Key climate-change vulnerabilities identified for three St. John River communities

The Community Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment, led by WWF-Canada, includes adaptation options for Woodstock, Hartland and Florenceville-Bristol

FREDERICTON, Jan. 19, 2017 /CNW/ - Power outages, groundwater contamination and telecommunications disruptions are the top three climate-change hazards identified by New Brunswick municipalities in a Community Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (CCCVA) released today by WWF-Canada.

Already, communities in the St. John River watershed are experiencing the harmful impacts of climate change, including an increase in extreme flooding, blizzards, ice and wind storms.

The vulnerability assessment was started in 2014 by WWF-Canada in partnership with the Western Valley Regional Service Commission, and completed with the communities of Woodstock, Hartland and Florenceville-Bristol. It identifies the following:

  • Community-level climate-change risks, including sewage overflows, flooding, damage to water-delivery lines, delayed emergency-response times, basement backups and damage to businesses.
  • Community infrastructure and services most sensitive to the impacts of a changing climate.
  • Options for adaptation, such as locating new water resources, building flood barriers, ensuring communities have backup power and community charging stations, and considering wildlife resources and habitat (including soils) in all land-use planning decisions.

Why it's important 

  • Though climate change is a global problem, minimizing impacts starts at the community level.
  • For the first time on a freshwater ecosystem in New Brunswick, communities have come together to work on climate-change vulnerability.
  • Assessing local vulnerabilities, as well as identifying capacity challenges and strengths, provides a critical foundation on which climate adaptation efforts will be based.

Simon J. Mitchell, senior specialist, St. John River, WWF-Canada, says:
"Climate change will have increasingly harmful consequences for wildlife and biodiversity in the St. John River watershed. Aquatic ecosystems will change as water levels decrease and water temperatures rise during the summer months. Algae blooms are expected to increase and some species and ecosystems may be reduced or disappear altogether. By assessing vulnerabilities, risk and costs to communities, adaptations can be made to bolster the integrity of the watershed against climate change, thereby helping wildlife in the process."

WWF-Canada and the Western Valley Regional Service Commission will continue to work together to develop climate-change adaptation solutions based on the findings of assessment.

To see the results of the Community Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment, please visit: http://www.wwf.ca/newsroom/reports/freshwater/.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca

SOURCE WWF-Canada

For further information: Rowena Calpito, communications specialist, media@wwfcanada.org, +1 416-489-4567 ext 7267

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