Dragonfly, Photo: Arnold Janz

ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING IN THE OIL SANDS: 2016-2017 WORK PLAN PROJECTS SUMMARY TABLE

The 2016-17 Joint Oil Sands Monitoring projects summaries are presented here. Click the title of a monitoring project below to access a brief description of the monitoring activity, objectives, assigned budget, key outcomes, geographic scope, and associated data and reporting products. The 2016-2017 Oil Sands Monitoring Plan continues monitoring implemented since 2012 through the 2012-2015 Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring (JOSM). The 2016-2017 Plan reflects what was learned, what monitoring gaps existed and what additional monitoring is needed and was informed by the external expert science review of JOSM completed in 2015.

 

ATMOSPHERIC MONITORING
OBJECTIVE: Detect and report concentration levels and trends of atmospheric substances that are likely to cause adverse human and/or environmental health effects.
STRATEGY: Focus ambient monitoring of atmospheric pollutants near the areas of highest known or expected emissions, and expand, if warranted.
1. Determine current levels and trends of SO2, NOX, O3, PM2.5, H2S and compare these against established Ambient Air Quality Standards.
Projects Activity Type Initial Estimate
Ambient Air Monitoring Athabasca Oil Sands (North of Fort McMurray) $8,973,120
Ambient Air Monitoring Athabasca Oil Sands (South of Fort McMurray) $355,000
Ambient Air Monitoring: Cold Lake Oil Sands $988,820
Ambient Air Quality Surveillance: Peace Oil Sands cutmypic $995,450
Ambient Air Quality Surveillance: Beaver River Valley cutmypic $66,250
Remote Ozone Monitoring cutmypic $80,600
Instrumented Meteorological Towers $234,000
Total $11,693,240
2. Determine current levels and spatial and temporal trends of substances emitted specifically by Oil Sands development activities to estimate human and ecosystem exposures.
Ambient Air Passive Monitoring Athabasca Oil Sands $1,313,910
Ambient Air Passive Monitoring Cold Lake Oil Sands $ 118, 821
Ambient Air Odour Study cutmypic $485,000
Total $ 1,917, 731
3. Optimize the effectiveness and efficiency of the regional air monitoring network design to detect spatial patterns and trends of emissions.
Ambient Air Monitoring Network Optimization cutmypic $123,550
Total $123,550
OBJECTIVE: Detect and report levels and trends of oil sands related chemical substances being deposited from the atmosphere.
STRATEGY: Quantify the amount of chemical substances being deposited from the atmosphere to the ambient terrestrial and aquatic environment.
Cold Lake Soil Acidification Monitoring Program $83,000
Operation of Enhanced Deposition Sites cutmypic $305,000
Athabasca Oil Sands Dry Deposition cutmypic $263,000
Deposition and Effects cutmypic $1,534,540
Atmospheric Deposition to Lakes and Snowpack cutmypic $545,897
Acid Sensitive Lakes Study cutmypic $177,700
Evaluation and Integration of Deposition Studies  cutmypic $50,000
Wet Precipitation Study (NADP Protocol) cutmypic $25,000
Total $2,984,137
OBJECTIVE: Investigate sources and atmospheric transport pathways.
STRATEGY: Quantify the amounts of chemical substances being emitted, how these substances are transported, and whether they undergo chemical transformation in the atmosphere after emission.
Tailings Pond Emissions Study cutmypic $453,600
Studying OS Air Pollution Emissions, Transformation and Fate cutmypic $990,000
Monitoring to understand atmospheric sources, process and impacts monitoring site cutmypic $960,000
Workshop to develop new monitoring methods using satellite data (CA) cutmypic $25,000
Total $2,428,600
OBJECTIVE: Integration and synthesis.
STRATEGY: Integrate monitoring and study results to establish multiple lines of evidence to assess status and trends, cumulative loadings, and to identify and resolve any apparent differences.
Air evaluation, integration and synthesis (CA) cutmypic $300,000
Total $300,000
WATERSHED MONITORING
OBJECTIVE: Detect and report concentration levels and trends of chemical substances of concern in the aquatic environment that are likely to cause adverse human and/or environmental health effects.
STRATEGY: Focus monitoring in the areas of highest known or expected disturbance, and expand, if warranted.
1. Determine current levels and trends of metals, organics and physical parameters and compare these against established Water Quality Standards.
Projects Activity Type Initial Estimate
Water Level and Flow Monitoring $2,700,000
Water Quality Monitoring $5,757,450
Groundwater Monitoring $800,000
Total $9,257,450
2. Determine current levels and trends of substances associated specifically by Oil Sands development activities to estimate human and ecosystem exposures.
Modelling – Regional Hydrology Climatology cutmypic $445,000
Total $445,000
3. Evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of the regional watershed monitoring design to detect spatial patterns and trends of releases.
Rationalization of the Watershed Monitoring Network – effectiveness and efficiency optimization cutmypic $50,000
Total $50,000
OBJECTIVE: Aquatic contaminant source identification.
STRATEGY: Develop means of uniquely identifying industrial sources of aquatic contamination.
Uniquely identifying Industrial Sources of Aquatic Contamination cutmypic $250,000
Total $250,000
OBJECTIVE: Integration and synthesis.
