Vulnerability of Landslide Risk to Climate Change by vcm12307


       Vulnerability of Landslide Risk to Climate Change

                     Proceedings from
          C-CIARN Landscape Hazards Workshop 2003

                       October 31, 2003
             Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre

                              Vancouver, BC

              Tanuja Kulkarni and Andrée Blais-Stevens
                   C-CIARN Landscape Hazards

             C-CIARN Landscape Hazards Report 04-01
                          March 2004

                                                        Natural Resources Canada
                                                      Geological Survey of Canada
                                           601 Booth Street, Ottawa, ON K1A 0E8
                                          Tel: (613) 992-0581 Fax: (613) 992-0190
                                       Executive Summary

The Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research network (C-CIARN) hosted a one-day
workshop: Vulnerability of Landslide Risk to Climate Change. This report provides a summary of
the workshop presentations, breakout group discussions and key themes of the event.

Experts from across the country presented the effects of climate change on landslides in Canada,
highlighting regional differences in landslide types.

The goal of the event was to facilitate discussion on the impacts of landslides in Canada and
adaptation options available to communities, while understanding the issues that are faced by
communities when making adaptation decisions. Key climate change impacts and adaptation
issues from the perspective of the forestry industry, transportation industry, and from planners
were identified.

Formal speakers presented the link between climate and landslides within which projections of
future directions of landslide activities in the context of a changing climate were highlighted.
Frequency and magnitude of landslides were of particular concern.

How landslides are monitored, strategies to include climate change in planning agendas and the
needs of decision-makers and researchers were discussed. Information needs of decision-
makers included data, tool development and capacity building.

The information needed for decision-makers focused on three main areas: 1) a clear link between
climate change and landslides that includes magnitude, frequency and locations; 2) databases of
landslides in their region, perhaps as subsets of a national database of events; and 3) hazard
maps at the appropriate scale. Appendix D contains a matrix that outlines the discussions of the
day, the similarities and divergent ideas of the three sectors represented.


1.0 About the Vulnerability to Landslide Risk and Climate Change Workshop…………….………4
       1.1 Purpose of the Workshop…………………………………………………………………..4
       1.2 Primary Objectives…………………………………………………………………………..4
       1.3 Workshop Format……………………………………………………………………………5

2.0 Summary of Presentations
       2.1 Welcome and Opening Remarks, Tanuja Kulkarni………………………………………5
       2.2 Climate Variability and Future Change, Rick Lee………………………………………..5
       2.3 Causes and Triggers for Landslides in Canada, John Clague……………………….…6
       2.4 Landslides in Atlantic Canada – A Review, Ian Spooner………………………………..6
       2.5 Hydroclimatic triggers of Landslides in Southeastern Ontario and Québec
           Lowlands, Didier Perret……………………………………………………………………..7
       2.6 Landslide Risk and Climate Change in the Interior Plains, Dave Sauchyn……………7
       2.7 Permafrost and Landslide Initiation in Northern Canada: Changing Climate,
           Changing Roles, Antoni Lewkowicz……………………………………………………….8
       2.8 Debris Flow Occurance and Climate Change in Coastal B.C: Complexity on a
           Regional Scale, Mattias Jakob……………………………………………………………..8
       2.9 Impacts of Climate Change on Landslides in the Forests of Northern British
           Columbia, Marten Geertsema……………………………………………………………...8
       2.10 Landslides in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor, Rob Buchanan…………………………………9

3.0 Summary of Breakout Sessions
       3.1 Transportation…………………………………………………………………..………….10
       3.2 Forestry……………………………………………………………………………………..13
       3.3 Planning…………………………………………………………………………………….16

4.0 Workshop Themes
      4.1 Linking Climate Change and Landslides………………………………………………..18
      4.2 Information Needs of Decision-Makers………………………………………………….18

5.0 Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………………19

6.0 Acknowledgements………………………………………………………………………………….20

Appendix A: Agenda……………………………………………………………………………………...21

Appendix B: List of Participants…………………………………………………………………………23

Appendix C: Presentation Abstracts…………………………………………………………………….26

Appendix D: Matrix of Discussion………………………………………………………………… ……32

Appendix E: Question Period……………………………………………………………………………34

1.0 About the Vulnerability to Landslide Risk and Climate Change Workshop

Linking the impacts of climate change to landslides is a relatively new pairing. There are many
questions to be answered: Who and what is at risk? How can climate change get onto the
planning agenda when considering landslide risk? What information is needed for decision-
makers to decrease risks in their communities?

The Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network (C-CIARN) Landscape
Hazards sector hosted a workshop to explore these questions and identify priorities in research.

C-CIARN is a national network that facilitates research, acts as a voice and visibility for climate
change impacts and adaptation issues, and builds a network of researchers and decision-makers
in this field. This workshop is one of many activities that are undertaken by C-CIARN to
encourage stakeholder participation in research priority setting and to ensure that all research
needs are considered when funding is allocated.

Sixty-five participants from government, industry, aboriginal communities, and academia attended
this event to learn about the link between climate change and landslide risk and the regional
differences of this relationship in Canada. The focus also included discussions on impacts of
climate change on communities, adaptation strategies, and identification of research needs.

This report provides a summary of the Vulnerability of Landslide Risk to Climate Change
Workshop proceedings, focusing on the key themes that emerged from workshop presentations
and breakout sessions.

1.1 Purpose of the Workshop

The purpose of this workshop was to discuss the link between landslide risk and climate change
in Canada and to outline issues that communities are faced with when making adaptation
decisions. The workshop was designed to: provide policy and decision-makers with credible
information about the landslide risks across Canada, act as a networking opportunity, and to
obtain feedback on research priorities that would guide future C-CIARN Landscape Hazard office
activities. It also provided a voice for research funding agencies like the Canadian Climate
Impact and Adaptation Research Program.

1.2 Primary Objectives

The primary objectives of the event were:
    To discuss the link between climate change and landslide risk
    To highlight the regional differences in landslide types in Canada
    To outline the issues faced by communities when making adaptation decisions

The following questions shaped the discussion groups:
Impacts of Landslides:
     Who and what is at risk?
     How are landslides monitored?
     Who is the first to respond to landslide events?
     How are they informed, trained?
Adaptation / Risk Management:
     How can climate change get on the planning agenda when considering landslide risk?
     What information is needed for decision makers to decrease risks in their communities?
     From whom should be this information be gathered?
Future Needs:
     What is the road map for „what is next‟?

       What are the most important research questions that need to be answered considering
        climate and landslides?
       What kind of commitment is needed – financial, social, technical, other

1.3 Workshop Format

Participants included municipal stakeholders, policy makers, geotechnical consultants, university
researchers, federal, provincial and municipal government representatives, First Nation
organizations, forest industry experts, transportation planners, meteorologists, regional
emergency planners and private industry.

The first half of the day consisted of formal presentations by climate and landslide specialists
across Canada. They began with an outline of the past trends of precipitation, identification of the
types of climate scenarios and projected future climate in Canada. The causes and triggers of
landslides were presented and the links between climate and slope failures were highlighted.
Presentations at a national scale were followed by a review of landslide type and risk for specific
regions: Atlantic Canada, Ontario & Québec, the Interior Plains, the North and coastal British
Columbia. The final presentations focused on the impacts of climate on landslides in the northern
British Columbia forests and landslide risk along the Sea-to-Sky corridor in southern BC.

For the second half of the day, participants were divided into three groups – transportation,
forestry and planning - to explore different perspectives of: the impact of climate change on
landslides, risk management of this hazard, and future needs to decrease community vulnerability
to landslide risk. A final plenary was assembled to highlight similarities and identify needs of the
three sectors.

The workshop agenda is provided in Appendix A. A complete list of participants is provided in
Appendix B and presenter abstracts are listed in Appendix C. A matrix of the discussion is
provided in Appendix D. Appendix E contains the plenary questions and responses.

2.0 Summary of Presentations

2.1 Welcome and Opening Remarks
Tanuja Kulkarni, Coordinator of C-CIARN Landscape Hazards

Ms. Kulkarni described the role of the C-CIARN Landscape Hazards. This workshop brought
together many who are affected by landslides and may be a springboard for incorporating climate
change risk into future land use planning.

2.2. Climate Variability and Future Change
Rick Lee, Canadian Institute for Climate Studies, University of Victoria

Dr. Lee presented an overview of past trends of precipitation in Canada. He described climate
change as non-linear with the potential to be abrupt. There have been several climate regimes
since 1750, which indicate periods of time where precipitation rates consistently rose or fell. The
instrumental record is very short and our infrastructure plans are all at risk as a result.
 “At a minimum, there is a responsibility to plan for climate variability.”

The trends of daily maximum and minimum temperatures and precipitation trends for different
seasons in Canada were reviewed. Dr. Lee described seasonal anomalies of light precipitation
becoming more frequent in the southwest of Canada and maximum temperatures are generally
expected to rise and minimum temperatures will rise at faster rates. Rain events will be less
intense but more frequent. There are indications of increasing snow events in British Columbia
and increases in frequency of intense cyclones.

General Circulation Models can provide a range of scenarios and provide many variables for
prediction. For the 2080s the winter, spring and summer are predicted to be wetter and warmer
with long-term reductions in soil moisture. The range of predicted temperature is large for winter,
less so for spring, and small for summer and fall. Precipitation ranges are large and soil moisture
decreases for all seasons except winter.

Dr. Lee‟s primary concern is the need to consider sensitivity of engineering projects to climate

2.3 Causes and Triggers of Landslides in Canada
John Clague, Simon Fraser University

Dr. Clague highlighted the importance of recognizing the distinction between the causes of
landslides and their triggers. Triggers are what initiate the failure although the mechanisms may
or may not be identifiable. Causes relate to the geological and topographic mechanisms that set
up a slope to fail, which thereafter a trigger would release. Landslide triggers refer to
earthquakes, heavy rain and rain-on-snow, freeze-thaw cycles, tidal fluctuation, and
anthropogenic activities.

