Livestock Surface Water Risk & Forage Assessment for BC Range

27th April 2021

This 4-part series provides the tools to evaluate livestock surface water risk & increase forage access under changing climate conditions.

 

Overview

Sufficient and high-quality water is essential for sustainable livestock production on Crown Range in British Columbia. This webinar series will introduce a method for assessing the climate change risks to surface water sources, and explain how to apply this process to water and range use management and planning.

The method uses future evaporation, climate moisture deficit and the flow accumulation model to evaluate future water reliability. Combining this process with forage resource data and other key rangeland characteristics allows you to plan for how climate change will affect water accessibility in areas with high value forage resources.

  • The first two sessions will introduce the tools and approaches for assessing risk to surface water
  • The third session will focus on application of risk assessment to water development considerations
  • The final session provides an overview of three pilot projects that have applied the risk assessment and planning process to water developments on Crown Range in the Cariboo Region

The planning concepts are applicable to all parts of BC.

 

Session Details

Tuesday, April 27 – Tools to Assess Climate Change Risk to Water Availability

  • Overview of climate model
  • Key findings from the Cariboo Livestock Surface Water Risk Assessment project
  • Overview of the Forage and Water Resiliency Map Set that is available for range units within British Columbia
  • Mapping the risk of climate change to surface water and the forage resource
  • Accessing map layers using ArcGIS, Google Earth, and QGIS – Darin Brooks

 

Thursday, April 29 – Identifying Closed vs. Connected Water Resources and Zones of Use

  • Review evaporation maps and climate scenarios
  • Discuss the difference between open and closed basin wetlands
  • Using the relationship of a ponds surface area and volume to predict risk
  • Current model assumptions
  • Introduction to the Flow Accumulation Model – Darin Brooks
  • Predicting open and closed basin wetlands

 

Tuesday, May 4 – Planning a Water Development

  • Range management planning
  • Linking the forage resource and the resilient water bodies
  • Predicting zones of use based on distance to water and forage mapping
  • A forage calculation spreadsheet to estimate available forage
  • Potential uses of the mapping resources – calculating carrying capacity, planning water developments, planning locations for rangeland health assessments

 

Thursday, May 6 – Assessing Water Developments in the Field: Cariboo Pilot Projects

  • Introduction to Cariboo Surface Water Risk Assessment Pilot Projects
  • Pilot projects planning process and field evaluations
  • Producer experiences

 

More Information

The evaluation method, maps and pilot projects were developed through the Climate & Agriculture Initiative's Cariboo regional adaptation program. More information, reports and maps are available here.