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Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring

Appendix 1: Details of Implementation Activities by Component, Tables 1 and 2

Table 1 – Air Quality Implementation Plan Activities
Element 2011-2012
(Current year activities)
2012-20132013 to 2015
Ambient Air QualityAmbient Air Monitoring
Existing airshed monitoring

Remote sensing and modelling:
Develop remote sensing analysis tools. Build on existing tools to develop high resolution modelling capacity for oils sands region to inform monitoring

Focused studies
Nitrogen and oxygen isotopic fingerprinting of particles and gases from non-oil sands sources
Ambient Air Monitoring
Continuation and expansion of ambient monitoring network, consistent with the Integrated Monitoring Plan

Fixed Platforms:
Installation of 3 ecosystem sites downwind of oil sands region
Enhanced measurements at a site in vicinity of sources

Monitoring pollutant transformation:
Seasonal campaign via mobile labs and/or aircraft

Remote sensing and modelling:
Use remote sensing to produce maps of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide; use models to produce high-resolution air pollutant maps

Focused studies
Continued nitrogen and oxygen isotopic fingerprinting from non-oil sands sources
Ambient Air Monitoring
Continuation and expansion of ambient monitoring network, consistent with the Integrated Monitoring Plan

Fixed Platforms:
Installation of 3 additional ecosystem, transformation and deposition sites in and around the oil sands area. Continuation of measurements at 4 existing sites.
Development of oil sands upwind site

Monitoring pollutant transformation:
Continue seasonal studies on pollutant transformation

Remote sensing and modelling:
Use remote sensing to produce maps of additional pollutants; use models to produce high-resolution air pollutant maps

Focused studies
Studies on odours, degraded visibility, tree rings and fingerprinting data from oil sands specific sources
Source Emissions MonitoringEmissions inventories:
Air emissions reported by industry to the province and federal government
Emission inventory development and coordination

Point Sources (stacks and fugitive):
Provision of industry continuous emission monitoring data
Determination of emissions factors for stack emissions

Tailings Ponds:
Flux measurements near tailings ponds. Special studies at 3 tailings ponds to characterize emissions

Mobile and Area Sources:
Obtaining emissions data for on-road trucks; providing emissions data for off-road mining vehicles
Measuring emissions from heavy haulers while they are in operation
Emissions inventories:
Compile all existing emissions databases. 
Continued emissions inventory development for modelling
Initiate and validate methods to derive activity and topography data and emissions locations from satellite photos

Point Sources (stacks and fugitive):
Initiate process to request additional stack emissions parameters
Obtain satellite-based emissions estimates of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide over the entire surface mining region

Tailings Ponds:
Continuation of intensive studies of tailings ponds including LIDAR technology

Mobile and Area Sources:
Study design and initial testing of on-road vehicle fleet
Source characterization of dust from mines, roads, coke piles
Emissions inventories:
Identify gaps in emission inventories and begin to address information needs

Point Sources (stacks and fugitive): Obtain additional point source data to develop/validate emission factor
Additional monitoring to address gaps in emissions inventories

Tailings Ponds:
Continuation of studies on tailings ponds emissions

Mobile and Area Sources:
On-board measurement on buses
Development of emissions factors for heavy haulers
DepositionEcosystem Exposure Monitoring:
4 forest tower continuous sites; 20 passive sites in the boreal forest, deployment of VOC passive samplers with full chemical speciation analysis

Forest critical loads:
Measurements of nitrogen-containing pollutants to determine deposition to forests

Enhanced Deposition:
Measurement of polycyclic aromatic compounds and particulate metals at 3 sites.  Special studies measuring and reporting on PACs and metals in ambient air and snow

Deposition Modelling:
Modelling in support of deposition monitoring and understanding ecosystem impacts of chemical deposition.
Ecosystem Exposure Monitoring:
Measurement of pollutants in ecosystem settings to determine deposition and exposure.  Link to wildlife monitoring in Table 3 .

Forest critical loads:
Continuation of critical load studies.Measurements of forest soils

Enhanced Deposition:
Continue measurement of polycyclic aromatic compounds and particulate metals at 3 sites

Deposition Modelling:
Continuation of deposition modelling. Modelling to understand emission, transport and fate of air pollutants
Ecosystem Exposure Monitoring:
Measurement of pollutants in ecosystem settings to determine deposition and exposure. Link to wildlife monitoring in Table 3
Measurement of dry deposition flux. 

Forest critical loads:
Improve forest critical load and exceedance maps

Enhanced Deposition:
Continue measurement of polycyclic aromatic compounds and particulate metals at 3 sites. Add 2 additional sites.

Deposition Modelling:
Deposition modelling using most recent data.

