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Oil Sands Environmental Management Bibliography

The Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA)partnered with the Oil Sands Research and Information Network (OSRIN) to create the new Oil Sands Environmental Management Bibliography, which includes documents relevant to the environmental management of oil sands development in Alberta. The majority of the documents focus on the mineable oil sands in the Athabasca deposit, though some documents relate to in-situ developments. This bibliography was last updated in November 2014.

A rapid method for the determination of bitumen water and solids in oil sands

Year of Publication: 1981

Abstract:
A simple and rapid method has been developed to measure the bitumen, water, and solids content of Athabasca oil sand samples in order to efficiently serve both plant operations and research needs. A solvent blend of 74% toluene and 26% isopropyl alcohol extracts both the bitumen and the water from the solids producing a homogeneous liquid phase. The bitumen is determined gravimetrically on an aliquot of this solution. A Karl Fischer titration is used to measure the water concentration. Solids are measured gravimetrically or can be reported by difference. Mass balances between 99.05 and 100.25% are achieved routinely.

A real options model to evaluate the effect of environmental policies on the oil sands rate of expansion

Year of Publication: 2014

Abstract:
Canadian oil sands hold the third largest recognized oil deposit in the world. While the rapidly expanding oil sands industry in western Canada has driven economic growth, the extraction of the oil comes at a significant environmental cost. It is believed that the government policies have failed to keep up with the rapid oil sands expansion, creating serious challenges in managing the environmental impacts. This paper presents a practical, yet financially sound, real options model to evaluate the rate of oil sands expansion, under different environmental cost scenarios resulting from governmental policies, while accounting for oil price uncertainty and managerial flexibilities. Our model considers a multi-plant/multi-agent setting, in which labor costs increase for all agents and impact their optimal strategies, as new plants come online. Our results show that a stricter environmental cost scenario delays investment, but leads to a higher rate of expansion once investment begins. Once constructed, a plant is highly unlikely to shut down. Our model can be used by government policy makers, to gauge the impact of policy strategies on the oil sands expansion rate, and by oil companies, to evaluate expansion strategies based on assumptions regarding market and taxation costs.

A report of wisdom synthesized from traditional knowledge component studies

Year of Publication: 1996

Abstract:
This report compiles native traditional knowledge from the Northern River Basins Study area, as obtained through historical research, personal interviews with First Nations individuals, and completion of an extensive survey. After outlining the processes used to gather traditional knowledge and a historical overview of the northern river basins, the report presents community research results organised to reflect the knowledge of each community in the study area. The results are divided according to subject: health, family and community relationships, traditional knowledge, and future expectations and recommendations. Themes covered include land, water, fish and wildlife, illness and fitness, traditional skills and their transmission from one generation to another, and changes that have occurred since arrival of Europeans. The report ends with a synthesis of knowledge relating to the present spiritual, emotional, physical, social, and intellectual environment.

A review and analysis of existing Alberta data on drinking water quality and treatment facilities for the Northern River Basins Study

Year of Publication: 1995

Abstract:
The purpose of this project was to review the existing drinking water data bases and document the drinking water treatment facilities present in the study area and the processes used. In addition to providing the study with an inventory of facilities and processes, it also provides a comparison of treatment performance to the Canada Drinking Water Quality Guidelines.

A review and annotated bibliography of water and fish tainting in the Peace, Athabasca and Slave River basins

Year of Publication: 1995

Abstract:
The purpose of this review was to identify incidence of, or the potential for off-flavour tainting of fish and water by components discharged into the Peace, Athabasca and Slave rivers.

A review and assessment of existing information for key wildlife and fish species in the Regional Sustainable Development Strategy study area. Volume 1: Wildlife