Some causes relate to the slow deterioration of a slope, particularly rock slopes, which
deteriorate on a very slow scale. Accelerating or decelerating the deterioration of the slope may
be forced by changes in climate.

“Humans are becoming the most important geo-modifiers on earth, as they can trigger
important consequences in the short and long-term scales.”

Small landslides tend to be caused and triggered by climate change in short-time scales.

Although rock falls are typically the type of slide found along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, several
debris flow landslides occurred with considerable frequency in the mid-1980s as the surrounding
land use changed. Debris flows were also related to clear-cut areas in mountains around
Mission, B.C. These flows are climatically triggered but are clearly affected by human activities.
The funds that have been spent on the Sea-to-Sky Highway are all linked to short-term climate
events and small landslides.

Dr. Clague presented several examples highlighting small landslides as the most problematic and
their links to short-term climate change. Ocean-atmospheric interaction can explain some
landslide events. Pacific Decadal Oscillation and El Niño -Southern Oscillation underpin, trigger
and cause small landslides and floods.

Larger landslides like earthflows have very clear ties to climate change and to thaw failures in the
Arctic. However, it is not clear on how quick clay failures can be linked to climate change.

2.4 Landslides in Atlantic Canada – A Review
Ian Spooner, Acadia University

Dr. Spooner described the major landslides types in Atlantic Canada as: rockfalls that are
susceptible to mechanical weathering, debris flows, anthropogenic events that include the annual
$4 million highway clean up costs, debris avalanches, rotational slumps, coastal erosion that is
related to the high permeability of sediments, sackung and offshore/tsunami events.

He characterized landslide costs as difficult to calculate. Economic impacts can be as high as
$10 million, as was the case with a recent landslide in a Nova Scotia valley. Dr. Spooner
indicated that the primary impact of landslides is on transportation networks and human safety.

From a biophysical perspective, the precipitation events from the North Atlantic Oscillation are
one of the major mechanisms that influence landslides. From 1974 to present time, fluctuations
have been in the positive side (related to El Niño). Hurricane Juan in September 2003 caused
incredible devastation and may have been related to warmer oceans. Climate change models
indicate that hurricane tracks will shift further north, resulting in more frequent extreme events.

Landslides are typically studied under a hazardous risk assessment framework using GIS.
Hence, there is a need to create digital elevation models that better reflect landslide risks.

2.5 Hydroclimatic Triggers of Landslides in Southeastern Ontario and Quebéc Lowlands
Didier Perret, Geological Survey of Canada

The focus of landslide research has historically been on where they have occurred, but today,
more emphasis is placed on the timing of landslides.

Dr. Perret described shallow landslides, their link to pore water pressure, and the associated
scale of danger i.e. house frame damage. He presented the Leamy Creek landslide suite of five
landslides, which occurred simultaneously in the area. The most likely trigger was a rapid
temperature increase leading to massive snowmelt.

In summer, evapotranspiration is at a maximum and only very large rainfall events can usually
trigger landslides. Landslides have been reported to occur after the end of a precipitation event,
pointing to a delayed soil response.

Dr. Perret described hazard areas that are tied to deep-seated landslides as primarily at the top
of slopes. Large retrogressive landslides are likely linked to erosion, but the triggers for these
events are not clear. Both deep-seated and larger retrogressive slides are related to groundwater

The peak frequency for earth flows is concentrated in April and May, and to a limited extent in
November. Sixty three percent of earth flows occur during these three months, which correlates
with peak river discharge and peak groundwater recharge.

2.6 Landslide Risk and Climate Change in the Interior Plains
Dave Sauchyn, Prairie Adaptation and Research Collaborative

Dr. Sauchyn characterized the prairies as an area that is usually thought of as flat and not very
susceptible to landslide risks, but prairies sediments have very little shear strength when wet and
landslides are very common. Landslides are a significant geomorphic process in the southern
prairies while in the north the processes are more closely linked to ground ice.

A number of case studies were presented, including the Frenchman Valley, where slides are
ubiquitous and it is difficult to find short sections that have not failed. Dr. Sauchyn presented
reconstructions of Holocene paleoclimate. It was shown that almost all landslides occurred
during the transition from warm, dry weather to colder and wetter climate. Data on precipitation
since 1750 were obtained from tree rings.

Precipitation on a wet landscape generates large volumes of sediment, making landslides a
contributor to decreased water quality and fish mortality. Other major costs associated with
landslides are on transportation and pipe maintenance.

Climate change scenario predictions for the prairies anticipate increased temperature and
precipitation. Fewer landslides may be the result, as precipitation may be more than balanced by
increased evaporation, leading to a drier prairie environment. Alternatively, the increase in
extreme events may on the other hand favour landslides.

2.7 Permafrost and Landslide Initiation in Northern Canada: Changing Climates, Changing Roles
Antoni Lewkowicz, University of Ottawa

The Canadian North has a low population, a vast landscape, permafrost and latitudinal
amplification of warming, making landslides in the North different than those in southern Canada.

Dr. Lewkowicz described and provided examples of the varied types of slides in the North;
lowland landslides, detachment failures, thaw slumps, rotational slides, mountain landslides,
debris flows, rockfalls and rockslides. He also described the role of permafrost and how each
type of landslide is expected to change as a result of changes in permafrost.

The reaction of permafrost to climate change will vary regionally. Although sensitivity to thaw is
due in part to surficial materials and ice content, snow, organic layers, and vegetation can act as
buffers to changes in climate. Thin permafrost in the discontinuous zone is the most sensitive to
climate change. Changes in precipitation intensity and frequency also can affect permafrost.

Linear infrastructure (highways, gas pipelines) could be directly affected by changes in climate
due to the importance of slope stability in the North. The role (frequency, duration, extent) of
forest fires may become critical. Impacts on aquatic ecosystems through sediment addition and
solutes releases from melting permafrost are indirect, but can have large implications.

Dr. Lewkowicz concluded by suggesting that it is difficult to set up studies that examine the
climate change impacts, and outside of the Mackenzie Valley, there is currently very little
research on landslides in the North. General lack of knowledge of permafrost conditions in the
mountains of northern Canada remains a major issue, since there are no maps available.

“Direct impacts will be on linear infrastructure and not on human populations.”

2.8 Debris Flow Occurrence and Climate Change in Coastal B.C.: Complexity on a Regional
Matthias Jakob, BGC Engineering

Dr. Jakob described debris flows, typically triggered by precipitation events, as the most
destructive landslides that kill the largest number of people. The projected total annual rainfall
will increase up to 10% from 2040 to 2060, and up to 25% from 2080 to 2110. Most local models
predict wetter and warmer conditions, while modelled climate variability suggests more extreme

Debris flows are initiated by shallow avalanches, which are usually caused by elevated water
pressures in saturated or partially saturated soils. The hydrologic responses to rainstorms vary
widely. The most important variables for landslide initiating storms are the number of hours with
discharge, variables of rainfall intensity, and total precipitation.

        “Climate influences debris flows in many ways.”

2.9 Impacts of Climate Change on Landslides in the Forests of Northern British Columbia
Marten Geertsema, BC Ministry of Forests

Mr. Geertsema outlined rapid responses to increased precipitation in the forestry sector including
debris avalanches, which often occur in series, sometimes with small movements of previously
unstable areas and rockfalls that are sometimes closely linked to precipitation.

He described slope movement due to precipitation as ubiquitous in Northern British Columbia and
presented a number of examples of the delayed response to increases in precipitation.

Temperature influences on permafrost modifications might be linked to landslides (e.g. the
Bucking Horse River area). Little research has been done to date on this issue and the problem
is not fully understood. Mountain permafrost landslides may be linked to permafrost degradation
as interstitial ice can sometimes be found in the rubble.

Glacier shrinkage causes slopes to become unstable and susceptible to landslides. Fires are
linked to open slopes and favour debris flows.

Mr. Geertsema described bank erosion as a major cause of landslides. These landslides are very
common following a rain-on-snow flood event.

2.10 Landslides in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor
Rob Buchanan, BC Ministry of Transportation

Most regions along the Sea-to-Sky area, stretching from Vancouver to Whistler (the 2010
Olympic corridor), have experienced landslide events. Mr. Buchanan outlined some of the over
one hundred debris torrent events that were recorded over the last century and noted that eleven
people died in events during the 1980s. Minor rockslide events often have the greatest
consequences for the highway and railway. Soil slips include debris slides and debris
avalanches, which can affect roadways and buildings.

The Creek Bridge landslide, where nine people died, was likely triggered by heavy precipitation.
This event wiped out Highway 99 at a trestle crossing and the BCR railway line. Howe Sound
debris torrents seem to occur in 20-year cycles where the debris builds up over time and is then
released. Small rockslides cause highway closures and can cost $8-10 million per day when
there is no alternative route.

Older trestle-style bridges along Highway 99 prior to 1980 events were not designed to deal with
landslide events and major improvements have occurred since then. Other threats along the
corridor include potential subduction failure as a result of a major earthquake, which could take
out a portion of the highway between Vancouver, Squamish and Brohm Ridge, which could affect
a potential ski area and Stawamous Chief rockfall that has massive fall potential. Georgia Strait
seismicity data indicate very frequent seismic events occur throughout Howe Sound. Damages
can be upwards of $17 million for buyout packages, control basins, bridge replacement, housing
and infrastructure damages. Mitigation techniques currently used include dykes, control works,
civil defense zones, debris dams, rock cuts, and the purchase of homes.

The main causes of these slide events are the climatic and topographic characteristics of the
region: water, steepness, and intensity of storms. Potential future impacts include severe
residential damage, road and rail closures, and power outage to Vancouver if hydroelectric lines
are damaged. The worst-case scenario would be if transportation access were affected during
the 2010 Olympics.

El Niño and La Niña affect precipitation patterns in the region and are important short-term
climate drivers. Extreme storms can create landslide events when the soil is already moist.
Vortex precipitation occurs in Howe Sound where high southwesterly winds blow up the sound
during storms and concentrate the precipitation in certain drainage areas. With fewer frost free
periods and greater rain storm intensities, long-term climate impacts would include more debris
torrents in the Howe Sound corridor that are related to saturated soils. Alternatively, decreased
freeze-thaw stress to the rock faces would result in fewer rockslides.

