48)
  • Acquire and manage ecologically sensitive areas using tools such as easements, buffers, and by-laws (pg. 48)

Edmundston, New Brunswick

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.  

Wetlands

  • Protect and rehabilitate key wetlands so they can retain water and recharge aquifers (pg. 20)

Suburban/Urban

Incorporating green infrastructure in stormwater management

  • Reduce impermeable asphalt surfaces and establish targets for removing impermeable surfaces each year (pg. 19)
  • “Green” development of the city (e.g., tree planting), promoting landscaping that uses native plants to reduce runoff and irrigation needs (pg. 20)
  • Include techniques such as creating swales, small naturalized retention ponds, and rain gardens in land development plans (pg. 20)
  • Use low-impact development strategies to reduce runoff (pg. 20)
  • Work with the North-West Regional Service Commission (CSRNO) and neighbouring jurisdictions (Local Service Districts) to create a watershed management and water quality management plan (pg. 20)
  • Work with non-profit groups to conduct inventories of natural assets, perform riparian rehabilitation and educate the public (pg. 21)

Coastal/Oceans

  • Encourage buffer zones along watercourses and maintain floodplains (pg. 20)

Caledon, Ontario

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. 

Agriculture

Protect Caledon’s agricultural lands

  • Develop an agriculture strategy to help farmers adapt to changing climate conditions and access new opportunities (pg. 57)
  • Support agricultural best management practices that improve soil health, minimize impacts on local ecological systems, reduce runoff and erosion, and improve adaptive capacity (pg. 57)
  • Enhance protection of agricultural lands, natural features, and water resources through planning and zoning policies (pg. 57)

Wetlands

Restore and enhance natural features on public and private land

  • Expand restoration efforts on private land (residential, commercial, rural, and marginally productive agricultural), including tree planting, wetland restoration, stream rehabilitation, etc (pg. 58)
  • Increase tree planting and restoration of wetlands, streams, and meadows on public lands including Town-owned Parks, Conservation Areas, public right of ways, and other areas (pg. 58)

Suburban/Urban

Promote and expand the use of green infrastructure

  • Increase the amount of green space and permeable surface incorporated into all new communities to provide green infrastructure, stormwater management, and recreation services (pg. 72)
  • Incorporate green infrastructure and natural assets into the Asset Management Plan by identifying and evaluating Town-owned and community assets and developing management plans (pg. 89)

Protect Caledon’s natural lands

  • Create an Open Space Strategy for parks and green space in Caledon that considers future climate conditions in land acquisition, as well as park development and management (pg. 57)
  • Increase the viability of urban street trees to reduce the impacts of extreme heat and improve water retention (pg. 72)

Upgrade stormwater plans and practices to reduce risks from extreme weather events

  • Update the Town's Stormwater Management Master Plan to improve resilience to climate impacts like flooding through green infrastructure (pg. 63)
  • Incentivize lot-level stormwater retention and discourage increases in impervious surfaces through zoning and by-laws. (pg. 63)

Forestry

Maintain and expand the tree canopy

  • Explore a tree protection by-law to prevent loss of the town's tree canopy and provide guidelines for tree replacement where appropriate (pg. 57)
  • Expand restoration efforts on private land (residential, commercial, rural, and marginally productive agricultural), including tree planting, wetland restoration, stream rehabilitation, etc (pg. 58)
  • Increase tree planting and restoration of wetlands, streams, and meadows on public lands including Town-owned Parks, Conservation Areas, public right of ways, and other areas (pg. 58)
  • Review the Woodland Conservation By-Law and explore options to introduce similar protection for individual trees in residential areas. (pg. 80)
  • Establish park management procedures that enhance climate resiliency, including selecting climate resilient trees and plant species, reviewing procedures, and training staff (pg. 80)
  • Review and enhance the Town's Tree Seedling Program to encourage more residents to plant trees, particularly in priority areas (pg. 81)

Vernon, British Columbia

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.

