Community Assessment & Adaptation Options:
Moose Mountain is located in south-eastern Saskatchewan within the Aspen Parkland Ecoregion (Figure 1). The upland rises over 100 to 200m above the surrounding landscape and encompasses Moose Mountain Provincial Park, Kenosee Lake and much of the White Bear First Nation. Pheasant Rump Nakota First Nation and Ocean Man First Nation are found to the west of the park (Figure 2). Outdoor recreation activity – hunting, camping and fishing - occurs throughout the region (Figure 3). Winter recreation is important in upland areas focused on Moose Mountain Provincial Park (Figure 4). Besides outdoor recreation, much of the area is available for cattle grazing, haying and has been subject to oil and gas development. Carlyle, located just south of Moose Mountain, is the largest community in the area with a population of around 1300. The White Bear First Nation has a resident population of nearly 800.
Figure 1 Moose Mountain
Moose Mountain is a rolling upland with numerous small lakes and is largely forested with trembling aspen, balsam poplar, and white birch. Some shade tolerant green ash and Manitoba maple are found in eastern portions. Mixed and fescue grassland are usually found around the small lakes and sloughs. The water levels can vary significantly from year to year. There were notable droughts in the 1930s and 1980s and a high water table period in the 1950s. Figure 5 illustrates declining water levels for a variety of prairie lakes over a 70 to 100 year period, including Kenosee Lake.
Figure 2 Moose Mountain Provincial Park and White Bear Indian Reserve
(Photo Courtesy of John Vandall) Figure 3 Camping on Little Kenosee Lake Moose Mountain Provincial Park
(Photo Courtesy of John Vandall) Figure 4 Cross Country Ski Trails Moose Mountain Provincial Park
Figure 5 Water Levels of Various Prairie Lakes (from Environment Canada (website))
This island forest is at significant risk from climate change. It is an ecotone or transition system, between grassland and forest ecosystems, and therefore sensitive to relatively small changes in environmental conditions. The forest is vulnerable to poor regeneration, over-use, and catastrophic disturbances including wildfire, insects, disease or severe drought.
Climate Normals (1971-2000) for Carlyle
- The average daily temperature ranges from -16.1°C in January to 18.7°C in July with 5 months being below 0°C (November to March). The lowest average daily minimum temperature is -21.3°C experienced in January and an average daily maximum temperature of 25.5°C in July.
- The annual precipitation is about 432.4 mm of which 76% is rainfall and the remainder is snow. 46% falls in the months of June, July and August.
- An indication of the demand for cooling and heating is provided by the number of degree days above 18°C – 137; and the number of degree days below 18°C - 5741.2.
Over the next century to 2100 climate scenarios suggest:
- a warmer climate - temperatures may generally rise 2 to 4 degrees,
- a longer growing season – but drier despite an increase in precipitation. This is a result of increased summer temperatures and increased evapotranspiration.
- The demand for summer cooling could increase several times while heating requirements may be reduced due to shorter, milder winters.
- Expect more frequent and more intense extreme events (e.g. heavy precipitation or drought). Droughts will likely increase in intensity and frequency.
Regional Adaptation Options:
- Strategies should be adopted to retain forest cover and support existing species diversity. This could include managing fuel loads, prescribed fires and forest harvesting.
- Regenerate vegetation aggressively where necessary.
- There should be ongoing monitoring for climate change and its impacts, linked to a broader program.
- Undertake a program to test the introduction of new tree species that are better adapted to future climates.
- Vegetation management must consider the range of climate change impacts into an analysis of management options and zoning for the provincial park.
- Adopt communication and consultation strategies to inform park visitors and survey their management preferences.
- Ensure cottage and recreation developments are resilient under both drought and flood conditions.
- Acton, D.F., Padbury,G.A., Stushnoff,C.T., 1998. The Ecoregions of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina and Saskatchewan, Environment and Resource Management.
- Barrow, E. 2009 Climate Scenarios for Saskatchewan PARC Summary Document 09-01 http://www.parc.ca/pdf/research_publications/renamed/SD2009_01.pdf
- Barrow, E. 2009 Climate Scenarios for Saskatchewan http://www.parc.ca/pdf/research_publications/renamed/SD2009_01.pdf
- Canadian Plains Research Centre. 2005. Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan, http://esask.uregina.ca/entry/ecozones_and_ecoregions.html
- Environment Canada, Climate Normals http://climate.weatheroffice.gc.ca/climate_normals/results_e.html?StnID=3157&autofwd=1
- Henderson, Norm and Hogg, E., Barrow, E., and Dolter, B. 2002 Saskatchewan, 2010. Climatte Change Impacts on the Island Forest of the Great Plains and the Implications for Nature Conservation Policy.
- Saskbiz, Community Profiles at :http://www.saskbiz.ca/communityprofiles/communityprofile.asp?CommunityID=11
- Saskatchewan Environment, 2010. Saskatchewan Interactive (on-line map creation tool). http://www.environment.gov.sk.ca/maps [accessed November 19, 2009]