3.0 Summary of Breakout Sessions

3.1     Transportation

                   Participant                                          Affiliation
Facilitator: Réjean Couture                         Geological Survey of Canada
Brian Bornhold                                      University of Victoria
Chris Bunce                                         CP Rail, University of Alberta
Rob Buchanan                                        BC Ministry of Transportation
Pauline Favero                                      University of British Columbia
Rick Guthrie                                        BC Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection
Crystal Huscroft                                    Yukon Geological Survey
Martin Lawrence                                     BC Hydro Engineering Division
Mark Leir                                           BGC Engineering
Antoni Lewkowicz                                    University of Ottawa
Panya Lipovsky                                      Yukon Geological Survey
Mark Pritchard                                      BGC Engineering
Alan Polster                                        Parks Canada
Mike Porter                                         BGC Engineering
Bert Struik                                         Geological Survey of Canada
Doug VanDine                                        VanDine Consulting

3.1.1    Who and what is at risk?

This discussion captured many elements of public and employee health and safety, including
emergency care, communications, electricity, fuel supply, food and water supply. The ability to
keep production and jobs open so that the economy is not affected was identified as important, as
isolated towns that have limited access to larger areas may have geographical barriers when
landslides close transportation networks. This sense of isolation can lead to psychological effects
long after the event itself. In the North almost everyone is at risk when a main transportation
route is affected. This discussion group identified the direct costs to infrastructure as significant,
but noted that the indirect costs can be much greater and more difficult to calculate. The
environment, including fish, water quality and ecological communities/vegetation can be stressed
more than human communities. After the human needs are addressed, it can be difficult to
prioritize what to deal with next.

3.1.2    How are landslides monitored?

It is important to recognize that there is a difference between real time monitoring and long term -
intermittent monitoring. Passive systems of monitoring include seismic monitoring and climate
monitoring. Other techniques include optical comparison of visual images; these can be in real
time, to warn individuals downstream. Other strategies include post or pre-event monitoring.
Pre-event monitoring is more difficult for real time data for transportation since transportation lines
run right across the country. Predictive monitoring is useful and can be done by placing weather
stations nearby active landslides.

In the Yukon, landslides are not monitored outside of air photos being taken every 30 years.
Local clean up occurs but there is no public mention of them. The BC government has a
rockslide hazard rating monitoring system to determine which areas are at risk. But, if no slide
occurs after a period of approximately five years, the attention is removed. In Glacier Park, when
a railway was destroyed, the first train to come along is the one who reports the event. If a
section of a railway or a power line is affected then the main offices are alerted. For railways and
pipelines, there are helicopters flown at consistent time periods for other purposes, and can be
used to identify landslides. The BC Transportation Ministry makes sure every road is driven at
least once a week and looks for anything significant, including landslides.

Safety observers can be put into place when events are being expected due to climatic or other
conditions, but currently, less then 1% of railway tracks are monitored across Canada. Usually
site monitoring occurs only in areas that have been previously affected.

3.1.3   Who are the first to respond to landslide events?

Notification and response times to landslide events often depend on how critically the affected the
area is. Those responsible for solving the problem are not usually the same individuals as those
who identify the landslide. If there is a customer affected (hydro, communications, etc), then they
may be the first to notify the company that there is a problem. The owners and users usually
share the responsibility for responding and reporting events. Geological engineers are usually in
the first suite of experts called to respond. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is often the
first to be notified of medium sized events as they are in the field more often and have a larger
budget for monitoring.

There is a complex avalanche response protocol but none for landslides. The avalanche template
could be used as a model to set up a response system for landslides.

3.1.4   How are they informed, trained?

First responders get trained for different purposes, for example, as an educational course for
railway workers, or as a way to mitigate a response until the professionals arrive. It is less clearly
defined for highways as maintenance contractors move debris from smaller debris slides. First
response can be traffic control.

Climate change may indicate a trend towards more frequent smaller precipitation events and
training may have to be geared towards dealing with landslides associated with those climatic
conditions. Training is also needed for planners, for example, incorporating the changing nature
of permafrost. Climate change may not necessarily affect management plans, but it probably

3.1.5   What are the top issues associated with climate change, landslides and transportation?

        The top issues include:
       Understanding the risks and consequences of climate change.
       Development and economic implications for communities.
       Future at-risk areas that are currently not affected by landslides; changes in risk
       Recognition of hazardous landslide areas; ranking and cataloguing them.
       Efficient direction of allocated funds.

3.1.6   How can climate change get on the agenda when considering transportation planning

Good literature is necessary to bring landslides to the attention of funding agencies and decision-
makers. Building on historic/paleoclimate patterns and linking them to a present probability would
be useful.

Identifying which models are most appropriate for regions in Canada would prove valuable to
engineers and designers. These models could be updated as required.

Climate change models report varying scenarios, which leave can lead many to doubt the validity
of the models. For a given a range of potential climate changes, the lowest cost scenario will be
designed. One common scenario that is advocated by many is developing a better tool to

convince planners of the need to include climate change in their decision-making. The use of a
„worst-case scenario‟ for developers and engineers may be enough. This technique is used for
earthquake and flood data for design criteria with equally varied information.

The link between climate change and landslides needs to be made clear. Clients will not follow
suggestions regarding planning for climate change until the correlation between landslides and
climate change is definitively made.

Production of natural hazard risk maps for specific regions would also be a useful tool. This
should include an analysis of the potential for landslides.

If climate change were part of a national standard or building code, planners would respond.

3.1.7   What information is needed for decision-makers?

Decision-makers need to understand the probability of extreme events occurring in their area.
With changes in climate, these probabilities may change and these changes need to be
communicated. Seasonal changes in climate are important, as many planning decisions are
based on expected seasonal fluctuations.

Landslide specialists need to define the links between climate change and landslide events. The
probability of landslides occurring and the intensity of future rainfall would be useful, along with
average annual precipitation and increased forest fire risks that may be associated with shifts in

Current distribution of climate stations is minimal and often rural and wild area climate data are no
longer being collected. It is also difficult to access data acquired by year round climate
monitoring. Real time climate data should be made freely available.

Socio-economic studies are needed to convince decision-makers of the need to consider climate
change. This should include a range of scenarios and be developed to examine climate
sensitivity and identify economic thresholds. Economic measures for the impacts of climate
related landslides include: loss of gross domestic product as a result of road closures, loss of
tourism income, and loss of toll revenue.

3.1.8   What is the most important information required?

       Database of landslide data, baseline data.
       Collaboration of data to refine climate models.
       North - inventory of geography of landslides, distribution and character of ground ice to
        look at the potential future hazards.
       Detailed case studies of the interaction between climate and landslides.
       Information on direct and indirect costs and a showcase for economic justification for
        proactive measures.
       Consistent tools to take to decision-makers.
       An economic model for adaptation.

3.1.9   What are the most important research questions/issues for the future?

       Understand how weather and climate behaviour will affect localized areas and specific
        transportation corridors regions.
       Create an inventory of landslides- amalgamate existing smaller inventories.
       Detailed case studies of recent landslides and climate conditions - determine the triggers
        and consider geological factors that change over time such as permafrost.

       Determine the climatic thresholds that will result in landslides, consider historic data and
        vulnerability assessments, determine which parameters affect specific landslide types.
       Use remote sensing data and techniques to create and maintain a landslide inventory
        that can be regularly updated and to determine vulnerable areas.
       Develop a landslide and climatic set of baseline data to look at the changes in frequency
        and magnitude in order to make a good economic case for design change.
       Use landslide hazard assessment technology to create a predictive model – determine
        the parameters that need to be included, choose a long transportation corridor and
        consider the risks and vulnerabilities based on climatic conditions.

3.1.10 What kind of financial, social, and technical support is needed?

Support needs to include a federal commitment with regional applications at a national scale.
Close contact with economists is required to better understand the costs of impacts. Natural
Resources Canada should set up a national database for landslides with impacts on
transportation as one element. Partnerships could be made with insurance companies or banks,
as they would benefit directly from the information. The business community may want to
become involved in this kind of initiative in order to be proactive.

3.2 Forestry

                   Participant                                           Affiliations
Facilitator: Marten Geertsema                        BC Ministry of Forestry
Joe Alcock                                           BC Ministry of Forestry
Francesco Brardinoni                                 University of British Columbia
Andrée Blais-Stevens                                 Geological Survey of Canada
Nichole Boultbee                                     Simon Fraser University
John Clague                                          Simon Fraser University
Vanessa Egginton                                     Simon Fraser University
Peter Egyir                                          BC Ministry of Forests
Rick Lee                                             Canadian Institute for Climate Studies
Mary Raines                                          Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission
Matt Sakals                                          University of British Columbia
Robin Woywitka                                       University of Calgary
Grant Zaznla                                         Simon Fraser University

3.2.1   Who and what is at risk?

Forest infrastructures and the forest itself are at risk to changes in climate, but the questions of
who and what is at risk are complex and cannot necessarily be resolved simply by mapping or
using conventional survey methods. There may be positive impacts of landslides, e.g. habitat,
which would grow as the climate changes.

The link between landslides and forest fires was highlighted, as well as impacts on fish habitat
and water quality, especially as they related to human consumption.

3.2.2   How are landslides monitored?

BC Hydro and the Ministry of Transportation monitor the slopes that they use, but there is no
comprehensive database at the province level in BC. The federal government provides data on
landslides on crown lands. Specific landslides are studied in great detail and university
researchers contribute to the monitoring effort.

There is a requirement for forestry companies to do terrain stability assessment in areas of
operation, but the information available is very sporadic. Moreover, the information is not always
accurate as to how serious the risks are.

There are many areas of BC where no good repetitive imagery (satellite, air photo) data exist.

3.2.3   Who is the first to respond?

The landowners will usually be the first ones to identify landslides, although airplane pilots flying
over the area may also be first recognize new landslide events.

