Climate Change Adaptation for Resource Roads

Climate change impacts can result in significant damages to resource road infrastructure which may be disruptive to road access and costly to repair. Recent storm flood damage on public and resource roads are illustrative examples. Although storms are a normal occurrence, climate change has caused storm events to happen more frequently and with increased intensity.

 
A Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Approach for Resource Roads – FPInnovations February 2020

Given the benefits that resource roads provide to economic and social well-being, it is important to understand the impacts of a changing climate on resource roads and infrastructure. As the forest industry and governments move toward creating resource roads that are resilient to climate change, an early step in the adaptive management process is to assess the risks and vulnerabilities of infrastructure to climate change.

This report provides the recommendations and considerations for applying a vulnerability assessment to resource roads.

Pilot PIEVC Projects

Two pilot projects were initiated on Forest Service roads (FSR), in collaboration with Sea-to-Sky and Okanagan-Shuswap Resource Districts focused on climate change vulnerability of resource road infrastructure. The PIEVC protocol is a climate adaptation assessment process developed by the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC). The PIEVC protocol provides a structured methodology for assessing infrastructure for climate change vulnerability so that modifications to processes and procedures can be identified in planning, design, maintenance and implementation. The PIEVC protocol entails the engagement of stakeholders, as participants in a workshop, that are knowledgeable with the subject road having used, maintained and administered it. The participants contribute to the process by exercising judgement based on their knowledge of the road and how it has reacted to inputs, such as previous storms and other management applications. The MFLNRORD engaged with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to assist with the delivery of the In-SHUCK-ch FSR given their leadership and experience with applying the process on numerous segments of public highway.

The pilot projects consisted of applying the PIEVC protocol to specific segments of road, the In-SHUCK-ch FSR in the Coast Area and the Tum Tum (FSR) in the South Area. The PIEVC methodology is roughly as follows:

  1. Identify road infrastructure elements
  2. Consider the reaction of the infrastructure elements to specific climate factors and projected changes to those factors due to climate change (conducted by those familiar with design, administration, maintenance and construction of the subject road)
  3. Analyze vulnerability of various road infrastructure elements (given climate factors)

Although the PIEVC protocol is a case study approach, the outcomes of the pilot PIEVC projects are intended to help define steps to better address climate change adaptation considerations for resource roads in the future.

Reports and Presentations

  • FPInnovations - Webinar Series Climate Change at a small watershed scale with a focus on Resource Road Stream Crossings 
  1. Climate change Impacts at a Small Watershed Scale - Feb 6, 2020
  2. Climate Tools; What are they good for? Feb 13, 2020
  3. Rainfall Intensity Duration Frequency Curves for Future Climate Scenarios: A Publicly Accessible Computer Tool - Feb 27, 2020

Workshops

The following background webinars were delivered to the In-SHUCK-ch FSR PIEVC workshop participants:

Intro to PIEVC

Climate Change & Climate Modelling