Tamsin Lyle, MEng, MRM, P.Eng

Principal

About Tamsin

Tamsin is a well-known thought leader on flood management in Canada. She comes to this position having invested her entire academic and professional careers in the exploration of various aspects of flood management. She has genuine enthusiasm for the subject, which is evident in her many publications (peer-reviewed and for public communication) and presentations. She is particularly interested in exploring the nexus of science, engineering, policy and planning – disciplines that often work apart or in series in flood projects when best practice suggest they should work together.

She is a sought-after speaker and commentator on flood management in Canada, regularly accepting invitations to speak at Canadian and International conferences. She also regularly comments to the media in print, on radio and on television.

Over her 20-year career, she has worked on numerous high-profile flood and risk projects across Canada both as an engineer and as a policy analyst and planner. She is well regarded for her numerical modelling skills, which have been applied to the major Canadian river systems of the Red River in Manitoba, and the Fraser River in BC, as well as to smaller river systems in Canada and abroad. She is also well known for her integrated and collaborative approach to mitigating flood risk; and is the author of the award winning Integrated Flood Management Plan for the Cowichan Valley. She is a recognised champion of risk-based planning for natural hazards in Canada and has written several peer-reviewed, other scholarly and public articles on flood risk assessment methods.

Education

M.Eng, Imperial College London, 1998
M.R.M, Simon Fraser University, 2001

Affiliations

Canadian Water Resources Association
– Past-President BC Branch
– BC Representative to National Board
– Chair Flood Management Committee

Northwest Regional Flood Management Association
– Past BC Representative

Languages

English – mother tongue
French – professional proficiency

Selected content

Podcasts and interviews

After the Flood

Television – Airing 2022

Home Owner Flood Resilience

Podcast – Forthcoming

Families looking to rebuild flooded Abbotsford homes disheartened after being denied bank loans

Print – 2022-01-18
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Atmospheric river expected to hit parts of B.C. this week

Television – 2022-01-10
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British Columbia is looking at how it can adapt to prepare for more climate disasters

Radio – 2021-12-27
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Globe Climate: The failure of flood preparedness in the face of climate change

Print – 2021-12-06
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Mother Nature has shown us that 'business as usual' is a disaster

Print – 2021-12-05
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How to make homes flood-resilient

Television – 2021-12-03
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Come Hell…B.C. Under Water

Television – 2021-11-27
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Climate Impacts Series: Flooding

Podcast –2021-08-17
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Who’s in charge of keeping B.C. dry as sea levels rise? With no singular climate plan, it’s every community for itself

Print – 2020-02-09
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We need to talk about extreme weather: Talking it out could make us less vulnerable.

Print – 2018-12-18
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Time to shift flooding approach: engineer

Print – 2018-10-29
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Using nature to defend against floods

Television – 2018-09-18
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Flood management tackled at AGM of Okanagan Basin Water Board

Print – 2018-08-10
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As a B.C. fishing village is slowly submerged, meet the people who refuse to leave

Podcast – 2017-10-02
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Climate change brings water worries

Print – 2016-10-01
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Most BC communities don't have updated floodplain maps: report

Radio – 2015-11-01
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300,000 at risk in Lower Mainland flood: experts

Television – 2015-01-19
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Papers and reports

Planning to Build Resilient Infrastructure: A case study of sea level rise adaptation planning in the City of Vancouver

Rising sea levels create increasing flood risks for coastal communities, including the City of Vancouver. With a projected sea level rise of 1m by 2100, British Columbia communities face the challenging task of understanding hazards, vulnerabilities, and consequences from flood events, and identifying suitable measures, including infrastructure and planning options, to protect multiple interests over large areas. This paper highlights the application of a Structured Decision Making approach to evaluate mitigation options to reduce flood risks for Vancouver, British Columbia. The process involved a series of stakeholder workshops to identify interests that may be impacted, develop suitable mitigation alternatives, review performance of each alternative and consider trade-offs, and finally to develop recommendations for a suite of mitigation alternatives to protect vulnerable neighbourhoods across the city.

Smith, Doug & Mills, Tamsin & Lyle, Tamsin & Long, Graham & Beaudrie, Christian. (2017). Planning to Build Resilient Infrastructure: A case study of sea level rise adaptation planning in the City of Vancouver.

Assessing coastal flood risk in a changing climate for the City of Vancouver

Despite global mitigation efforts, climate change will impact the City of Vancouver’s future. One anticipated impact, sea level rise, is described. A comprehensive understanding of the consequences of these impacts is necessary to guide the process of identifying preferred adaptation strategies. A methodology for a coastal flood risk assessment (CFRA) of sea level rise is provided. The inputs for this risk assessment include inundation mapping and an asset-at-risk inventory. These data sets are combined with flood damage information from Hazus to look at consequences of coastal flooding. There are many uncertainties and gaps in the process of developing a CFRA for a modern, dense, urban city such as Vancouver, particularly when the planning timelines required for preparing and adapting to sea level rise are long. The value of the process and results include increased understanding of hazards and vulnerabilities, and the development of useful visual tools for engagement, planning and education.

Lyle, Tamsin & Mills, T.. (2016). Assessing coastal flood risk in a changing climate for the City of Vancouver. Canadian Water Resources Journal / Revue canadienne des ressources hydriques. 41. 1-10. 10.1080/07011784.2015.1126695.

British Columbia’s Flood Management Policy Window – Can We Take Advantage?

Over 300,000 people live on the Lower Fraser River floodplain in British Columbia, Canada. Many hundreds of thousands more would be affected if a large flood were to occur. The Lower Fraser Valley is the economic and transport centre for the province. The economic cost of a catastrophic flood to the region has not been recently calculated, but would be in the billions of dollars; the full social and environmental costs are incalculable. In June 2007, the Lower Fraser River threatened to spill over its banks, and potentially over the dikes. As a result of this scare, public awareness regarding flood potential, flood risk and flood damage increased dramatically. In addition, a report commissioned by the Fraser Basin Council and prepared by Northwest Hydraulic Consultants Ltd. in late 2006 showed a dramatic increase in the design flood profile, which triggered significant government concern. As a result of these two events, there was interest within the public and government to address the flood threat to the Fraser Valley. Government reacted to the threat, however for the most part the reactions have been focused on traditional structural solutions to flood management. There has been minimal progress towards creating a long-term integrated flood management solution for the Valley.

Lyle, T and DG McLean 2008.  British Columbia’s Flood Management Policy Window – Can We Take Advantage? 4th International Sympoisum on Flood Defence: Managing Flood Risk, Reliability and Vulnerability.  Toronto, Ontario. May 2008.

Engage Tamsin as an expert speaker at your next event

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