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Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring

Appendix 2: Details of Implementation Activities by Component, Tables 3 and 4

Table 3 – Wildlife Contaminants and Toxicology Monitoring Program Implementation
Plan Activities
Element2011-2012
(Current year
activities)
2012-20132013-2015
Wild Bird Health and ContaminantsColonial Waterbird Health and Contaminants
Gulls and Terns: Nest locations determined

Insectivorous Bird Health and Contaminants.
Swallows: Nest locations determined.
Colonial Waterbird Health and Contaminants
Gulls and Terns: Eggs collected at Rocky Point  (WBNP), Mamawi Lake (WBNP) and Egg Island (Lake Athabasca)

Insectivorous Bird Health and Contaminants.
Swallows: Eggs collected N of Fort MacKay, S of Fort MacKay, S of Fort McMurray (reference)
Colonial Waterbird Health and Contaminants
Gulls and Terns: Eggs collected at least at the following locations: Rocky Point (WBNP), Mamawi Lake (WBNP) and Egg Island (Lake Athabasca)

Insectivorous Bird Health and Contaminants.
Swallows: Eggs collected at least at the following locations: N of Fort MacKay, S of Fort MacKay S, N of Fort McMurray (reference)
Amphibian Health/ Toxicology/ ContaminantsWild Amphibian Health and Contaminants
Amphibian samples collected from ponds in the Fort McMurray area (7 ponds)

Laboratory Exposures and Effects
Assessing impacts of water quality on amphibians
Amphibian Health and Contaminants
Amphibian samples collected from ponds in the Fort McMurray area and from ponds over an expanded geographical area at increasing distances from Fort McMurray

Laboratory Exposures and Effects
Assessing impacts of water quality on amphibians using pond water
Amphibian Health and Contaminants
Amphibian samples collected from ponds in the Fort McMurray area and from ponds over an expanded geographical area at increasing distances from Fort McMurray with continued monitoring at 2 sites in NWT and various sites in Alberta (up to 40 ponds)

Laboratory Exposures and Effects
Assessing impacts of water quality on amphibians using pond water, snow melt and in situ exposures
Bird Health and ToxicologyLaboratory Exposureand Effects - Air Emissions
Exposures of laboratory birds to VOCs and SO2
Laboratory Exposure and Effects - Air Emissions
Exposures of laboratory birds to VOCs and SO2
Field Exposure and Effects -  Air Emissions/PAHs
Nest boxes installed radially around one processing plant and in a reference location
Laboratory Exposure and Effects -Air Emissions
Exposures of laboratory birds to VOCs and SO2
Field Exposure and Effects -  Air Emissions/PAHs
Nest boxes installed radially around three processing plants and in a reference location
Wild Bird and Hunter/Trapper Harvested Wildlife Toxicology and ContaminantsDead and Moribund Bird Contaminants and Toxicology
Birds collected from tailings ponds near Fort McMurray (event-based, none submitted)
Dead and Moribund Bird Contaminants and Toxicology
Birds collected from tailings ponds near Fort McMurray (event-based)

Hunter/Trapper Harvested Wildlife Contaminants and Toxicology
Animals harvested/trapped at various locations processed for contaminants and toxicology
Dead and Moribund Bird Contaminants and Toxicology
Birds collected from tailings ponds near Fort McMurray (event-based)

Hunter/Trapper Harvested Wildlife Contaminants and Toxicology
Mallards, otters harvested/trapped at locations in NWT and northern Alberta. Target sample of 20 animals at each location and up to 100 mallards and 60 otters processed for contaminants and toxicology.
Plant Health and ContaminantsLaboratory Phytotoxicity and Contaminants
Greenhouse exposures to Na2SO4 and naphthenic acids
Laboratory Phytotoxicity and Contaminants
Greenhouse exposures to Na2SO4 and naphthenic acids

Field Vegetation Assessment/Contaminants
Vegetation assessments undertaken at various locations along the Athabasca River
Laboratory Phytotoxicity and Contaminants
Greenhouse exposures to Na2SO4 and naphthenic acids

Field Vegetation Assessment/Contaminants
Vegetation assessments undertaken at up to 10 sites in NWT, northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, including along the Athabasca River and in reference sites.

