Regional Climate and Production Systems
Historical climate and production capacity
This region includes the following regional districts: the Regional District of Central Kootenay, the Regional District of East Kootenay. and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary. Summers in Kootenay & Boundary are generally hot and dry, and winters vary from mild to severe. Winter temperatures are slightly milder in the Boundary area. The average frost-free period is about five months long, with a slightly longer growing season in the western part of the region. Due to the region’s diverse topography, temperature and precipitation can vary greatly across small distances. While Creston gets around 649 millimeters of precipitation annually and Grand Forks 531 millimeters, the Slocan Valley receives closer to 1,300 millimeters. Precipitation falls relatively evenly throughout the year. Valleys are spread throughout the Kootenay & Boundary region, tucked between four mountain ranges. Most agricultural production takes place in these valleys where much of the land is privately owned. Crown land makes up about 91% of the region’s land base. Agricultural production is limited, mostly due to the mountainous topography and soil type and quality. Soils vary considerably throughout the region, from class 2 through 6. In 2016, close to 382,000 hectares were included in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
In 2016, the Kootenay & Boundary region was home to 1,157 farms – 7% of the farms in BC. Farm size varies across the region, with farms averaging 205 hectares in the Regional District of East Kootenay and 40 hectares in the Regional District of Central Kootenay. This is largely because of differences in production types, due to soil and climatic factors. Ranching is common on the larger acreages in the East Kootenay and Kootenay Boundary regional districts. Forage and pasture make up about 95% of cultivated land in East Kootenay and are also the main crops in Kootenay Boundary. Tree fruit orchards, market gardens and dairies are more prominent in Central Kootenay. The region is also home to 10% of BC’s organic farms. Many local initiatives support and promote local food production and/or consumption. The region is home to over 15 farmers’ market locations, and almost 40% of farms reported participating in some form of direct marketing in 2016.
Top Issues & Projects
Projections provided by the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium were shared during the regional planning process where producers discussed how the anticipated changes would likely affect their operations. Then they identified four climate issues as their top concerns. Many of these projects are a direct response to the adaptation strategies and top issues outlined in the Kootenay Boundary Adaptation Strategies plan. The projects are developed by CCAP with oversight and input from a regional working group. Other projects deliver applied research that supports climate change adaptation at the farm level. These 2-4 year projects fall under the Farm Adaptation Innovator Program.
Learn more about climate change adaptation in each region: