The Okanagan Regional Adaptation Strategies plan was released in July and the first two projects are underway to strengthen the agriculture sector’s resilience to climate change in the region.

1) Agriculture Drought Status Outreach Project
As summers become warmer and drier, agricultural water users have a growing need for timely and accurate information about the status of local water supplies. To address associated communication challenges, this pilot project will develop, test and evaluate outreach mechanisms with two water purveyors and their agricultural water users. Following the completion of the pilot, a summary of the results – along with a set of communication guidelines and sample outreach materials – will be made available to water purveyors across the region. This will help to facilitate the adoption of effective and consistent methods for communicating with agricultural water users about water supply status during drought.

2) Decision Support Tool for Local Tree Fruit Pest Management
As average annual temperatures increase, particularly minimum winter temperatures, the range and prevalence of agricultural pests (including insects and diseases) are anticipated to shift, and new pests are expected to emerge. Within this changing context, resources to support timely, efficient and effective pest management decisions will be increasingly important.

This project will adapt a successful pest management decision support tool – Washington State University’s Decision Aid System (DAS) – for the Okanagan. The system has been in operation in Washington State for nearly a decade and is highly valued by Washington growers. The DAS tool has a clear, simple interface that can be accessed on a computer, tablet or phone and is programmed for conventional and organic management recommendations. The tool is anticipated to be rolled out for Okanagan tree fruit producer use in 2018.

To see more about these and other updates from the BC Agriculture & Food Climate Action Initiative, go to their website here.