Year of Publication: 2002

Abstract:
This report summarizes the life history and habitat requirements, distribution and population characteristics (e.g., size and trends) of key wildlife species and communities in the Regional Sustainable Development Strategy (RSDS) study area of northeastern Alberta. A summary of information on key fish species is presented in Volume 2 of this report. Key wildlife included 7 priority #1 species/communities (woodland caribou, moose, muskrat, fisher/small mammal, lynx/snowshoe hare, old growth forest bird community, and Canadian toad) and 8 priority #2 species/communities (black bear, beaver, river otter, ruffed grouse, pileated woodpecker, boreal owl, mixedwood forest bird community, and ducks and geese). Key fish included 2 priority #1 species (northern pike and walleye) and 4 priority #2 species (lake whitefish, Arctic grayling, longnose sucker, and burbot). The information presented in this report is organized into detailed species and community accounts. Data was compiled from numerous sources, including government, industry, university and private/ non-profit organizations. Over 300 published and unpublished reports were reviewed to assimilate the information presented in this report. Habitat/life history requirements for each wildlife species were summarized as general living, foraging, reproducing, protective/thermal cover and migrating/ moving habitat requirements. Habitat elements that characterize moderate-high suitability habitats were also identified based on the results of existing habitat suitability index (HSI) models. Population sizes and trends, as well as the natural variability in population size, were reported where possible. Limited information was available on the population dynamics of most species. Information on population trends was augmented by a discussion of habitat trends within the oil sands area using the results of Cumulative Effects Assessments for various oil sands development projects. Data collected from oil sands projects, as well as other sources, on species sightings/ occurrences and important habitat areas were mapped using GIS. Finally, information gaps pertaining to habitat use, habitat requirements, and population characteristics for each key species/ community were identified.

A review and assessment of the baseline data relevant to the impacts of oil sands developments on large mammals in the AOSERP study area

Year of Publication: 1980

Abstract:
The available baseline data which are relevant to the documentation and evaluation of the impacts on large mammals (moose, woodland caribou, wolf) which would result from oil sands development are reviewed. An approach to the analysis of impacts was developed to provide a logical framework for the determination of what types of baseline data were relevant to the objectives of study. Baseline data for each species were discussed under three categories: seasonal population dispersion, the potential impacts of large development projects, and population dynamics. The review forms the basis of the evaluation of the state of baseline knowledge of large mammals in the AOSERP study area and a statement of the research which should be completed in order to provide the data. A critique of the state of the baseline knowledge of large mammals (moose, woodland caribou, wolf) was conducted with the objectives being to determine whether or not baseline knowledge of these species is adequate to assess the impacts of large developments on large mammal populations in the AOSERP study area, and to identify specific knowledge gaps. Major gaps in the baseline knowledge of moose were: seasonal habitat use, the effects of sensory disturbances and population density; a minor gap was identified in the knowledge of the effects of development on direct mortality of moose. Major gaps in the baseline knowledge of woodland caribou were: distribution on the AOSERP study area, seasonal habitat use, the effects of sensory disturbance, and population density; minor gaps were identified in the knowledge of the effects of development on direct mortality of woodland caribou. Major gaps in the baseline knowledge of wolf were: seasonal habitat use and population density; minor gaps were identified in the knowledge of the seasonal movement patterns, the effects of sensory disturbances, and the effects of development projects on direct mortality of wolves.

A review and assessment of vegetation information for the AOSERP study area

Authors Steen, O. A.
Year of Publication: 1980

Abstract:
Vegetation literature and maps pertinent to the AOSERP study area are reviewed and summarized. Studies from throughout northern Alberta and Saskatchewan are discussed although emphasis is given to the preliminary vegetation classification described by Stringer (1976) and the vegetation maps prepared by Intera Environmental Consultants Ltd. Stringer’s classification describes principal physiognomic types, appropriate for overview mapping and description, but many of the types include large compositional variation. The vegetation types mapped by Intera are modified from Stringer's classification and, in forested areas at least, convey 1ittle information on vegetation composition other than for trees. A ground survey of vegetation types in the lower Muskeg and MacKay rivers area revealed major variations in the lesser vegetation within most types shown on Intera's maps. In addition, major physiognomic vegetation types were encountered which are not described by Stringer (1976) or included on Intera's map legend. Twenty-one provisional community types are described based on observations and data collected from 39 plots. Three techniques for including minor vegetation information on Intera's maps are discussed. A vegetation study workshop was held on 26 November 1979 to evaluate user needs for more detailed vegetation descriptions and maps and to review the results of the vegetation survey as a step towards meeting these needs. In general, the participants agreed that the maps are useful in their present form and that programs to add minor vegetation information cannot be justified at this time. Several recommendations for other vegetation studies emerged from the workshop.