STRATEGY: Integrate all monitoring and study results to establish multiple lines of evidence and to identify and resolve any apparent differences.
Watershed Evaluation and Integration:
* Data Integration, Synthesis and Reporting  cutmypic $267,000
* Synthesis and Interpretation of Tributary Water Quality  cutmypic $225,942
* Watershed Evaluation and Integration – Establishing a Data Management System for Watershed Data  cutmypic $125,000
Total $617,942
BIOTIC RESPONSE MONITORING
OBJECTIVE: Detect and report biotic response in relation to Oil Sands developments.
STRATEGY: Assess the status and trends of ecological effects of physical landscape disturbance and contaminants from oil sands developments on terrestrial ecosystem structure and function.
Projects Activity Type Initial Estimate
Core Biodiversity Monitoring $5,760,440
Core Ungulate Monitoring $380,000
Landbird Monitoring Effects Assessment and Status and Trends $912,872
Effects-based Assessment – Rare Plants $225,000
DNA Methods for Boreal Caribou cutmypic $380,000
Wildlife Contaminants and Toxicology $493,419
Forest Health Monitoring $266,400
Total $8,418,131
STRATEGY: Assess the status and trends of ecological effects of physical landscape disturbance and contaminants from oil sands developments on aquatic ecosystem structure and function.
Monitoring Benthic Macro-Invertebrates in Rivers and Tributaries $1,497,210
Peace-Athabasca Delta Ecosystem Health Study cutmypic $402,285
Monitoring Fish Health and Community $1,350,000
Total $3,249,495
OBJECTIVE: Investigate the causal mechanisms of a known important biotic relationship in relation to oil sands developments.
STRATEGY: A hypothesis-driven focused study to respond to evidence of a known important biotic change.
Monitoring of Whooping Cranes cutmypic $65,000
Total $65,000
OBJECTIVE: Integration and synthesis.
STRATEGY: Integrate all monitoring and study results to establish multiple lines of evidence and to identify and resolve any apparent differences.
Biotic response monitoring results integration & synthesis (CA) $300,000
Total $300,000
PHYSICAL DISTURBANCE MONITORING
OBJECTIVE: Detect and report on status and trends of physical landscape disturbance that are likely to cause human and/or environmental effects.
Projects Activity Type Initial Estimate
Core biodiversity monitoring – footprint portions and conditions of footprint therein. – include linkages to terrestrial and watershed monitoring Included in Biotic Response Monitoring
Total
INDIGENOUS MONITORING PROGRAMS
OBJECTIVE: Potential impacts on ecosystem components valued by indigenous communities.
STRATEGY: Quantify the types and amounts of impacts on ecosystem components valued by indigenous communities.
Projects Activity Type Initial Estimate
Contaminant Monitoring Aquatic Species (Fish, Muskrat)   $200,000
Real Time Water Quality Monitoring – Lake Athabasca  cutmypic $150,000
Monitoring to understand atmospheric sources, process and impacts – Oski-ötin monitoring site cutmypic See Atmospheric
Traditional Ecological Knowledge – Berry Health cutmypic $390,000
Indigenous Monitoring and Science Coordination $225,000
Total $965,000
WETLAND ECOSYSTEM MONITORING
OBJECTIVE: Detect and report changes in wetland ecosystem in relation to Oil Sands developments and related point and non-point source emissions.
STRATEGY: Assess the ecological effects of physical landscape disturbance and contaminants from oil sands developments on wetland ecosystem structure and function.
Projects Activity Type Initial Estimate
Long-term wetland monitoring (CA) $900,000
Wetland Condition and Biodiversity cutmypic $225,000
Waterfowl Effects-Based Monitoring cutmypic $300,000
Amphibian and Wetland Health cutmypic $424,009
Total $1,849,009
STANDARDS, QUALITY ASSURANCE/QUALITY CONTROL, DATA MANAGEMENT
OBJECTIVE: Evaluate and update standard operating procedures.
STRATEGY: Inventory existing field and laboratory-based standard operating procedures for monitoring data acquisition and analyses.
STRATEGY: Implement a randomized standard trial approach to ensure consistent QA/QC programs.
Projects Activity Type Initial Estimate
Inventory existing standard operating procedures and validation of their application (CA) $250,000
Certified Standard and Reference Materials for Quantitative Analysis of Naphthenic Acids cutmypic $200,000
Total $450,000
OBJECTIVE: Establish and maintain an integrated data management system for archiving and retrieval of oil sands monitoring program data.
STRATEGY: Design and operate an open, federated oil sands data system that allows for archiving of environmental data and search and download capabilities.
Oil Sands Data Management and Dissemination $1,401,000
Total $1,401,000
PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION
Initial Estimate
Program Administration-ECCC and AEP $1,200,000
Knowledge translation, communication and outreach support (CA) $726,000
Total $1,926,000
SUMMARY: 2016/2017 AMBIENT ENVIRONMENT MONITORING PLAN FOR OIL SANDS DEVELOPMENT
Projects Initial Estimate
TOTAL ATMOSPHERIC $19,447,258
TOTAL WATERSHED $10,620,392
TOTAL BIOTIC RESPONSE $12,032,626
TOTAL PHYSICAL DISTURBANCE Included in Biotic Response Budget
TOTAL WETLAND ECOSYSTEM $1,849,009
TOTAL INDIGENOUS MONITORING $965,000
TOTAL STANDARDS, QA/QC, DM $1,851,000
TOTAL PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION $1,926,000