The institutions that have political jurisdiction over affected lands report large landslides.
Problems arise where jurisdiction is unclear or overlapping. The forest industry has reporting
procedures, but these are informal practices rather than enforced requirements.

It is unclear whether anybody has a formal responsibility to report landslides. It is believed that
landslides have to be reported to Department of Fisheries and Oceans, as there may be legal

The forestry company is responsible for building and maintaining service roads for the areas it
works in, for the duration of their licence. The company may be the first on the site of a landslide
event if it occurs in their catchment area.

3.2.4   How do forest companies get informed and inform? Is there a network?

It is difficult to communicate if the reporter does not know the basic vocabulary, although some
companies have training programs to address this need. The reporting process is informal, but it
is in the interest of the different stakeholders to communicate.

3.2.5   The top issues related to impacts

       Impacts on people (water supply, infrastructure, death risk, etc.).
       Loss of root strength due to decay.
       Population pressure that drives people onto risky land.
       Forest fires.
       Loss of timber.
       Stability of the area (increased slope instability).
       Downstream impacts.
       Immediate impacts versus cumulative impacts.
       Infrastructure costs.
       Access cut-off (work, recreation).
       Reservoir siltation.

3.2.6   How can climate change get on the planning agenda when considering landslide risk?

It may be too early for climate change to be put on planning agendas, as there are currently
management plans in place, and their efficiency depends on how people incorporate them into
their practices. For example, forest stewardship plans are mandatory for work on Crown Lands.
The Ministry of Transportation requires professional geotechnical analysis for roads outside
communities and drainage studies are done in harvest in order to determine what kind of hazards
may be faced.

Stewardship of land often falls to municipal, provincial, territorial and federal governments. Land-
use decisions and policies that include current and expected climate change impacts may be
more welcomed by the public if the custodian roles of governments were highlighted. Economic

analysis will help decision makers realize the importance of landslides, because risk is only real
when perceived and many people do not perceive landslide risk. Increased public education on
risks would drive the process.

Clear definitions of the problems are needed before policies can be implemented at any level of
decision-making. Communication to professionals of the latest landslide - climate change related
findings might increase the profile of the issue. It is important to include a timeline with some of
the linkages: how soon should action be taken to mitigate the impacts of climate change? Once
this is determined, planners may respond.

The federal government should organize meetings with all large municipalities in areas that are
the most vulnerable to landslides (i.e. eastern and western Canada). Attending planning
meetings and insurance company meetings, and presenting the relationship between landslides
and climate change in a way that is informative to policy-makers would increase visibility of the

3.2.7   What information is needed for decision makers to decrease risks in their communities?

A widely accepted model for climate change would be useful. Evidence that climate change is
happening and how fast would reinforce this and create community buy-in.

Landslide risk assessment personnel have other research needs. Once landslides move forward
on the funding agenda, climate change may be a component.

All piecemeal information regarding landslides should be extracted and integrated into a summary
database and report. This would inform decision-makers where forestry is taking place in
Canada and where the areas of potential problems lie. Decision-makers should be presented
with landslide risk profiles, slide probability, average recurrence time and plain language reports.

Landslide risk warning should be developed for communities. This could be based on the Oregon
template, where the public is informed when a large rainfall event takes place stating the amount
of precipitation and associated debris flow risk (equivalent to wind warnings).

Data needs include geological data, geomorphic data and climatic data, as well as maintaining
seasonal monitoring stations all year long.

3.2.8   What are the most important research questions that need to be answered considering
        climate change and landslides?

       Fund advancement of understanding of landslides in forests with climate change as a
       Identify the conditions that have created landslides in the past.
       How are extremes going to change as a result of climate change?
       Risk perception: do people think that landslides are an important risk to forestry and is
        this perception going to change as a result of climate change? How much of their taxes
        are they willing to spend to mitigate these risks?
       Could proxy data be used to predict landslides that will occur as a result of global
       How will warmer temperatures impact mountain environment? Will alpine permafrost
        become more restricted? How much will glaciers retreat? How will sediment loads be
       How will the hydrographs change? Will the magnitude and timing of maximum discharge
        change? Will it affect bank erosion processes?
       Produce a map similar to Vancouver GeoScape Map for climate change.
       What kind of impacts will arise from the shift in temperature?

       Historically, in BC forest harvesting practices have been poor. Under the improved
        management regime there have been improvements. What kind of rules do we need to
        maintain these improvements, when we take climate change into account?
       Need to identify the seasonal timing of landslides. Possibility of restricting forestry
        activities during “landslide season”. Forestry activities could be restricted in areas with a
        slope above a certain threshold level since landslides tend to be associated with steep
       Economic analysis of the potential costs of landslides versus benefits of logging.
        Determine the cost of mitigation.
       Improved understanding of risks.

3.3 Planning

                    Participant                                      Affiliation
Facilitator: Julia James                            C-CIARN British Columbia
Grant Burns
Dave Cruton                                         University of Alberta
Ted Fuller                                          BC Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection
Karen Hincks                                        University of Alberta
Matthias Jakob                                      BGC Engineering
Scott McDougall                                     University of British Columbia
Jason McNamee                                       Gold Associates
John Owen                                           Simon Fraser University
David Sauchyn                                       Prairie Adaptation and Research Collaborative
Annette Schoneville
Peter Shaw                                          BC Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection
Nigel Skermer                                       Kerr Wood Leidal
Ian Spooner                                         Acadia University
Bruce Thomson                                       Environment Canada
Bill White                                          Office of Critical Infrastructure and Emergency
                                                    Preparedness Canada

3.3.1   Who and what is at risk?

Public safety, infrastructure integrity and natural resources are the most at-risk sectors that were
identified in this discussion group.

Public safety in the Maritimes and in Québec was highlighted for both urban and rural
communities. In the Prairies, there are few fatalities from landslides but more concern with new
developments as cities grow. Development concerns were also identified in BC.

Risks to infrastructure (e.g. linear corridors due to pipelines, transportation roads, hydro
transmission lines) were identified in both rural and urban areas.

Ecosystems, water quality, fisheries and land-use management were also areas of concern.

3.3.2   How are landslides monitored?

Currently, landslide sites are not monitored in Newfoundland or Nova Scotia and there is little
expertise in geomorphology/hydrology. Québec uses more proactive techniques, but that is only
after experiencing a major disaster. Outside of the forestry industry in BC, the province used a
reactive approach to monitoring landslides.

Landslide hazard maps and hazard assessment are being carried out at the local government
level. Engineering consultants usually perform the assessments, as the local government may

not have the expertise. Private consultant surveys are very detailed, unlike provincial or national
surveys, but they are rarely shared.

3.3.3   What are the main issues that need to be addressed in relation to the impacts of

       Data and monitoring: rain gauges need be standardized across Canada.
       Maintenance of public safety, education municipalities, homeowners.
       Accessibility of information, expert capacity.
       Communication barriers.

3.3.4   How can climate change get on the planning agenda?

Relating rainfall events to climate change is required before action will be taken on incorporating
landslides and climate change on the planning agenda. Before this can be done, general
education on climate and climate change will be needed.

Identifying potential hazards, translating the information, and assessing the impacts at the
community level are important links that must be made. The need for funding to get climate
change into the planning agenda includes a need for a cost-benefit analyses that include offset
costs. Amending the National Building Code to include climate change impacts may be a
reasonable goal in the short term.

When climate change issues and knowledge are common among voters, pressure in the political
agenda will be generated. This can begin with municipalities identifying the main issues of their
communities that are affected by climate change. Simplifying existing information and presenting
it in an engaging way is a good first step.

3.3.5   What kind of info is needed for decision-makers to decrease risk in their communities?

Decision-makers need to understand climate variability and how it affects landslides before
climate change and its link to landslides can be understood.

Natural hazard maps at the county level - 1:5,000 in rural areas, 1:2,000 for hazard maps would
be useful to municipal engineers. It is important to recognize that this and any research projects
should begin with information users and be developed around their needs.

Currently, the BC Ministry of Water Air and Land Protection is the only provincial entity with
interests related to climate change and adaptation measures, but an increased number of
provincial players are required. Developing a consortium between practitioners and experts with
discussion results carried to the central decision-makers in Canada would be an good beginning
for two-way communication.

3.3.6   What are the most important research questions that need be considered regarding
        climate change and landslides?

       What are the climatic triggers and landslide types in various biogeoclimatic zones? How
        have climatic triggers changed over time, in the future? What are the local impacts of
        climate change?
       Develop an inventory of these landslide types. Can we identify sites and environments
        that act as models?
       How to distinguish between meteorological events as opposed to climatic events?
       How valid is the time series? Is it continuous or biased?
       When will climate change effects be visible enough to generate significant

       What are the magnitude and frequency relationships with respect to a changing climate
        and landslides?
       Do we learn the most by documenting from past events?

4.0 Workshop Themes

There were areas where the sectors agreed on the issues surrounding climate change and
landslides. The transportation, forestry, and planning representatives identified public safety, the
environment, and infrastructure as common areas of concern. They focused on the implications
for communities and the growing dependence on increasingly risky regions. Lack of data was
recognized as a major issue for the sectors, the need for increased climate monitoring stations
and year-round monitoring were noted. The research questions that the sectors agreed on can
be grouped into:

       The need for case studies.
       Seasonal timing, magnitude and frequency of landslides under a new climate regime.
       Identifying climate triggers for landslides.

4.1 Linking Climate Change and Landslides

The link between climate and landslides has been established by most of the morning speakers,
but uncertainty exists as to the regional and local impacts of the predicted changes. Downscaling
the impacts of a changed climate remains a challenge, but existing relationships between
landslides and climate provides insight into the complexity of climate change and landslide
events. Most discussion groups identified that a clear link between climate change and its affect
on landslides is an issue that needs to be resolved and communicated to decision-makers.

Understanding the risks and consequences of the impacts of climate change on landslides in
Canada is important for making sound planning decisions. Changes in the frequency, magnitude,
and distribution of landslides directly related to climate change need to be identified. The roles of
extreme events as well as climate thresholds are critical when considering landslide risks and
climate change.