A review and evaluation of water quality and quantity models used by the Northern River Basins Study

Authors Mccauley, E.
Year of Publication: 1997

Abstract:
Modelling water quality in the Peace, Athabasca, and Slave River Systems represents some fundamental challenges. These are large complex systems that are relatively oligotrophic, located at relatively high latitudes, and experience highly seasonal environmental fluctuations. This report summarizes the major modelling projects undertaken by the NRBS, provides a critical summary of major results, and makes recommendations for future work. Section 1.0 describes the scope of the problem of model water quality in the Northern River Basins and provides a summary of the models used by NRBS to predict key water quality variables. Section 2.0 provides a general overview of the utility and shortcomings of models of water quality with the goal of establishing key criteria for assessing the successes or failures of models developed by NRBS. Section 3.0 summarizes the key findings of NRBS models and evaluates the modellingresultsagainstthecriteriaoutlinedinSection2.0. Section4.0presentsaseriesof recommendations along with strategic suggestions for future work in the modelling of water quality in the Northern River Basins. In Section 4.0, specific recommendations for modelling dissolved oxygen, transport and fate of contaminants, and distribution of contaminants in the food chain are summarized. General recommendations for future work include: 1) The development of predictive transport models for the Northern Rivers is of paramount importance for future progress. 2) Models need to be developed to predict the impact on the biota of changes in water quality. 3) A process-oriented database needs to be created and maintained for the modelling efforts in the Northern Rivers. 4) Management objectives with regard to scale of prediction need to be clarified, and these goals have to be carefully evaluated with respect to data availability. 5) More emphasis has to be placed on models of water quality that can be adapted to evaluate changes in water quality broughtaboutbychangesintheprocesstechnologyofthepulpandpaperindustry. 6)Modelling teams need to be established, drawing experts from government, industry, and universities, to tackle the difficult interdisciplinary problems associated with the development of predictive water quality models.

A review of analytical methods for bitumens and heavy oils

Authors Wallace, D.
Year of Publication: 1988

Abstract:
Collection of studies attempting to establish the limitations of the numerous methods for analyzing bitumen and heavy oil.

A review of aquatic biomonitoring with particular reference to its possible use in the AOSERP study area

Year of Publication: 1980

Abstract:
The general principles, approaches, and methods of aquatic biomonitoring are outlined from a review of the literature, with emphasis on those aspects directly applicable to the Alberta Oil Sands Environmental Research Program (AOSERP) study area. It is argued that an aquatic biomonitoring program must be implemented in the study area to ensure that measures taken to protect the water systems are working, so that improvements may be made if need be. A series of suggestions for an aquatic biomonitoring program in the study area are made. The report recommends that: 1. A biomonitoring program be initiated in the study area; 2. Routine biomonitoring be preceded by at least a year of preliminary studies to establish the methodology that should be applied routinely, over the long term; 3. Consideration be given to monitoring four major groups of aquatic organisms (benthic invertebrates, periphyton, sessile bacteria, and fish); and 4. The biomonitoring program should be the responsibility of a group specializing in such studies.

A review of existing models and potential effects of water withdrawals on semi-aquatic mammals in the lower Athabasca River

Year of Publication: 2009

Abstract:
The main objective of this review project is to meet the IFNTTG s task of determining the relationship between river flows, side channels and aquatic mammal habitats in the lower Athabasca River. The purpose of this project is to complete an extensive literature review of the scientific and unpublished literature to determine the effects of varying river flows on the viability of habitat for beaver and muskrat, which in turn will be used to assess the potential for future model development. Interviews with trappers, elders, and others with significant experience in the area provide additional ecological area to supplement the literature review. The scope of the current project does not include the development of the conceptual model, but instead considers whether sufficient data exist to develop such a model.

A review of literature on pulp and paper mill effluent characteristics in the Peace and Athabasca River basins

Authors McCubbin, N., & Folke J.
Year of Publication: 1993

Abstract:
Report providing the reader with generalized knowledge of the pulp and paper milll treatment processes and about contaminants generally associated with their effluents, information relevant to the Northern Rivers Basins in Alberta (Peace, Athabasca and Slave Rivers).

