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Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan - Niagara Peninsula ...

Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan - Niagara Peninsula ...

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN The following chart lists examples of key Ontario ecological, infrastructure, and social values likely to be affected by climate change. This chart is taken directly from a report published by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources entitled Climate Change Projections for Ontario: Practical Information for Policymakers and Planners (2007b) Area Agriculture Environment Forestry Human Health Northern Communities Power Generation Tourism and Recreation Transportation Climate Change Impacts Reduced productivity where temperature rises without a compensatory increase in precipitation Change in crops that can be grown Less suitable climate to produce ice wine in southern Ontario Longer growing season Expansion of agriculture into new areas of northern Ontario where soils are productive Changes in the biodiversity of species and ecosystems Increased difficulties for species currently at risk to survive or maintain their status New species at risk because of disequilibrium with climate Increased opportunity for natural migration of invasive species to Ontario Loss of plants and animals for which some protected areas were established Increased frequency and more area burned by forest fires, placing stress on firefighting infrastructure and increasing the number and length of shutdowns of bush operations Regional changes in timber supply (some may increase while others decrease) Less access for forestry operations due to late freeze-up and mid-winter thaws Opportunities to plant faster-growing, less cold hardy tree species Migration of mountain pine beetle from Alberta threatening old-growth pine forests Fewer winter cold alerts but more summer heat alerts More SMOG days Appearance of new insect-borne diseases Increased water quality issues due to less total precipitation but more extreme rainfall events Threats to northern communities by forest fires will be more frequent Soil instability and shifting of houses and other structures due to melting permafrost Increased community isolation and higher cost of living due to shortened winter road season Higher maximum summer power requirements due to increased summer temperatures Lower winter maximum power requirements due to warmer winters Reduced hydroelectric power generation due to lower stream/river flow and lower lake levels More risk to power transmission lines from ice storms Fewer winter outdoor recreation opportunities in southern Ontario (e.g., less reliable skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and outdoor ice skating) Longer warm weather outdoor recreation season (e.g., boating, camping, and golf) Shorter road snow-clearing season Greater risk of freezing rain and need for de-icing in southern Ontario Longer Great Lakes shipping season More shipping disruptions and channel/harbour dredging due to lower Great Lakes water levels 266

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN The following table summarizes commonly identified changes to the hydrological cycle that are expected in the Great Lakes Basin resulting from climate change. This chart is taken directly from Mainstreaming Climate Change in Drinking Water Source Protection Planning (de Loe and Berg 2006). Hydrological Parameter Runoff Lake Levels Groundwater Recharge Groundwater Discharge Ice Cover Snow Cover Water Temperature Soil Moisture Expected Change in the 21 st Century, Great Lakes Basin Decreased annual runoff, but increased winter runoff Earlier and lower spring freshet (the flow resulting from melting snow and ice) Summer and fall flows are lower and last longer Increased frequency of high flows due to extreme precipitation events Lower net basin supplies and declining levels due to increased evaporation and timing of precipitation Increased frequency of low water levels Decreased groundwater recharge, with shallow aquifers being especially sensitive Changes in amount and timing of baseflow to streams, lakes and wetlands Ice cover season reduced, or eliminated completely Reduced snow cover (depth, area, and duration) Increased water temperature in surface and water bodies Soil moisture may increase by as much as 80% during winter in the basin, but decrease by as much as 30% in summer and autumn 267

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