 

Table 2 – Water Implementation Plan Activities
ElementFY 2011-2012
(Current year activities)
FY 2012-2013FY 2013-2015
Surface Water Quality / Surface Water Quantity/SedimentMainstem Water Quality
Initiate one site; one ongoing long-term site. Benthos/CABIN and fish work generate supporting water quality data at most mainstem sites.
Under-ice water sampling at three sites.
Under-ice sampling using passive samplers at one site.
Continue to monitor at AEW Long-term River Network (LTRN) sites (five appear in the Integrated Monitoring Plan).
Continue to monitor 25 sites (through RAMP) that appear in the Plan, at the frequency in RAMP’s current program. 

Tributary Water Quality
One site initiated. Benthos/CABIN and fish work to generate supporting WQ data – seven tributaries (Ells, Jackpine, MacKay, Steepbank, Firebag, Joslyn, Muskeg), representing 37 sites
Continue sampling for Muskeg River Framework.
Implementing monthly sampling at mouths of Clearwater, Ells, Firebag, Steepbank.

Expanded Geographic Extent (PAD; Slave River; Lake Athabasca)
Passive samples: PAH’s (Slave River)
Under-ice water sampling (Peace, Slave Birch River sites)Under-ice passive samplers (Slave, Peace River sites)

Passive Sampler Program
8 sites.

Groundwater Quality
Groundwater assessment proximate to Suncor Pond 1 (~80 sample stations) and Muskeg & Athabasca River proximate to Shell’s Tailings Area (~20 sample stations)

Water Quantity
Mainstem: Core monitoring at 4 sites
Begin planning for expansion of hydrometric network.
Expanded Geographic Extent: Hydrometric sites on Birch, Slave Rivers; also in PAD and Peace River.
Trib sites: Monitoring of tributaries occurs under Canada-Alberta Hydromet Agreement; and RAMP.

Sediment
Benthos/CABIN and fish work generate supporting sediment quality data – Mainstem: 8 sites; 7 tributaries, representing 37 sites.
5 sediment cores from small lakes within 50 km of the Kelly et al. AR6 site for paleo-analyses
Mainstem Water Quality
Continue to monitor items identified in current (2011-12) year.
Initiate quarterly sampling at three sites.
Initiate detailed method comparison and quality management of field methods and data comparability studies between AEW and EC. Also review ongoing role for one AEW LTRN site.
Conduct technical workshops with appropriate parties to address the technical/logistical details to operationalize the Implementation Plan.
Align current RAMP program with this joint Implementation Plan, and reflecting the Integrated Monitoring Plan

Tributary Water Quality
Continue Benthos/CABIN and fish work supporting water quality.
Add three additional monitoring sites on the tributaries, including the MacKay.

Expanded Geographic Extent (PAD; Slave River; Lake Athabasca)
Increase number of locations; establish sampling frequency.

Event-based Sampling
Initiate sampling program sites and monitoring frequency.

Passive Sampler Program
Increase sampling frequency at existing sites.

Groundwater Quality
Continue monitoring program as per Baseline year

Water Quantity
Mainstem: Continue core monitoring (4 sites)
Enhance current AEW water level sites.
Undertake detailed planning and budgeting (locations, operating periods, manual measurements) for expansion of hydrometric network.Initiate validation of comparability of RAMP Climate & Hydrology Program methods.
Trib sites and Expanded Geographic Extent: evaluate as part of detailed planning and budgeting exercise.

River Ice Monitoring
Establish initial sites and monitoring frequency.

Sediment
Benthos/CABIN and fish work generate supporting sediment quality data.
Collect 5 more sediment cores from lakes for Paleo-analyses
Initiate sediment sampling using historical WSC methods at one site.Initiate sediment sampling research/surveillance studies.Increase the number of sediment cores from small lakes.
Process-based sediment monitoring in mainstem/ tribs: Initiate sampling program.
Mainstem Water Quality
Increase sampling frequency to monthly at specific sites; initiate sampling in the Peace Athabasca Delta (PAD).Continue and increase comparability studies and laboratory round-robin.
Continue to implement items identified in year 1; Phase in monitoring of additional sites.

Tributary Water Quality
Continue Benthos/CABIN and fish work supporting water quality.
Implementation of remaining upstream and headwater trib sites.

Expanded Geographic Extent (PAD; Slave River; Lake Athabasca)
Implementation of up to 10 additional s

Event-based Sampling
Continue monitoring program as established.

Passive Sampler ProgramIncrease number of sites to full implementation and increase sampling frequency.