A review of literature on the removal of inorganic contaminants from drinking water

Year of Publication: 1996

Abstract:
This review assesses the types of inorganic contaminants, the levels of inorganic contaminants, and the potential treatment processes that may be utilized for the removal of inorganic contaminants in the Northern River Basin Study (NRBS) area. The initial step in this assessment was to compile a list of the inorganic parameters regulated in both the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (GCDWQ) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Drinking Water Quality Guidelines. The inorganics in concern include arsenic, barium, boron, cadmium, chloride, chromium, copper, cyanide, fluoride, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nitrate, selenium, sodium, sulphate, sulphide, total dissolved solids, uranium, and zinc. In the case of GCDWQ, three criteria have been set for contaminant limits: MAC (maximum acceptable concentration), IMAC (interim maximum acceptable concentration), and AO (aesthetic objective). In order to assess the importance of these inorganic contaminants with particular relevance to the NRBS area, the next step in this review was to summarize the results of the inorganic data compiled by Prince et al (1995) in a prior study of drinking water quality in the study area. By comparing the reported levels with the guideline values from the CGDWQ and the WHO, it can be seen that in terms of inorganic contaminants, drinking water quality in the NRBS area is generally of good quality. With the exception of turbidity, the upper 95% confidence level concentrations were all below the health related guidelines. However, the aesthetic parameters were exceeded for total dissolved solids, iron, manganese, and sodium that might cause some taste / odor problems. The final aspect of analysis of inorganic contaminants in NRBS area was to present possible treatment methods for the reduction of given contaminants. Each inorganic contaminant was listed with the recommended treatment options, as well as the effects that conventional and advanced treatment processes have on given inorganics. It was found that not all inorganics could effectively be removed using conventional treatment processes. Cost factors should be considered when using advanced treatment processes. It is also important to note that an individual treatment method may be successful for the reduction of a certain type of inorganic, but it may contribute to the levels of other inorganics. Therefore, it is important that all types of contaminants are considered when making decisions on water treatment. Typically, a detailed analysis is required to consider site specific information. As is often the case in water treatment design and assessment, pilot and bench testing is required prior to implementing any significant changes.

A review of literature on the removal of microbial contaminants from drinking water

Year of Publication: 1997

Abstract:
The improvement of water quality is closely associated with man-environment relationships. There should be a dialogue between all actors and the community when undertaking water and sanitation activities. For positive results and better sustainability, the community should be involved and participate at all stages of water development and environmental sanitation schemes. A combination of safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene practices like hand washing is a pre-requisite for morbidity and mortality rate reduction, especially among under five years old children in developing countries. To reduce the incidence and prevalence of diarrhoeal diseases, improvements in the availability, quantity, and quality of water, improved sanitation, and general personal and environmental hygiene are required. The majority of people in developing countries do not have access to piped drinking water and must carry; transport and store water within their homes and in the process the quality of water may deteriorate. Therefore, slow sand filtration has been recognized as an appropriate technology for drinking water treatment in rural areas, and is recognized as a suitable filtration technology for removing water borne pathogens and reducing turbidity. It is capable of improving the physical, chemical, and microbiological quality of water in a single treatment process without the addition of chemicals, and can produce an effluent low in turbidity and free of bacteria, parasites and viruses.

A review of moose habitat requirements

Authors Rolley, R., & Keith L.
Year of Publication: 1979

Abstract:
This paper reviews moose habitat selection and discusses the environmental factors which affect selection. Moose use open areas and lowlands extensively in spring and early summer in apparent response to snow melt and early green-up in such areas, and possibly to the greater protein content of plants growing there. Increased use of taller more-mature stands in later summer and fall may be associated with a higher protein content of browse beneath a forest canopy. Disturbed sites (burns, logged areas, epidemic areas, windfalls, etc.) and stands of tall shrubs with an abundance of deciduous browse are heavily utilized during early winter and/or periods of low snow depth. Increasing snow depths restrict moose activity and intensify use of areas having dense vegetation and coniferous cover where snow is shallower. This constraint on movement may in part explain the increased consumption of coniferous browse during winter. Altitudinal migrations are frequently observed in mountainous regions. These are probably caused by selection of areas of greater forage quantity and quality, in addition to lesser snow depths during winter. Other factors that may affect moose habitat selection include the availability of escape cover and mineral licks.