4.2 Information Needs for Decision-Makers

Information needs can be categorized into the following sections, but none can be addressed in

Databases: Each breakout group identified the need for comprehensive databases of historic
landslides. Continual updating of future landslide events is required. Integrated national,
provincial and regional databases would be an asset to decision-makers.

Hazard Maps: Hazard maps are required for existing areas that are susceptible to landslides. As
community populations grow, development is occurring at higher elevations, increasing the
vulnerability to landslides. Hazard assessments could be created as an input for a predictive
model of landslide activity. Maps of areas that will be at risk under different climatic conditions
would better inform planners. Currently, there are limited hazard maps at the appropriate scale
for decision-making and those that have been created are not often public.

Data Needs:
Seasonal changes in climate are important, as many planning decisions are based on expected
seasonal fluctuations. Data needs include geological, geomorphic and climatic data, as well as
maintaining seasonal monitoring stations year round. Current distribution of climate stations is
minimal and often rural and wild area climate data are no longer being collected.

Datasets for the probability of landslide occurrence and the relationship to intensity of future
rainfall are required. Average annual precipitation, permafrost maps, forest fire risks and
probability of extreme events occurring in their area would help decision-makers.

Tool Development:
The most useful tools for decision-makers are linking a changing climate and landslide risk,
creating databases of landslides in their region, and landslide hazard mapping at a finer

    Model Needs:
     A widely accepted model for climate change. Evidence that climate change is happening
       and how fast would reinforce this and create community buy-in.
     Digital elevation models that better reflect landslide risks.
     Downscaling that accurately predicts long-term precipitation changes on a regional or
       local scale.
     Socio-economic studies that include a range of scenarios, examine climate sensitivity
       and identify economic thresholds.

    Maps, Databases, Warning System Needs:
     Comprehensive permafrost maps.
     Natural Hazard Maps at the county scale.
     A summary database of landslides, landslide risk profiles, slide probability, average
       recurrence time and plain language reports.
     Development of landslide risk warning system.

Decision-makers need to understand climate variability and how it affects landslides as well as
the links between climate change and landslides. Landslide risk assessment personnel have
many research needs. Climate change may be a component in future work.

Landslide expertise is not evenly distributed in Canada and regions with fewer landslides events
need to make decisions that consider future land use in the context of climate change and
landslide risk.

Developing a consortium between practitioners and experts with results carried to the central
decision-makers in Canada would be a good beginning for two-way communication.

5.0 Conclusion

The formal presentations and breakout discussion groups generated considerable discussion
among the workshop participants, which resulted in a substantial amount of information related to
climate change and landslides. Each working group compiled substantive lists of whom and what
are at risk to landslides, how landslides are monitored in Canada, and how landslide events are
initially detected. Workshop participants addressed the question of how to best integrate
landslide risks, climate change and planning. The needs of decision-makers and researchers
with respect to climate change and landslides were identified. Finally, the future commitments
required; including data, financial support and communication, were considered.

Overall feedback from participants was positive. The workshop succeeded in improving
awareness of vulnerability to landslide risk and climate change. In addition, the interactive
presentations and breakout sessions enabled participants to network, develop new contacts, and
exchange knowledge. The lists of research and decision-maker needs that were developed may
assist communities to better develop capacity for landslide risk decision-making.

Information compiled from the discussions at this workshop has been compiled into a matrix that
captures the contributions of the transportation, forestry and planning sectors to the afternoon
discussions. This matrix will be distributed to workshop participants, funding agencies, various
municipal planning offices and other interested parties in an attempt to highlight the need for new
and continued research, the value of dialogue, and the role of climate change and landslides in
planning decisions.

6.0 Acknowledgements

C-CIARN Landscape Hazards depends on the support of many individuals and institutions. This
workshop owes its much of its success to the contributions of Simon Fraser University and the
International Consortium on Landslides.

We would like to thank our speakers who presented outstanding information, answered questions
skilfully and generously participated in the breakout groups.

Appreciation is extended to Réjean Couture, Marten Geertsema, and Julia James who willingly
undertook the difficult task of facilitating breakout groups and expertly ensured a productive
outcome for the workshop.

Members of our Advisory Committee provided valuable advice in the planning of the workshop.
Special thanks are extended to Peter Bobrowsky for his contributions to the agenda and to
Patricia Howie for facilitating the discussion periods.

Thanks are also extended to Stephanie Grand, Ione Smith and Daniel Galland for their behind the
scenes contributions and their excellent note taking.

C-CIARN Landscape Hazards would like to thank all of the participants who contributed to the
questions and discussions and ensured the success of the workshop.

                                             Appendix A: Agenda

  Landscape Hazards

                                Vulnerability to Landslide Risk to Climate Change
                                        October 31, 2003 Vancouver, BC

 Friday, October 31
 8:00                              Refreshments
 8:15 Welcome
         Tanuja Kulkarni, C-CIARN Landscape Hazards Coordinator
         Andrée Blais-Stevens, C-CIARN Landscape Hazards Manager

 8:30 Climate Variability and Future Change
      Rick Lee, Canadian Institute for Climate Studies, University of Victoria

 8:50 Causes and Triggers of Landslides in Canada
      John Clague, Simon Fraser University

 9:10 Landslides in Atlantic Canada – a review
      Ian Spooner, Acadia University

 9:30    Hydroclimatic Triggers of Landslides in South-eastern Ontario and Quebéc Lowlands
         Didier Perret, Geological Survey of Canada

 9:50 Landslide Risk and Climate Change in the Interior Plains
      Dave Sauchyn, Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative

 10:10                               Break

 10:40 Permafrost and Landslide Initiation in Northern Canada: Changing Climate, Changing Roles
       Antoni Lewkowicz, University of Ottawa

 11:00 Debris Flow Occurrence and Climate Change in Coastal B.C.: Complexity on a Regional Scale
       Matthias Jakob, BGC Engineering

 11:20 Impacts of Climate Change on Landslides in the Forests of Northern British
       Marten Geertsema, BC Ministry of Forests

 11:40 Landslides in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor
       Rob Buchanan, BC Ministry of Transportation and Highways

12:00     Questions for Panel

12:30                      Lunch

Afternoon Breakout Groups: Transportation, Forestry, Planning

1:30 Impacts:
                   Who and what is at risk?
                   How are landslides monitored?
                   Who is the first to respond to landslide events?
                   How are they informed, trained?

2:30 Adaptation/Risk Management:
               How can climate change get on the planning agenda when considering
                landslide risk?
               What information is needed for decision makers to decrease risks in their
                communities, and from whom?

3:30                                      Break

4:00 Future:
                 What are the most important research questions that need to be answered
                  considering climate and landslides?
                 What kind of commitment is needed – financial, social, technical, other?

