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Alberta oil sands: Supply security is just a pipeline away


Author(s): Herbst, A. M.

Year: 2004

Abstract:
We live in a world with a relentlessly growing demand for energy. Global geopolitical pressures and economics play important roles in the sourcing and development of energy and new strategic supplies. The availability of economical and secure supplies of energy, in particular crude oil, is especially important to the U.S. which consumes approximately 25% of the world's energy production. Ongoing instability in the Middle East has been a catalyst for the U.S. to seek crude oil supplies from sources closer to home such as Venezuela, Mexico and Canada. The Canadian oil sands industry, primarily located in the province of Alberta in western Canada, is one of the most secure sources of supply. Over the last few decades, Canadian oil sands production has grown from relatively modest test-well quantities to an amount approaching 1 million bpd. Oil sands are naturally occurring mixtures of several organic materials, mostly bitumen, water, sand and clay. A typical sample of oil sands contains approximately 12% bitumen by weight with a density greater than 960 kilograms per cubic meter, an API gravity of about 8 and a sulfur content of 4-6%. Alberta possesses three known large oil sands regions--Athabasca, Cold Lake, and Peace River. Advances in technology have made the production of bitumen (the hydrocarbon material found in oil sands) economically feasible and made it possible for these oil sands to be reclassified as proven reserves that measure 174.4 billion barrels. While these proven reserves are immense, their value is questionable if they cannot be developed and brought to market on a cost-effective basis.

An assessment of non-conventional drinking water in the Peace, Athabasca and Slave River basins


Year: 1997

Abstract:
It is estimated that approximately 25 % of the residents of the Northern River Basins Study area do not receive their drinking water from conventional drinking water treatment facilities. Therefore, these people rely on alternative sources for their drinking water supply. This report assesses the utilization and quality of the different non-conventional sources of drinking water that are used by people that do not consume conventionally treated water. Some of the non-conventional drinking water supplies utilized in the NRBS area include: (1) self-hauled treated water; (2) untreated surface water; (3) dugout water; (4) groundwater; (5) environmental sources of water such as snow, rain, and birch tree water; (6) bottled water; and (7) water treated by a variety of point-of-use technologies. There were four main research components in the assessment of these non- conventional drinking water supplies. First, the results of an in-depth review of the literature available on non-conventional drinking water sources, drinking water quality and the correlation of drinking water and health is presented in the first part ofthis report. Although the literature was limited on the actual consumption and quality of most of the non-conventional sources of drinking water consumed in the study area, substantial information exists on conventional drinking water quality as well as considerable information on several point-of-use treatment technologies. Essentially, the best type of point-of-use treatment depends on the raw water source. Perhaps the best point-of-use treatment method to use on water o f unknown quality is to boil it. The recommended boiling time in the literature varies considerably from simply heating the water to 50°C to vigorous boiling for 15 minutes. However, the majority of the authors cited a full boil for 1 minute as being sufficient to inactivate most pathogens. Besides boiling, there are numerous other point-of-use treatment technologies that employ disinfection (ultraviolet disinfection, ozonation, chlorination, iodination) and mechanical particle removal processes (such as sedimentation and filtration). The best available technology depends on the raw water source and likely incorporates more than one process to provide multiple barriers to ensure adequate drinking water quality. The second component of research regarding non-conventional drinking water in the Northern River Basins Study are was to visit selected NRBS communities and interview residents regarding their non-conventional drinking water practices. Remote areas around Fort Chipewyan, John D’Or Prairie, Fox Lake and Atikameg were visited and residents were asked about the sources and utilization on non-conventional drinking water supplies, as well as their overall drinking water quality concerns. It was through these informal interviews that most of the information was collected on the types of non-conventional drinking water used and how it was treated, if at all, prior to consumption. Many of the people interviewed discussed the deterioration of some of the surface water sources in the study area, but the majority of the concerns presented regarding drinking water quality in this study was in regards to the addition of chlorine in the conventional drinking water treatment process. Based on this, it was found that some people who do have conventionally treated water delivered to their home, collect a non-conventional supply of water for consumption such as from a nearby lake or river. This water has been called “special drinking water” by those consumers. It was also based on these findings that a series of population sub-groups that may be particularly pre-disposed to consuming non-conventional drinking water was postulated. First, those that live in remote areas not i serviced by conventional drinking water facilities are obvious consumers of non-conventional drinking water supplies. Second, some NRBS residents may be traditional consumers of alternative drinking water supplies. Many elderly residents may be included in this second group. Third, NRBS residents may consume non-conventional drinking water as a result of cultural activities such as living off the land expeditions or other wilderness activities. And the final group includes those individuals that consume non-conventional drinking water supplies for health reasons. This may include people that drink bottled water for its perceived health benefits as well as those that consume special drinking water to avoid the taste and smell o f chlorine in conventionally treated water. Third, during these field trips, samples of non-conventional drinking water were collected and these samples were analyzed for various physical, chemical and microbiological parameters. The non- conventional samples collected included untreated lake, river and creek water, spring water, groundwater well water, snow water, bottled water, and one sample of water treated with a point-of- use filter. Although the number of samples collected was limited and does not allow for absolute conclusions, several trends can be hypothesized. It was found that untreated surface water did not meet many of the physical, chemical and microbial guidelines in the GCDWQ. Although the groundwater samples collected met the microbiological limits in the GCDWQ, some physical and chemical parameters may be exceeded. The bottled water samples were found to have a very high background bacterial count and the point of use device tested was found to have actually contributed coliforms to the influent water supply. The fourth component in the assessment of non-conventional drinking water supplies in the Northern River Basins Study area was to pursue research on the effectiveness on some of the portable point-of- use drinking water treatment filters on the market. The reason for this was because there is a very limited body o f literature regarding these devices, and the claims made by the manufacturers suggest that these units are suitable to provide a safe supply of drinking water for wilderness campers and travelers. For the rigorous laboratory testing of these units, three filters were chosen to represent the larger market. The filters were chosen based on the type of filter media (carbon media, plastic media and silver impregnated ceramic media were selected), the price range (least expensive to most expensive were tested), and each unit was from a different manufacturer. The filters were subjected to an influent test water with a high turbidity, high bacterial count and a high particle count. It was found that only the silver impregnated ceramic filter was capable of reducing the turbidity, bacterial count and particle levels to below recommended levels for supplying a safe drinking water. However, further microbiological tests on this unit are required before it can be recommended for utilization in the study area.

