Working with Nature

 

Working with Nature

Harnessing the power of natural infrastructure to increase municipalities’ flood and drought resiliency

The Issue / Idea

Every municipality has “natural infrastructure,” but what is it, where is it, and how does it relate to flood and drought risk?

The Project

The Working With Nature toolkit was created to help municipalities catalogue their natural infrastructure, and then develop a prioritized plan for better using it to mitigate flood and drought risk. A Primer document was developed to provide a starting point for municipalities to understand the type of information, data, and programs available to inform and support flood and drought mitigation planning.

This free toolkit provides the materials and directions for a municipality to self-navigate through workshops, worksheets, and ultimately a living Workbook. In the process, a municipality will address Goals and Principles, Risks and Hazards, Natural Infrastructure, Actions, and Policy Development.


Working with Nature Toolkit Website

Working with Nature Webinar Slide Deck

Municipal Flood and Drought Action Planning Primer

Adapting to Flooding: An Adapt-action Summary Report

Adapting to Water Scarcity: An Adapt-action Summary Report

 

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Status

Project was completed in

2019

Supporters

Government of Alberta’s Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program

Town of Cochrane

Urban Ecoroofs

 

Urban Ecoroofs

Exploring the impacts ecoroofs may have on climate change resilience in Alberta municipalities

The Issue / Idea

What impacts can ecoroofs have on climate change resilience in Alberta municipalities?

The Project

As cities develop, vegetation is typically replaced with non-permeable, non-vegetated surfaces. Ecoroofs are one way to provide some of the lost ecosystem services in urban centres including improved stormwater management (both quantity and quality), better regulation of building temperatures, reduced urban heat island effects, improved air quality, and increased urban wildlife habitat and biodiversity (Oberndorfer et al., 2007). Some jurisdictions refer to ecoroofs as a ‘no-regrets’ climate adaptation measure (Mees, Driessen, Runhaar, & Stamatelos, 2013) because they serve multiple societal goals.

Between 2017 and 2019, the Miistakis Institute partnered with the City of Edmonton, Environmental Strategies team to explore the impacts ecoroofs may have on climate change resilience in the city.


Ecoroof Guide for Municipalities

Ecoroof Fact Sheet

Edmonton Ecoroof Initiative for Climate Change Resiliency: Ecoroof Function Research

Jurisdictional Review

Edmonton Ecoroof Case Studies

Edmonton Ecoroof Website

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

City of Edmonton, Environmental Strategies

Status

This project was

 completed in 2019

Supporters

City of Edmonton

Alberta Ecotrust Foundation

Edmonton Community Foundation

Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Putting Beavers to Work for Watershed Resiliency and Restoration

 

Putting Beavers to Work for Watershed Resiliency and Restoration

A collaborative multi-year project that is focused on facilitating coexistence with beavers so their benefits as a watershed resiliency and restoration tool are realized.

The Issue / Idea

How can municipalities coexist with beavers for their watershed benefits?

The Project

Beavers, Canada’s national animal, provide many valuable ecosystem services including storage of water during droughts and flooding, creation of habitat for a variety of species, and improvement of water quality. These benefits allow for the increased watershed resiliency and restoration across the landscape. Land owners, including municipalities, can come into conflict with beavers as they can cause damage by flooding roads, plugging culverts or taking down prized trees, which can result in the removal of beavers from the landscape.

This project is a partnership between the Miistakis Institute and Cows and Fish Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society and aims to increase the coexistence of humans and beavers. By engaging with land owners and land managers this project strives to decrease conflict with beavers, foster social tolerance, and heighten understanding of the benefits that beavers provide us and the ecosystem as a whole. The project aims to achieve these goals by researching new coexistence tools, hosting hands-on coexistence workshops, and creating information materials and videos to increase awareness.

Below is a selection of resources specific to municipalities.


Webinar: Understanding Beavers as a Natural Infrastructure Solution

Slide Deck: Understanding Beavers as a Natural Infrastructure Solution

Beaver Coexistence Tools

Cost Benefit Analysis of Beaver Coexistence Tools

Putting Beavers to Work Website

Coexisting with Beavers Part 1: Municipal District of Foothills

Beaver Symposium


Presentation: The King County Beaver Working Group: Utopia, Reality, and Liberating Structures

 


Tour: Foothills County Beaver Mitigation Projects

 


Presentation: Managing to Live with Beavers

Organization

These assessments were undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Cows and Fish – Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society

Status

Began in 2012

2012 – on-going

Supporters

Alberta Environment and Parks’ Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program (WRRP)

The Calgary Foundation

Alberta Ecotrust Foundation

Past funders

Municipal EcoToolkit: Tools for Maintaining your Natural Systems

 

Municipal EcoToolkit: Tools for Maintaining your Natural Systems

A resource for Alberta municipalities seeking to maintain their natural infrastructure systems

The Issue / Idea

How can a municipality maintain their natural infrastructure?

The Project

The Municipal EcoToolkit was created by the Miistakis Institute as a resource for Alberta municipalities seeking to maintain their natural infrastructure systems. It is not intended to be a prescriptive statement on what must be done. It is intended to help generate awareness, creativity, collaboration, and questions, and assist those people doing the challenging work of maintaining our natural systems.

To make this toolkit, we focused in such things as law/bylaws, policy directives, inventories or datasets, protective designations, maps, management constraints, proactive strategies, staff positions, guidelines, legal designations, education/communication resources, workshops, case studies, financial analyses, technologies, restorative actions, etc., etc. ..!


Municipal EcoToolkit Website

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Status

This research  was completed in

2020

Supporters

Alberta Innovates

Environmental Law Centre

Alberta Low Impact Development Partnership

Climate Resilience for Local Communities

Climate Resilience for Local Communities

The Adapt-action Web Tool

The Issue / Idea

How do municipalities adapt to a changing climate? How can they become more climate resilient?

The Project

After extensive research to determine the best way to help municipalities, the Adapt-action tool was created – a web-based decision-support tool for municipalities seeking guidance in taking action regarding climate change adaptation.

Adapt-action guides you through the climate change issues of adapting to water scarcity and adapting to flooding. Each is outlined from the environmental changes you will see, to the implications for your community, through to the strategies you can employ to adapt and become more climate resilient.

As you navigate through each issue narrative, you will be able to view and collect information about: predicted climate change impacts and their effects; implications of these impacts on agriculture, health, recreation, infrastructure and biodiversity in your community; and what your municipality can do to prepare and adapt to these expected changes.

The research and tool development were undertaken as part of ABMI’s Biodiversity Management and Climate Change Adaptation project


Adapt-action Web Site

Adapt-action Overview

Research Reports – Year 1

Possible Tools for Local Adaptation
Proposed Action Plan Approach

Research Reports – Year 2

Review of Municipal Policies
Downscaling Climate Data
Communications Strategy
Action Plan Process Review
Environmental Changes and Implications

Research Reports – Year 3

Ecosystem-based Adaptation
Navigating with Narratives
Blueprint for Engagement
Groundwork: Assumptions and Bases


(Did we miss something important? Let us know!)

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Status

This was a multi-pronged research project begun in 2012, culminating in the release of Adapt-action in

April 2014

Supporters

ABMI Biodiversity Management and Climate Change Adaptation Project

Climate Change Emissions and Management Corporation

Edmonton Community Foundation

Intact Insurance