4:45                Plenary

5:00 Summary of the Day
              Patricia Howie, Praxis Pacific

5:30   Thank you, end

Saturday, November 1
Fieldtrip: Sea-to-Sky Highway

8:00   Depart from Crowne Plaza Hotel
5:00   Return to Crowne Plaza Hotel

                                                                         Appendix B: Participant List
Name               Organization                        Address                        City        Prov Postal Code   E-mail Address                     Telephone
Joe Alcock         B.C. Ministry of Forests,           Box 1694                       Golden      BC   V0A 1H0         (250) 344-7521
                   Southern Interior Region
Ahren Bichler      University of Victoria              8570 Osler St.                 Vancouver   BC   V6P 4E4                     (604) 264-1611
Andrée Blais-      C-CIARN Landscape Hazards,          532-601 Booth St.              Ottawa      ON   K1A 0E8                 (613) 947-2787
Stevens            Geological Survey of Canada
Brian Bornhold     Coastal & Ocean Resources Inc.,     214-9865 West Saanich Rd Sidney            BC   V8L 5Y8         (250) 655-4035
                   University of Victoria
Nichole Boultbee   Simon Fraser University             808 Porteau Pl.                Vancouver   BC   V7H2S2                (604) 291-4165
Francesco          University of British Columbia,     1984 West Mall                 Vancouver   BC   V6T 1Z2               (604) 822-2663
Brardinoni         Geography Department
Rob Buchanan       BC Ministry of Transportation and   940 Blanshard St.              Victoria    BC   V8W 3E6                                          (250) 387-7702
Chris Bunce        Canadian Pacific Railway,           401 - 9th Ave SW               Calgary     AB   T2P 4Z4                 403 319-6838
                   University of Alberta
Grant Burns                                            7034 Sierra Dr.                Burnbay     BC   V5A 1A5            (604) 779-4651
John Clague        Department of Earth Science,        Simon Fraser University        Burnaby     BC   V5A 1S6                     (604) 291-4924
                   Canada Research Chair
Réjean Couture     Geological Survey of Canada         399-601 Booth St.              Ottawa      ON   K1A 0E8               (613) 943-5237
Jim Dunkley        Ministry of Forests                 2100 Labieux Rd.               Nanaimo     BC   V9T 6E9        (250) 751-7352
Vanessa Egginton Simon Fraser University               2028 Hamilton Hall,            Burnaby     BC   V5A 1S6                    (604) 630-6000
                                                       8888 University Way                                                                              ext.1046
Del Ferguson       Aztec Geoscience Inc.               216 Dogwood Dr.                Ladysmith   BC   V9G 1S8                  (250) 245-4746
Lara Fletcher      EBA Engineering Consultants         Fifth Floor, Sun Life Plaza,   Vancouver   BC   V6E 4A6                   (604) 685-0275
                                                       1100 Melville St.
Ted Fuller         BC Ministry of Water,               1259 Dalhousie Dr.             Kamloops    BC   V2C 5Z5         (250) 371-6271
                   Land & Air Protection
Daniel Galland     University of British Columbia                                     Vancouver   BC
Marten Geertsema BC Ministry of Forests                1011-4th Ave.                  Prince      BC   V2L 3H9   (250) 565-6923
Tim Giles          BC Forest Service                   515 Columbia St.               Kamloops    BC   V2C 2T7          (250) 828-4168
Stephanie Grand    University of British Columbia                                     Vancouver   BC       
Alain Grignon      Geological Survey of Canada         601 Booth St.                  Ottawa      ON   K1A 0E8               (613) 947-8773
Rick Guthrie        BC Ministry of Water,               2080 Labieux Rd.             Nanaimo      BC   V9T 6J9   (250) 751-3138
                    Land and Air Protection
Karen Hincks        University of Alberta               8108 132 Ave.                Edmonton     AB   T5C 2B4               (780) 951-9724
Crystal Huscroft    Yukon Geological Survey             2099 2nd Ave.                Whitehorse YT     Y1A 1B5        (867) 393-7187
Lionel Jackson      Geological Survey of Canada         101-605 Robson St.           Vancouver    BC   V6B 5J3              (604) 931-6683
Matthias Jakob      BGC Engineering                     401-3235 W 4th Ave.          Vancouver    BC   V6Z 2A9          (604) 684-5900
Julia James         C-CIARN British Columbia,           436A-2206 East Mall          Vancouver    BC   V6T 1Z3            (604) 822-4428
                    University of British Columbia
Tanuja Kulkarni     C-CIARN Landscape Hazards,          504-601 Booth St.            Ottawa       ON   K1A 0E8       (613) 992-0581
                    Geological Survey of Canada
Rick Lee            University of Victoria,             130 Saunders Annex,          Victoria     BC   V8W 2Y2                     (250) 472-4291
                    Canadian Institute for Climate      PO Box 1700 STN CSC
Mark Leir           BGC Engineering Inc.                500-1045 Howe St.            Vancouver    BC   V6Z 2A9           (604) 684-5900
Antoni Lewkowicz    University of Ottawa                Department of Geography      Ottawa       ON   K1N 6N5               (613) 562-5972
Panya Lipovsky      Yukon Geological Survey             2099 2nd Ave.                Whitehorse YT     Y1A 1B5          (867) 667-8520
Stefan B. Lopatka                                       PO Box 1269                  Cambridge    NT   X0B 0C0              (867) 983-2517
Scott McDougall     Univeristy of British Columbia      6339 Stores Rd.              Vancouver    BC   V6T 1Z4               (604) 822-5493
Jason McNamee       Golder Associates Ltd.              Suite 220 - 174 Wilson St.   Victoria     BC   V9A 7N6               (250) 881-7372
Stephen Ngo         BC Ministry of Forest               2100 Labieux Rd.             Nanaimo      BC   V9T 6E9       (250) 751-7031
Didier Perret       Geological Survey of Canada         880 Chemin Ste-Foy           Québec       QC   G1S 2L2               (418) 654-2686
Alan Polster        Parks Canada                        Box 350                      Revelstoke   BC   V0E 2S0             (250) 814-5206
Michael Porter      BGC Engineering Inc.                500-1045 Howe St.            Vancouver    BC   V6Z 2A9         (604) 684-5900
Mark Pritchard                                          500-1045 Howe St.            Vancouver    BC   V6Z 2A9      (604) 684-5900
Terry Rollerson     Golder Asssociates Ltd.             1462 Broadview Rd.           Gabriola     BC   V0R 1X0             (250) 247-9802
David Sauchyn       Paraire Adaptation Resarch          6 Research Dr.               Regina       SK   S4S 7J7                (306) 337-2299
Annette             University College of the Cariboo   6029 Dallas Dr.              Kamloops     BC   V2C 5Z9          (250) 573-2262
James Schwab        BC Forest Service                   P.O. Bag 6000                Smithers     BC   V0J 2N0        (250) 847-6390

Jordan Severin    University of British Columbia   6339 Stores Rd.        Vancouver   BC   V6T 1Z4             (604) 822-5493
Timothy Smith     Westrek Geotechnical Services    15839 Cliff Ave.       White Rock BC    V4B 1W7          (604) 535-7699
Ian Spooner       Acadia Univerisity,              Acadia University      Wolfville   NS   B4P 2R6          (902) 585-1312
                  Department of Geology
Bert Struik       Geological Survey of Canada      101-605 Robson St.     Vancouver   BC   V6B 5J3             (604) 666-6413
Bruce Thomson     BC Ministry of Water,            10470 - 152 St.        Surrey      BC   V3R 0Y3   (604) 582-5350
                  Land and Air Protection
Douglas VanDine   VanDine Geol Engng Ltd           267 Wildwood Ave.      Victoria    BC   V8S 3W2           (250) 598-1025
Jon Y Wang        Environment Canada               201-401 Burrard St.    Vancouver   BC   V6C 3S5               (604) 664-9237
Paul Whitfield    Meteorological Service of Canada 201-401 Burrard St.    Vancouver   BC   V6C 3S5         (604) 664-9238
Robin Woywitka    University of Calgary            215, 3226-24 Ave. NW   Calgary     AB   T2N 4V3            (403) 210-7020

                               Appendix C: Presentation Abstracts

Climate Variability and Future Change
Rick Lee, Canadian Institute for Climate Studies, University of Victoria

Warming and increased precipitation has been observed in many regions of Canada during the
past century. Climate "normals" and extremes based on much less than 100 years length often
form the basis for designing infrastructure in Canada. These so-called "normals" are affected by
climate variability and when taken in a longer context, they are unlikely to represent the full range
of climate extremes from the past or the future.

Climate change scenarios for a wide range of variables are now available for Canada from the
Canadian Climate Impacts Scenarios Project. While emission and climate scenarios contain
uncertainty, particularly in regard to magnitude, the projected direction of climate change amongst
climate models is consistent:- continued warming and increased precipitation for much of

Causes and Triggers of Landslides in Canada
John Clague, Canada Research Chair in Natural Hazard Research, Simon Fraser University

Consideration of landslide risk requires that a distinction be made between the integrated
geologic and topographic factors that precondition a slope to failure (referred to in this
presentation as causes) and the specific, typically minor events that trigger failure. I illustrate the
distinction in my presentation with examples of historic landslides in Canada, including those at
Frank, Hope, Jane Camp, and Lemieux. I argue that most large (>10 6 m3), rapid landslides in
bedrock happen after hundreds to thousands of years of slow slope deterioration.

The stability of the deforming rock mass reaches a threshold, after which a seemingly trivial event
triggers catastrophic failure. Slow deterioration of rock slopes, however, is temporally nonlinear
and is closely linked to changes in climate on timescales of decades to centuries. Such nonlinear
behavior is evident in the movement history of earthflows in southern British Columbia and
probably characterizes slow deep-seated movements of sagging slopes, which are very common
in the Canadian Cordillera. In contrast, small (<10 5 m3) landslides, including most debris flows,
debris avalanches, and rockfalls, are more sensitive to climate variation on shorter, seasonal to
decadal timescales.

Antecedent climate conditions may affect the incidence of small landslides, but single storms with
moderate return periods are perhaps the primary causes of debris flows and debris avalanches,
and much rockfall activity is closely associated with recurrent freeze-thaw cycles. Changes in the
frequency of small slope failures may thus accompany changes in climate on short timescales,
caused, for example, by variations in oceanic circulation (PDO, ENSO). In a similar vein, a close
relation exists between earthquakes and small to moderate-sized landslides; the association is
less evident for very large landslides. Indeed, few very large landslides are triggered by
earthquakes. An important point to bear in mind is that small, more frequent landslides pose a
much greater overall risk to people and property than large, rarer ones.

Landslides in Atlantic Canada – a review
Ian Spooner, Department of Geology, Acadia University
                1              2              3                 3                         4
David Liverman , Norm Catto , Ian Spooner , Kimberly Wahl and G Wayne McAskill
        1. Geological Survey of Newfoundland and Labrador
        2. Department of Geography Memorial University of Newfoundland
        3. Department of Geology, Acadia University
        4. Nova Scotia Department of Transportation & Public Works
Landslides and other slope movements have not been thought to be a major hazard in Atlantic
Canada (Cruden et al. 1989). Examination of the distribution of Canadian landslide disasters (a
disaster is defined as a landslide causing three or more fatalities) supports this belief in that only
two such events out of forty-three listed by Evans (2001) occurred in the region It is misleading to
assume, however, that landslides are insignificant in the area. There may be up to 68 fatalities in
Newfoundland alone from landslides (Liverman et al. 2001); and although no deaths are known
from the other Atlantic provinces, landslides have a significant impact on transportation, forestry
and other areas. The worst landslide disaster in the Atlantic provinces is the poorly substantiated
Ferryland disaster of circa 1823, when 42 fisherman apparently were killed by rockfall when a
cave roof collapsed onto them (White, 1902). In addition 28 deaths resulted from the tsunami
that struck the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland in 1929, caused by a large submarine landslide
triggered by an earthquake.

Newfoundland and Labrador
A variety of slope movement are found in Newfoundland and Labrador, including debris torrents,
rotational slumps, sackung, and rockfalls. Debris torrents tend to be the most hazardous to life,
generally being triggered by high rainfall events, and being relatively fast-moving. They are
widespread in the province and frequently pose problems for highway engineering. Typically a
thin cover of till overlies a steeply sloping bedrock substrate. When failure occurs, the resulting
debris flow incorporates surface vegetation, large boulders, as well as the till. Other examples
involve fluvial sediments overlying till. Rotational slumps are mostly found in the major river
valleys of coastal Labrador, where a stratigraphy of outwash overlying thick glaciomarine clays is
common. High cut-banks of the river frequently fail, giving rise to large rotational slumps. These
failures have had little effect on human activities to date, but will be an important consideration in
hydro electric development of the lower Churchill River. Rockfalls generally consist of the topple
or fall of single blocks. They are common occurrences, but rarely fatal or destructive. Several
fatalities have occurred when victims have been working at the base of coastal cliffs, or climbing
on unstable slopes. Although damage to property is frequent, no fatalities are known from
residences, and only a single serious injury. Protective fences have been installed in three
locations in recent years to protect houses from rock fall (Springdale, St. John‟s, and Upper
Island Cove). “Sackung” (large rock slumps) are slow moving and can be very large. Twenty-four
examples were identified by Grant (1974), mostly developed in the ultramafic rocks of western
Newfoundland, but do not appear to form a significant hazard.

Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia also suffers from frequent landslides, but there is at present no record of fatalities
resulting from them. Although found throughout the province, the most susceptible area is Cape
Breton. Finck (1992), Grant (1994) and Wahl (2003) identified numerous debris torrent/
avalanche scars in the Cape Breton highlands. These are complex failures involving rock topple,
rotational slip, translational sliding and flow. The deep glacially cut gorges contain steep rock cliffs
from which rockfall is a frequent event (as shown by extensive talus slopes), and in places large
scale rock slumps (sackung) have been recognized (Grant 1994). In terms of impact, the largest
landslide consisted of a series of slope failures that caused almost complete destruction of part of
the road at Kelly‟s Mountain in 1982. Other smaller landslides frequently affect transportation
routes, and most commonly occur during the spring, as thawing of frozen ground leaves slopes

New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island
Carboniferous and Permian clastic redbeds along the Gulf of St. Lawrence coastlines of New
Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are subject to incremental slope failures resulting from a
combination of marine undercutting and frost action. Locally, saturation of the bedrock and
overlying Quaternary deposits resulting from agricultural practices has contributed to debris flow
and creep failures. Quaternary bluffs along the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, notably at Red
Head near Saint John, show suffered slope failure involving debris flow, frost creep, and
slumping. Block failures resulting from frost action have affected coastal cliffs along the Bay of

Fundy and Baie des Chaleurs. Rotational sliding has accompanied frost heave in the
Precambrian units at Saint John, Saint Martins, and Fundy National Park (Ruitenberg et al. 1976).

Cruden, D.M., Bornhold, B.D., Chagnon, J.Y., Evans, S.G., Heginbottom, J.A., Locat, J., Moran,
    K., Piper, D.J.W., Powell, R. Prior, D.B., Quigley, R.M. and Thomson, S., 1989, Landslides;
    Extent and Economic Significance in Canada: in Landslides; Extent and Economic
    Significance (ed. Brabb, E.E.) A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, p. 1-23.
Evans, S.G. 2001: Landslides. In: A Synthesis of geological hazards in Canada. Geological
    Survey of Canada Bulletin 548, edited by G.R Brooks, p 43-80.
Finck P.W. 1993: An Evaluation of Debris Avalanches in the Central Cape Breton Highlands,
    Nova Scotia, Mines and Energy Branch, Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources,
    Paper 93-1, 65 pages.
Grant, D.R. 1974. Terrain studies of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia and of the Northern
    Peninsula, Newfoundland. In Report of Activities, Part A, Geological Survey of Canada,
    Paper 74-1A, 157-160.
Grant D.G. 1994: Quaternary Geology, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Geological Survey of
    Canada Bulletin 482, 159 pages.
Liverman D.G.E., Batterson M.J., Taylor D., and Ryan J. 2001. Geological hazards and disasters
    in Newfoundland. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 38, 936-956.
Ruitenberg A.A., McCutcheon S.R. and Venugopal D.V., 1976: Recent gravity sliding and coastal
    erosion, Devils Half Acre, Fundy Park, New Brunswick: geological explanation of an old
    legend. Geoscience Canada, 3, p. 237-239.
White, J.W., 1902. Ferryland – what doth not appear in history. Newfoundland Quarterly, March

Hydroclimatic triggers of landslides in southeastern Ontario and Quebéc lowlands
Didier Perret, Geological Survey of Canada
No abstract available.

Landslide Risk and Climate Change in the Interior Plains
David Sauchyn, Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative, University of Regina

Mass wasting generally is not associated with landscapes of low relief. Thus the perception of the
Interior Plains as flat and stable contrasts with the significance of mass wasting as a process of
Holocene landscape modification. Landslides are ubiquitous in the major river valleys and in
incised tributary valleys. Geologic and geomorphic factors that favour landsliding are 1) over-
consolidation of the Cretaceous shales, 2) local deformation from ice thrusting and rebound of
strata under incising valleys, 3) rapid downcutting by glacial meltwater and post-glacial streams,
4) regional fracturing of bedrock and Quaternary sediments, 5) large gradients in vertical
hydraulic conductivity, and 6) lateral shifting of stream channels. Slope instability is associated
with high or perched water tables, nonhomogeneous groundwater pressure, and increased
hydrostatic pressure from rapid drawdown of groundwater during recession of flood water or rapid
valley incision.

Massive retrogressive gravity creep, involving residual angles of shearing resistance, causes
bedrock and drift to move towards valley floors at rates ranging from centimeters to meters (in
exceptional cases) per year. Individual rotational landslides typically extend for several
kilometers along valley sides and can cover tens of square kilometers. As landsliding is
retrogressive in space and transgressive in time, an individual slide records several periods of
activity. Many apparently inactive landslides may be moving at rates too slow to detect without
careful monitoring. They also are easily reactivated by any process or event that increases the
prevailing stress or decreases the frictional resistance to shear.

Historic landslides have been triggered by lateral stream channel migration or by groundwater
recharge and positive pore water pressure related to wet cool years, major rainfalls and melting of
deep snowpacks. Correlating landslides and past climate changes is constrained by the coarse
resolution of most paleoclimatic records and poor dating control of landslide chronologies.
Periods of landsliding have been linked to wetter and cooler climate regimes. Therefore, if global
warming is accompanied by increased aridity as forecast, slopes should become more stable with
respect to landsliding. Drier conditions will deplete groundwater and stream flow, the two
principal agents of slope failure. A drier climate could result, however, in an increased demand
for irrigation water, potentially increasing slope stability problems associated with excess
irrigation. Also the increased frequency of extreme events, and specifically storms and floods,
could generate more landslides, although these would have a more random spatial and temporal
distribution than those associated with higher regional water tables and stream flow.

Permafrost and landslide initiation in northern Canada: changing climate, changing roles
Antoni Lewkowicz, Department of Geography, University of Ottawa

Under stable environmental conditions, permafrost plays varying roles in relation to landsliding in
the Canadian North: (1) it can be a catalyst (e.g., debris flows); (2) it can be passive, but essential
to landslide initiation (e.g.,detachment slides); (3) in some circumstances it may even promote
stability (e.g. in ice-bonded rock slopes). If the climate warms, these roles will change. Both the
frequency and magnitude of landsliding will be affected as the degradation of permafrost
becomes a significant trigger. However, landsliding is still expected to have a relatively minor
economic impact and, given low population densities, to impinge upon few people directly.
Infrastructure at risk includes pipelines (NWT) and roads (particularly in the Yukon). The most
important effects of changing landsliding frequencies may be ecological, affecting those
northerners who rely on the land.

Debris flow occurrence and climate change in coastal B.C.: Complexity on a regional scale
Matthias Jakob, BGC Engineering

The assertion that more rain will lead to a higher frequency of debris flows is simplistic,
unscientific and does not do justice to the complexity of the climate-landslide interaction.

Global circulation models predict that coastal B.C. will receive more rain in the decades to come,
yet downscaling methods are too inaccurate to allow the accurate prediction of long-term
precipitation changes on a regional or local scale, particularly in complex topography. Apart from
insufficient knowledge as to the magnitude and temporal distribution of total annual precipitation,
very little is known about changes in rainfall intensity that also affect debris flow occurrence.

Climate and weather influences debris flow occurrence in many ways. A recent study identified
hydroclimatic thresholds for debris flow occurrence on the North Shore Mountains of Vancouver.
This study has identified a complex interaction of long-term and short-term antecedent rainfall as
well as storm rainfall intensity combined with streamflow data as a measure of forest soil
saturation. A separate study of changes in rainfall intensities in the GVRD has demonstrated that
there are no long-term increases in rainfall intensity but that rainfall intensities may be driven by
cyclic pattern in accordance with long-wave Pacific Ocean oscillations.

Apart from climatological aspects, debris flows can only occur if sufficient material has
accumulated in supply-limited channel systems to allow debris flow development. Accumulation
rates are associated with climate through physical weathering processes. Statements on the
change of debris flow occurrence with a change in climate will necessitate an understanding of
the climate – debris recharge interaction, the analysis of changes in the exceedance frequency of
hydroclimatic thresholds, an understanding of how oceanic circulation pattern influence this
exceedance frequency and the role of long-term changes in snowline and snowwater equivalent.

Impacts of climate change on landslides in the forests of northern British Columbia
Marten Geertsema, BC Ministry of Forests

Climate is an important variable in landslide occurrence and thus climate change is expected to
impact landslides. Global circulation models predict wetter and warmer conditions for northern

Precipitation factors are complex. Season of precipitation (rain vs. snow), duration and intensity,
antecedent conditions, and the shifting of storm tracks are all important variables. Landslides that
respond rapidly to increases in precipitation include rock fall, shallow debris slides, and
sometimes debris flows and rock avalanches, although these involve more complex factors.
Landslides that have delayed (up to several years) responses to increases in precipitation include
deep-seated landslides, subaqueous landslides, and other complex landslides. Some landslides
are triggered by bank erosion, and thus may be sensitive to increased discharge in watercourses.

Increases in temperature may lead to the degradation of northern and mountain permafrost, and
thus decrease slope stability. The resulting landslides can be several kilometres long. Warming
will also lead to glacier retreat and thinning in many areas. Glacier shrinkage will result in the
debuttressing of slopes, decreasing their stability.

To predict the impacts of climate change on landslides we need to understand the relationship
between historic and prehistoric landslides and climate. To measure the effect of climate on
present-day landslide hazards it is essential that we maintain a thorough network of climate and
hydrometric stations.

Landslides in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor
Rob Buchanan, BC Ministry of Transportation and Highways

Access to the 2010 Olympics will take place through the geologically and seismically active, Sea-
to-Sky Corridor. Massive rockslides, debris torrents, mud flows and rockfalls are prevalent along
much of the route. They impact on local communities, as well as the highway, railway and hydro
power utilities which occupy the corridor. Nine lives have been lost to these hazards and over
$30 million dollars have been spent in the last 25 years, simply to mitigate the impacts. Creation
of civil defense zones to restrict development, debris basin and control work structures as well as
dyking, rock bolting and meshing are some of the techniques employed to reduce the impacts of
landslide activity along the Sea-to-Sky corridor. All this takes place in an area affected by El Niño
and La Niña ocean currents which create short term climatic changes.