How one First Nations group in Alberta reaps a windfall from oilsands development


Year: 2015

Abstract:
In 1983 Dorothy MacDonald, chief of the small Fort McKay First Nation, which sits in the middle of the world's richest oilsands deposits, decided to take on the trucks roaring through her community night and day loaded with lumber for construction sites. She mobilized a roadblock that lasted eight days and eventually pushed the Alberta government to intervene. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]

Movement patterns and orientation mechanisms in garter snakes


Author(s): Lawson, P. M. A.

Year: 1991

Abstract:
The objectives of this study were to determine movement patterns and navigational ability of garter snakes (Thamnophis) living in a mild climate and compare them with a congeneric population known to be migratory. From 1986-1988 I examined movement behaviour of two populations of garter snakes at Spectacle Lake Provincial Park (SLPP) on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Thamnophis sirtalis, the common garter snake, is the most widely distributed North American snake species and high latitude populations are migratory. Thamnophis ordinoides, the northwestern garter snake, is restricted to the Pacific northwest and migratory behaviour has never been reported. Both species displayed combinations of traits clearly suggesting nonmigratory behaviour. Home ranges overlapped between individuals, averaged less than 0.3 ha measured over a single active season, and were not clearly distinct from denning areas. Although some directionality of movement was evident, it was likely related to foraging strategy. The navigational abilities of a migratory population of T. sirtalis from Wood Buffalo National Park (WBNP) in northern Alberta were examined as were those of the nonmigratory populations of snakes from SLPP. Displacement studies were carried out during the active seasons of 1986-1988 to determine the level of orientational abilities present in each population and to examine potential orientation cues. Snakes were displaced from their home range and tested in an arena under a variety of conditions. The results demonstrated that T. sirtalis from both SLPP and WBNP possessed advanced navigational abilities. Advanced skills may be absent in T. ordinoides. Thamnophis sirtalis at both study sites demonstrated time-compensated solar orientation as determined by 6 hr phase-delayed tests. Pheromone trails produced by recently copulated females (but not unmated females) also provided an orientation guide for displaced WBNP males, but results from SLPP were less conclusive. Thamnophis ordinoides did not respond in a discernible way to either cue. Navigational skills thus vary relatively little between migrating and nonmigrating populations of the same species but may be poorly developed in completely nonmigratory species.

