Climate change adaptation for resource roads

Last updated: April 15, 2021

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Climate change impacts can result in significant damages to resource road infrastructure which may be disruptive to road access and costly to repair. 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.

Reports and presentations

Accounting for Climate Change Impacts in the Design of Resource Road Crossings

  1. Updates and Developments in Climate Change Tools for BC + Case Study from the Southern Interior, June 18, 2020:
  2. Case Studies from Northern BC + Design Flood Hydrology Practices for BC Resource Road Crossings, June 23, 2020:
  3. From Snowmelt to Streamflow: Data Portals for Future Hydrologic Conditions + Discussion: Climate Change Tools, Needs for Crossings Design, June 25, 2020:
  4. Final Webinar in Series - Two Case Studies in Coastal BC - January 14, 2021:

Climate Change at a small watershed scale with a focus on Resource Road Stream Crossings 

  1. Climate change Impacts at a Small Watershed Scale - February 6, 2020:
  2. Climate Tools; What are they good for? February 13, 2020:
  3. Rainfall Intensity Duration Frequency Curves for Future Climate Scenarios: A Publicly Accessible Computer Tool - February 27, 2020:

Research Report - February 2020 (PDF, 541 KB) 

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. 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

Three pilot projects were completed on Forest Service roads (FSR), in collaboration with Sea-to-Sky, Okanagan-Shuswap, and Prince George 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 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 ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development engaged with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to assist with leading the delivery of the first PIEVC cased study on the In-SHUCK-ch FSR. Because of 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, the Tum Tum (FSR) in the South Area, and the Willow FSR in the North 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.

PIEVC workshop background

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

Intro to PIEVC

Climate Change & Climate Modelling