The Government of Saskatchewan released its second annual climate resilience report, with a suite of measures that demonstrate how resilient the province is to a changing climate.

The report provides comprehensive coverage of five key areas: natural systems, physical infrastructure, economic sustainability, community preparedness and human well-being.

“The Climate Resilience Measurement Framework and subsequent annual reports align well with Saskatchewan’s new 10-year Growth Plan,” said Environment Minister Dustin Duncan.  “These key measures demonstrate our focus on maintaining and enhancing a healthy environment that will support Saskatchewan people, communities and industry for years to come.”

The Climate Resilience Measurement Framework, released in November 2018, is a commitment in the province’s Prairie Resilience climate change strategy.  The first resilience report was released in April 2019, presenting baselines and targets for 25 important measures.  The 2020 report continues with reporting on status and trends for each measure.

Resilience measures are assessed to be either “good, fair or poor.”  Eighteen measures in this year’s report are classified as good, an increase from 15 in the 2019 report.  Six are classified as fair, and there are once again no measures with a poor status.  Most measures under economic sustainability, community preparedness and human well-being were deemed to be good.

Key findings in the report include the following:

  • Fuel management – In 2019, Saskatchewan continued to increase its fuel management work on Crown land, thinning the forest around urban areas to help reduce the risk of wildfire to northern communities.
  • Protected areas – Saskatchewan added approximately 700,000 hectares of protected areas in 2019, increasing its total to 6.4 million hectares.  This covers 10 per cent of the province’s total land base and includes representation from each of the province’s 11 ecoregions.
  • Forestry management – Since 2019, all forest harvest designs must incorporate natural disturbance patterns (e.g. wind, wildfire, insects etc.), which is critical to maintain resilient and biologically diverse forests.
  • Infrastructure improvements – An additional 81 culverts were upgraded or replaced over the past two years to meet the new provincial flood standard.  This helps ensure the province’s transportation network is more resilient to extreme weather events.
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Six measures in the report are classified as fair, providing opportunities to reinforce the province’s resilience to climate change.  This includes planned investments by SaskPower, which will further its renewable energy generation capacity and operational efficiency, contributing to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through 2030.

“We continue to see positive trends in many of the resilience measures,” Duncan added.  “Annual reporting helps us better understand Saskatchewan’s incremental resilience to climate change, and identifies where we may need to better prepare the province for a changing climate.”

To read the full report and climate change strategy, click here.

Featured image credit: Government of Saskatchewan.

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