                                                            Appendix D: Matrix of Discussion
             (green- climate change and landslide link; red- database issue; blue – hazard mapping issue; bold- cross sector agreement)
          IMPACTS              Transportation                             Forestry                                        Planning
Who and what is at risk?         Public health and safety, especially       Water quality, fish                           Public
                                     in the North                           Forestry infrastructure                        Infrastructure
                                  Production lines                         Forestry                                        Natural resources
                                  Environment
How are landslides                Not monitored in the North               BC Hydro monitors their slopes                 Not monitored in NFLD, NS
monitored?                        Real time v. long term monitoring is     No database for provincial slides              Limited local hazard maps
                                    different                               Some landslides studied
                                  BC has a 5 year hazard map               Government data exist for limited crown
                                  Can place weather monitors                 lands
Who are the first to respond?     Railways – the following train           Usually landowners                             Little experience in the east,
                                  Enroute helicopters                      Institutions with political jurisdiction         reactive responses in BC
                                  All roads are driven once a week        (conflict when unclear or overlapping)
                                                                            Informal reporting for the forest industry –
                                                                              responsibility unclear
                                                                            Company working is responsible for
                                                                              building and maintaining forest service
                                                                              roads for the duration of their licence
What are the top issues?          Understanding risk/consequences          Growing populations on increasingly            Public safety
                                  Implications for communities               risky land areas                              Communication and education
                                  Future risk zone mapping                 Fire, loss of timber                           Monitoring of rain gauges and
                                                                            Immediate cumulative impacts                     standard data
                                                                            Infrastructure                                 Expertise, political will
                                                                            Downstream effects – siltation, access
How can climate change get        Good literature                          Widely accepted climate change                 Fund research
on the planning agenda?           Proven landslide-climate change link       model                                         Educate experts
                                  Expert advise on scenario, model         Manage current risk of landslide first,        Change national building
                                    use                                       climate change risk will follow                 code
                                  National building code                   Educate public, professionals,                 Hazard assessment
                                  Historical examples of changes             planners, insurers
                                  Hazard maps                              Create a database of landslides
                                                                              correlated to climate indicators
What information do decision    Extreme event probabilities                 Evidence of climate change, rate of           Hazard maps of different scales
makers need?                    Seasonal changes                             change                                        Research considering end
                                Forest fire risks                           Slide probability and recurrence time          users
                                Increased number of climate                 Monitoring all year round
                                  stations                                   Plain language reports
                                Rural area data                             Public education on the geography of
                                Defined landslide risk-climate change        forestry in Canada
                                Socio-economic study with risk ranges
What are the most important     Determine how weather will affect           Identify historic landslides                  What are the climatic triggers
research questions that need     specific areas/transportation corridors     Identify the role of extreme events            and the landslide types in
to be answered?                 How can satellite information be used       Are landslides an important risk factor to     various biogeoclimatic zones
                                 to create/maintain a database of             forestry, will this change with climate        and how do they change?
                                 landslides                                   change?                                       What are the regional
                                Determine climate thresholds for            Can we use spatial analogues?                  implications for climate
                                 landslides                                  Impacts on mountain environments,              change?
                                Develop baseline data, examine               alpine permafrost, glacier retreat,           Is the climate time series
                                 changes in frequency and                     sediment load?                                 continuous or biased?
                                 magnitude                                   Changes in the hydrography- magnitude,        Determine the role of
                                Design changes based on economic             timing, discharge, effect on bank              historical data
                                 factors                                      erosion?                                      Timing of impacts of climate
                                Detailed case studies of landslides         Create a climate change hazard map             change, relationship to
                                 and climate                                 Creation of forest harvesting guideline to     magnitude and frequency
                                Hazard assessment to create a                include climate change                         relationships of landslides?
                                 predictive model                            Seasonal timing of landslides                 Identify sites to act as
                                Amalgamate existing inventories of          Cost-benefit analyses of logging vs.           models
                                 landslides                                   landslide impacts                             Do we learn the most by
                                                                             Better understanding of risks                  documenting from past events?
What kind of commitment is      Federal funding – national scope            Funding for the understanding                 All types of financial resources
needed?                           with regional implications                  landslides independent of climate             Commitment to addressing the
                                Close contact with economists                change                                         research questions
                                Involvement of private industry             Data needs: historic, geological,
                                National landslide databases                 geomorphic, climatic
                                Partner with insurance companies,           Communication

                         Appendix E: Question Period for Panel

Question 1: (posed to Rob Buchanan) Measures have been taken to reduce landslide risk
for the Sea-to-Sky highway. Have they been effective?

Answer 1: There have been no damaging events since they‟ve been implemented (Rob
Buchanan, Ministry of Transportation)

Question 2: (posed to Rob Buchanan) Are there plans taking into account climate change?

Answer 2: No, we have not been looking at long-term risks (Rob Buchanan, BC Ministry of

Question 3: Has there been debris caught by the debris retention areas?

Answer 3: Yes. (Rob Buchanan, Ministry of Transportation)

Question 4: (posed to Matthias Jackob, BGC Engineering) About the 1st graph in your
presentation (McKay creek): over the last decade, we have observed rain cells that have not
been detected on the broader net of metering stations. Would that affect the findings?

Answer 4: Yes, it would have a big impact. Thank to Doppler images we now know that
embedded in large storms there are individual cells of high rainfall intensity. It is possible to
monitor them. (Matthias Jackob, BGC Engineering)

Question 5: (posed to Marten Geertsema) The network of rainfall recording stations in
operation during summer is shut down in October every year, when we need the data. Could
we keep them open year round?

Answer 5: There is the potential that the weather stations would freeze during the winter at
high elevations. Problems of funding exist as well. (Marten Geertsema, BC Ministry of

Comment: Chris Bunce (CP Rail): We encounter the same problem with snow monitoring
stations (for avalanche monitoring), which close during summer.

Answer 5a: There is no intention of leaving them open. All monitoring stations were placed
to fulfill one need. (Marten Geertsema, BC Ministry of Forestry)

Answer 5b: New technology such as real time loggers may allow us to enhance data
collection and cut costs with respect to data collection network. (John Clague, SFU)

Answer 5c: Not practical yet. Instead, there is a radar network that works almost
continuously across Canada. Problem is that there is a lot of scatter from hills and it is
difficult to follow one individual rain cell. (Marten Geertsema, BC Ministry of Forestry)

Question 6: Can we justify the expense of looking at hazards in hinterlands, where there is
almost no human population?

Answer 6: We are stewards of our lands and there is a need to understand processes even if
some areas are unpopulated. (John Clague, SFU)

Answer 6a: Some natural processes (rivers, etc.) start in the hinterlands and affect urban
Answer 6b: There is an obligation to conduct research in the north. If not, others from
foreign countries will try to do it for us. We need the overview first to be able to answer
questions accurately. (Antoni Lewkowicz, University of Ottawa)

Comment: Chris Bunce (CP Rail): The costs of the hazards should be quantified and then
the resources will be adequately directed

Comment: Douglas VanDine (VanDine Geological Engineering): Insurance companies might
be interested in funding research if they will have to bear the brunt of the pay out costs.

Answer 6c: Is it necessary to increase funding to improve the survey network. (Didier Perret,

Answer 6d: We need to look at the costs and benefits. Politicians will listen to cost benefits
analysis. As far as funding goes we need to look how to get together as a group to bring the
funds together. We are all looking at this from different perspectives but it may be a good
idea to do a landslide inventory map. We need more coordinating efforts. (Rob Buchanan,
BC Ministry of Transportation)

Answer 6e: In one sense, we have a lot of knowledge that is not being used by decision
makers. E.g. people settling on floodplains. (John Clague, SFU)

Question 7: The last event that we had up in Squamish was a flood event, not a landslide.
Canada has insignificant landslides compared to other countries in terms of human life and
costs. There are other geological issues that are more important. Governments tend to be
reactive, not proactive and are therefore not likely to put money towards research. How can
we overcome these barriers?

Answer 7a: It‟s true, governments tend to be reactive. Politicians have to set priorities. But
one example of the government being proactive is the Kyoto Accord. (Rick Lee, CCIS)

Answer 7b: About the significance of hazards: drought is a very important hazard. This
applies to the prairies where the impacts are into the billions of dollars but no money is being
put towards research (Dave Sauchyn, PARC)

Answer 7c: The Geological Society of Canada has been pushing the idea that more people
die from landslides than any other natural hazards, but this still encompasses relatively few
people. Instead, we should try to do an economic analysis, but this will need to be very
complex and detailed. The approach that the US has taken is to look at how much economic
impacts are related to landslides. Some State geologists have gotten together to influence
politicians at the federal level to fund research regarding economic impacts because there
are many indirect effects that are not documented. These indirect costs can be 6 times
higher than the direct costs. It is a difficult job to document all of these, but if we want to
convince the decision makers then we will have to be informed at a higher level.

Question 8: Regarding permafrost and fires: Is there long-term increase in intensities of
these slide events, were there more or less landslides 10 years ago?

Answer 8: On Ellesmere Island the landslides tend to fade back into the landscape over time
so it is difficult to track them over the long term. There is a lack of data due to the difficulty to
find detachments on photos or even in the fields. Landslides usually occur within a year of
the disturbing event (e.g. fire). The fire would need to be strong enough to damage the top
layer (versus only the canopy). Past fires at some sites have been related to failures but
there has been no attempt to look at remote sensing. (Antoni Lewkowicz, University of

Question 9: We‟ve heard about settlement on previous landslides. How can we educate the
decision makers that are allowing development on these areas and thus save life and

Answer 9: Part of the problem is that provinces across the country are downloading these
decisions to municipal level and there is a lack of knowledge transfer to go with the
responsibility transfer.


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