CLIMATE PROJECTIONS FOR THE LAND AND WATER OF THE SALISH SEA
Coast Salish Territory, British Columbia, June 8, 2020
Islands Trust Conservancy has released a climate projections report for the island region between the British Columbia mainland and southern Vancouver Island that will guide conservation as weather becomes increasingly volatile. The report offers specific projections for the Southern Gulf Islands, Gabriola and Thetis Islands, Howe Sound and Northern Gulf Islands.
The Climate Projections Report for Islands Trust Area compiles projections for temperature and precipitation in the 2050s and 2080s from existing sources such as the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium. The report also describes some impacts these changes may have on land, aquatic and oceanic ecosystems. Specific projections for different parts of the Islands Trust Area and regional information will be used by the Conservancy when updating land management policies and procedures.
The region can expect warmer, wetter winters, earlier springs with a longer growing season, and warmer, drier summers, with increasing risk of wildfires. Oceans will be warmer and more acidic. Rising sea levels combined with an increase in intensity of storms, may result in the loss of shoreline property and changes to eelgrass and kelp beds.
“The climate projections indicate significant impacts to aquatic, marine and terrestrial species” said Islands Trust Conservancy’s Ecosystem Protection Specialist, Kathryn Martell. “The Islands Trust Area can expect to see new species migrating to the region, which increases the likelihood of spread of invasive species and pests and pathogens. We also expect the presence and range of some species, like the Western redcedar, to decline and contract as the local climate becomes less suitable, with the potential for other species, such as Garry oak, to expand their range.”
Islanders are increasingly aware of the impact of climate change in the Salish Sea. “With our mandate to preserve and protect the islands and waters of the Salish Sea, we welcome this report to support decision-making as we consider the effects of climate change on these rare and fragile ecosystems” said Kate-Louise Stamford, Chair of the Islands Trust Conservancy Board. “Through climate projections we strengthen our ability to plan for the challenges that will be faced by both land and aquatic ecosystems. This provides us with an opportunity to adapt our work to address these impacts.”
Changes that we make, here and now, can moderate climate change after 2050. Projections for the 2080s are based upon a “business as usual” scenario, highlighting that actions we take now are critical.
Visit the Islands Trust Conservancy website for more information islandstrustconservancy.ca
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Kate-Louise Stamford, Chair
Islands Trust Conservancy Board
Carla Funk, Communications and Fundraising specialist
(250) 405- 5171
Kate Emmings, Acting Manager
Islands Trust Conservancy