 

Table 4 – Biodiversity and Land Disturbance Monitoring Implementation Plan Activities
ElementFY 2011-2012
(Current year activities)
FY 2012-2013FY 2013-15
Core terrestrial biodiversity monitoringOperation of core terrestrial biodiversity monitoring in portions of Athabasca oil sands area 40-50 sites).
Gap analysis of existing status and trends monitoring program.
Periodic population or trend assessments of key provincial species (e.g., moose, deer, wolf).
Enhancement of monitoring effort into other oil sands areas and all areas within the Lower Athabasca regional planning area (70-80 sites).
Periodic population or trend assessments of key provincial species (e.g., moose, deer, wolf).
Fully implemented biodiversity program across 20X20km regularized grid with site visits every 5 years. Fully monitored area includes 3 oil sand areas (Athabasca, Cold Lake, Peace) and all areas within the Lower Athabasca regional planning area (up to 90-100 sites/year).
Periodic population or trend assessments of key provincial species (e.g., moose, deer, wolf).
Cause-effect monitoringDesign of cause-effects monitoring for migratory songbirds.Cause-effects monitoring of key migratory songbirds. 
Design of cause-effects monitoring program for wetland-associated birds.
Cause-effects monitoring for key migratory songbirds and wetland-associated birds.
Initial predictions of avian response to current and future land-use.
Measurement harmonization Development of an approach to integrate biodiversity monitoring efforts in the oil sand areas by industry and other stakeholders (i.e. biodiversity monitoring data by oil sands developers, universities, etc.)On-going system to coordinate biodiversity monitoring efforts by industry and other stakeholders into the core biodiversity monitoring program
Development of standard protocols and process for monitoring efforts in the oil sands areas for boreal songbirds.
Species at Risk (SAR) and rare/difficult species monitoringAnnual caribou tracking and assessment of recruitment.
Monitoring of Whooping Crane
Gap analysis of existing programs to monitor status and trends and cause-effects for species at risk and rare/difficult species.
Development of monitoring protocols for species at risk and rare/difficult species that are inadequately monitored by core program.
Survey design for cause-effects monitoring to understand impacts of oil sands on species at risk and rare/difficult species.
Annual caribou tracking and assessment of recruitment.
Monitoring of Whooping
Design of augmented biodiversity core program to address gaps in status and trend and cause-effects monitoring of species at risk and rare/difficult species (e.g. increase detection probability of key species).
 
Human disturbance footprint monitoringMapping of human disturbance footprint at 3x7 km survey panels and coarse scale wall-to-wall mapping.
Evaluation of existing efforts to monitor human disturbance footprint and design of coordinated approach to footprint mapping involving key data sources.
Mapping of human disturbance footprint at 3x7 km survey panels and coarse scale wall-to-wall mapping.
Augmented fine-scale wall-to-wall footprint mapping for oil sands regions and other reference areas, with participation of cooperating agencies
Development and Implementation of wall-to-wall footprint mapping (extension from panels) with continued refinement.
Refinement of footprint types for key provincial species, forest songbirds and species at risk.
Habitat monitoringCollection of vegetation and other ground-based habitat data.
Land cover mapping at 3x7 survey panels.
Evaluation of existing efforts to monitor land cover, climate and other biophysical variables, and consider range of approaches to complement and improve efforts, ensuring relevancy to biodiversity monitoring in oil sands.
Collection of vegetation and other ground-based habitat data.
Expand core land cover monitoring, with participation of cooperating agencies and initiatives to collect remote-sensed and high resolution photo data.
Continue work to assess potential of remote-sensed and high resolution photo data for biodiversity prediction. Assess ability to interpret and classify data sources to provide key habitat features relevant to key species that are the focus of cause-effects monitoring.
On-going augmented program to collect vegetation and other ground-based habitat data.
On-going augmented wall-to-wall land cover mapping.
Continue work to assess potential of remote-sensed and high resolution photo data for biodiversity prediction. Assess ability to interpret and classify data sources to provide key habitat features relevant to key species that are the focus of cause-effects monitoring.
Through species-habitat modelling, identify key sources and sets of land cover, productivity, climate and other biophysical variables required for biodiversity prediction.
Continue building library of land cover, productivity, climate and other biophysical data layers required for biodiversity prediction.
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