Groundwater Quality
Continue monitoring program as per Baseline year

Water Quantity
Mainstem: consider new hydromet station at a key location to be determined.
Trib sites and Expanded Geographic Extent: Add additional tributary hydromet measurement coincident with water quality monitoring sites, as per the Integrated Monitoring Plan.

River Ice Monitoring
Implement up to 8 more sites on the Athabasca mainstem; increase monitoring frequency.

Sediment
Benthos/CABIN and fish work generate supporting sediment quality data.
New mainstem hydromet station indicated to collect sediment samples.
Continue mainstem historic-method sediment sampling. Expand sediment sampling at mainstem sites.
Full scope of sampling of sediment cores from small lakes implemented.
Process-based sediment monitoring in mainstem/ tribs: Implement remaining sites
Benthic Invertebrates(inverts, algae & seston, water chemistry, sediment phys/chem.)Mainstem
Six sites

Tributaries
30 sites in the Ells, Jackpine, McKay, and Steepbank, Firebag, Joslyn Rivers
Continue to monitor through RAMP: ~15 sites

Deltaic Ecosystem Health
Biota/WQ/Sediments at 8 sites
Mainstem
Implement up to 10 sites

Tributaries
Implement up to 6 additional sites

Initiate detailed comparison of existing and proposed monitoring programs and integrate where appropriate for both mainstem and tributary sites.

Deltaic Ecosystem Health
Biota/WQ/Sediments continue at Base sites; increase sample frequency
Mainstem
Continue all sites

Tributaries
Implement up to 30 additional sites, focusing on enhanced coverage of reference locations

Deltaic Ecosystem Health
Biota/WQ/Sediments: Complete implementation of all sites as per Plan at the increased sample frequency.
Snow / Wet Precipitation135 snow sites in an asterisk shaped pattern centered around and within 50km of the Kelly et al. AR6 site
3 sites wet precip sites: Co-located with 3 WBEA sites
Continue to monitor items identified 2011-12 year
In addition, expand coverage to all snow sites on mainstem, tributary and landscape locations.
Wet precip sites co-located with 3 WBEA sites: continue.
All snow sites continue monitoring
Wet precip sites co-located with 3 WBEA sites: ongoing.
Fish Health / Toxicology/ ContaminantWild Fish Health
Mainstem: 5 sites
Tributaries: 7 sites on 3 Tributaries: Steepbank, Firebag, Muskeg

Wild Fish Communities / Spp. Diversity
Mainstem – 17 sites currently monitored 3 times/yrTributaries – 15 sites currently monitored sites once/yr.

Fish Toxicology
Tributaries  - 6 sites
Snow - 8 sites
Ponds - 2 sites
Wild Fish Health
Mainstem: Increase to 6 sitesTributaries: Increase to 8 sites

Wild Fish Communities / Spp. Diversity
Continue Mainstem and Tributary monitoring as per 2011/12.
Align RAMP program with the program under the Integrated Monitoring Plan

Fish Toxicology
Tributaries – implement all sites
Snow – maintain current samplingPonds - ponds, seeps and groundwater to be determined

Riverine In-situ Bioassays
Establish sampling program as per the Integrated Monitoring Plan.

Lake Health (Fish/Invertebrates)
Establish sampling program as per the Integrated Monitoring Plan.
Wild Fish Health
Mainstem: All sites fully implemented by Year 2Tributaries: All sites fully implemented by Year

Wild Fish Communities / Spp. Diversity
Mainstem –

Fish Toxicology
Tributaries  - sampling program to continue
Snow - cf snow sites
Ponds - ponds, seeps and groundwater to be determined

Riverine In-situ Bioassays
Continue sampling program

Lake Health (Fish/Invertebrates)
Continue sampling program
Acid Sensitive Lakes250 (as specified in the Integrated Monitoring Plan) sitesContinue current monitoring of acid sensitive lakes.More than 250 sites
Continue to monitor lakes in RAMP program.
Initiate assessment of existing lake data to support long-term lake monitoring
Conduct an extensive survey of lakes in NE Alberta to identify additional lakes for long term acid deposition monitoring
300 sites or more
Align work under RAMP with results from assessment and lake surveys
Conduct additional tiered sampling of lake systems as informed by previous years’ status and trends analyses.

 

Additional Research/Site-Specific Monitoring2011-2012
(Current year activities)
2012-20132013-2015
Representative Sub-basin Studies (REPS)Under studyAnalyses / integration of REP work in Muskeg River Basin: water, hydrology, sediments, groundwater, aerial deposition.Examine other potential REP candidates; ongoing analyses/sampling.
Mainstem - paired buoysCurrent capital acquisition.Deploy buoys with multiple WQ, sediment, hydraulic instruments at two sites, open-water season.Continue buoy deployment during open-water season.  Add further instrumentation as feasible.
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