A review of options for interjurisdictional institutions for the Northern River Basins Study

Year of Publication: 1995

Abstract:
This report presents a series of options for intexjurisdictional river basin institutions for consideration by the Northern River Basins Study (NRBS). It has two primary objectives. First, it develops a framework to guide the NRBS in the process of institutional design. Second, it describes a series of models that could be adopted for an intexjurisdictional body in the Northern River Basins. The central elements of the framework for institutional design are set out in Section 2. This section begins by discussing a series of paired concepts that have important implications for institutional arrangements. These concepts are: governmental versus non-governmental responsibilities; technical versus political issues; power versus influence; and centralization versus decentralization. These concepts define the general options to be considered in institutional design. A list of specific questions is then presented, illustrating the type of decision path that should be followed in the selection of particular institutions. Answers to these questions establish what type of institution is appropriate for particular policy objectives and contexts. Finally, Section 2 discusses a number of possible purposes and functions for an intexjurisdictional body in the Northern River Basins. The most important implications for institutional design of each purpose and function are noted. Sections 3 to 6 of this report set out four different models for intexjurisdictional institutional arrangements: the intergovernmental model; the independent commission model; the government- driven inclusive model; and the stakeholder-driven inclusive model. For each model, a general description of its principal characteristics is followed by a number of case studies illustrating its application. The intergovernmental model has been the preferred option to date in Canada’s intexjurisdictional watersheds. An agreement between governments establishes a body, usually comprised of water managers, to oversee implementation of an intergovernmental agreement and to facilitate interagency coordination. Stakeholders are usually not involved in these bodies, which generally have had fairly narrow and technical mandates. The Mackenzie River Basin Transboundary Waters Master Agreement, however, provides for a board which includes membership from the parties and First Nations. This agreement, if ratified by all governments, will establish an important intergovernmental institution in the Northern River Basins. The discussion of the intergovernmental model also distinguishes the general experience with interstate compacts in the United States from the situation prevailing in Canada, and describes a significant intergovernmental body concerned with water management in the Columbia basin in the American northwest. The independent commission model involves the appointment by government of an arm’s length institution with a defined mandate. While these bodies are usually advisory, they may be influential if they establish credibility within government and have a sufficiently high public profile. Adequate resources and access to technical expertise are also important. This model is illustrated by the International Joint Commission, a body created by Canada and the United States with responsibilities relating to boundary waters. It has been used in British Columbia to address contentious issues of resource and environmental management through the creation of a consensus oriented land-use planning process. It has also been used to provide an independent watchdog of government activities. Government-driven inclusive bodies have become increasingly popular in Canada as a way of providing stakeholder input into policy-making. They may also be used to resolve conflicts between stakeholder groups. These processes are government-driven in that they are usually initiated and funded by government. Representatives of different sectors are selected and a specific objective or more general mandate is defined. At this point, the participants may take an active role in process design. These bodies may be used for a wide range of functions, from defining general principles for resource management to recommending specific policy or legislative initiatives. As illustrated by the NRBS, multistakeholder bodies can also coordinate an interdisciplinary research project directed at improving resource management. The government-driven inclusive model is illustrated by initiatives in the Fraser Basin, round tables, institutional arrangements in Chesapeake Bay, and the Chelan Agreement in Washington. The final option is the stakeholder-driven inclusive model. These multistakeholder arrangements are the product of diverse interests coming together to address a common problem or to resolve a significant dispute. Frequently, they reflect dissatisfaction with governmental water management institutions, traditional patterns of interest-group politics, and dispute resolution through political and legal channels. While these bodies have significant obstacles to overcome in establishing trust among participants and finding adequate resources, they have been successful in some circumstances in addressing previously intractable issues. Being independent of government may allow them to undertake an oversight or watchdog function. If they develop sufficient credibility, they may also play a significant advisory role. The final section of this report sets out a practical approach to institutional design. This "modular" approach involves two steps: the selection of individual modules and the establishment of an overall institutional structure or architecture. Modules are selected to achieve specified policy objectives and to fit particular circumstances. The interrelations between modules is determined at the level of institutional architecture. This approach is proposed as a means of dividing the complex task of institutional design facing the NRBS into more manageable components.