Wetlands

Continue protection of biodiversity, riparian areas and environmentally sensitive areas in a changing climate

  • Preserve existing riparian habitat and wetlands through partnerships, zoning, and improvement of the implementation of the Environmental Management Strategy (including review of the Development Permit Exemptions) (Appendix pg. 158)
  • Implement aquatic and riparian habitat restoration projects (pg. 158)
  • Improve functioning of green infrastructure and natural assets (e.g. wetlands) to improve the water quality of drainage-receiving water bodies (pg. 162)

Forestry

The urban forest is prepared and protected from climate change impacts and the number of trees is increased

  • Create an Urban Forest Management Plan using a climate lens (pg. 159)
  • Protect and expand the urban forest by developing policies and increasing incentives to protect existing trees and plant new trees (pg. 159)
  • Partner with relevant organizations to collaborate on invasive species and pest vulnerability management (pg. 30)
  • Prevent habitat fragmentation by protecting a comprehensive network of corridors and large natural areas (pg. 158)
  • Improve tree maintenance for healthy tree canopy including proactive maintenance for windthrow and breakage, identify new pests and diseases to monitor for, identify the tree species that will flourish under future climate and develop a tree list for public planting (pg. 159)

Suburban/Urban

Incorporate green infrastructure into storm water management

  • Require stormwater management plans that take extreme weather events and flood mapping into consideration at time of development permit for all multifamily developments (pg. 162)
  • Promoting rain barrel use and xeriscaping on public and private lands (pg. 157)
  • Update City bylaws (e.g. zoning, subdivision service and landscaping bylaw) to encourage on-site rainwater harvesting, xeriscaping, and green infrastructure (to retain and absorb rainfall on their properties). (APP32)

Integrate climate change considerations into the planning and operations of municipals parks, naturalized areas, and public open spaces

  • Maintain or enhance unique habitats on your property and plant bee-friendly landscaping (pg. 29)
  • Monitor and remove invasive species in City parks and municipal lands (pg. 159)

Prince George, British Columbia

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. 

Coastal/Oceans

Assess slope stability and erosion hazards and implement slope stabilization practices as required 

  • Explore opportunities and possibly develop a pilot project to retain moisture and provide nutrients (e.g. biosolids) to enhance vegetation growth on steep slopes (pg. 38)
  • Develop and implement Erosion & Sediment Control Bylaw or permitting process for private development (pg. 38)
  • Identify priority local watersheds with sedimentation issues, erosion, high fish values, and implement restoration measures where applicable (pg. 45)
  • Choose low-impact erosion protection measures over hard surface erosion protection measures whenever possible (pg. 49)

Suburban/Urban

Promote and expand the use of green infrastructure and nature-based solutions for stormwater management 

  • Create a rain garden pilot project and demonstration garden and evaluate effectiveness and complement with public education signage (pg. 40)
  • Investigate green infrastructure alternatives (e.g. permeable pavement, bioswales, rain gardens, daylighting) to determine applicability for local stormwater management (pg. 40)
  • Perform a pilot investigation into the effectiveness of bio-swales for a cold climate in areas of the City where the soils are fine-grained (pg. 40)

Identify and support initiatives that address the impacts of extreme heat and warmer weather

  • Update Subdivision and Development Servicing Bylaw and other bylaws to require shade trees in new development, and in City streets, parks and buildings to reduce cooling loads on buildings. (pg. 33)
  • Encourage residents to plant deciduous trees in their yard to absorb carbon, provide home shading in the warm summer months and mitigate wildfire risk (pg. 49)

Agriculture

Support local farmers in developing and implementing sustainable and resilient management practices (pg. 34)

Forestry

Assess need for an updated Urban Forest Strategy

  • Expand urban canopy in parks and playgrounds (pg. 49)
  • Set goals for tree canopy cover (pg. 49)
  • Enforce infractions under the Tree Protection Bylaw (pg. 49)
  • Consider expanding Tree Planting Programs (pg. 49)
  • Review Tree Protection bylaws to prevent widespread tree and vegetation removal (pg. 49)
  • Plant tree species that are more resilient to a changing climate and pose less of a fire risk (pg. 46-47)
  • Prioritize the preservation of intact forests and environmentally sensitive areas; tree planting programs (pg. 48)

Wetlands

Protect and enhance riparian zones through better protection of river and creek shorelines to better manage stormwater runoff and improve stream health

  • Consider expanding Riparian Protection Development Permit areas to include wetlands and other water features (pg. 49)
  • Purchase land when applicable within riparian areas, including property along the river, urban creeks and wetlands, and dedicate as park space or natural assets (pg. 49)
  • Evaluate opportunities to re-naturalize stream systems, wetlands and riparian areas when possible (pg. 49)