Potential impacts of beaver on oil sands reclamation success - an analysis of available literature


Year: 2013

Abstract:
The North American beaver (Castor canadensis) is a large semi-aquatic rodent that has played a central role in shaping the Canadian boreal landscape, and colonial Canadian history. Exploitation of North American beaver populations to supply the European hat industry spurred the westward expansion of European explorers and traders into the continental interior. With intensive unregulated harvest, beavers virtually disappeared across much of their range; though populations are recovering, the species is only about 10% as abundant as it was before the fur trade took its toll. As a result, much of the recent ecological history of the Canadian boreal forest has occurred in the absence of this keystone ecosystem engineer, and the ecological state that we perceive as natural is in many regions quite different than it was a century ago. Beavers, while playing an important role in structuring streams and wetlands by altering vegetation communities and water flow patterns, may also affect human structures. In the mineable oil sands region of northeastern Alberta, much of the landscape will be impacted by mining. Mine sites will have to be reclaimed, and those reclaimed sites will consist of engineered landforms (including water bodies and waterways); the long-term hydrological and ecological function of those sites may be vulnerable to beaver activity. In an effort to determine if approaches exist that could manage the risk of beavers colonizing and negatively impacting reclaimed sites, we performed an extensive literature search and analysis. Our objective was to examine characteristics of beaver ecology that might potentially impact reclamation plans, and to identify possible methods to mitigate those impacts. We also include information on traditional use, historical abundance, and current abundance in the mineable oil sands region to provide important historical and ecological context. Although beavers inhabit a range of aquatic habitats, the focus of our review is on watercourses that could be dammed by beavers. Of the aquatic habitats which will be constructed during reclamation, these systems are probably the most vulnerable to impacts from beaver activity. Note, however, that inlet and outflow streams from lakes may be vulnerable to beaver activity, which could impact the performance of constructed lakes in a variety of ways. Beavers alter stream form and function, create wetlands, and change vegetation patterns. The most important predictor of beaver occurrence is stream gradient, with low gradients being associated with higher beaver activity. Stream depth and width, soil drainage, and stream substrate are also important. Although beavers may also respond to vegetation factors, such as tree or shrub species and density, hydrological factors are more important predictors of beaver occupancy of a site. The primary forage preferred by beavers includes deciduous tree and shrub species. Aspen (Populous tremuloides) is the species most preferred by beaver, and is a common component of reclamation plantings and natural recolonization of reclamation sites in the oil sands region. Beavers are central-place foragers, meaning foraging is concentrated around a central home base. They typically harvest deciduous trees and shrubs up to 60 m or more from the water, but most harvest occurs less than 30 to 40 m from the water’s edge. Predation (and predation risk) restricts the size of beavers’ foraging areas, and may also regulate their population size. Management of wolf populations to limit predation on caribou in northeastern Alberta may have significant indirect effects on beaver abundance and distribution by releasing them from predation pressure. The boreal forest ecosystem of Canada evolved over millennia with the beaver as a keystone species altering hydrological systems, creating vast areas of wetlands and beaver meadows, changing vegetation communities and modifying geomorphological processes. Reclamation of functional ecosystems in the region must therefore integrate beavers and their engineered structures. The most ecologically- and cost-effective approach is to design reclaimed areas with the objective of including beaver, but directing beaver activity to areas away from vulnerable reclamation structures. Ecological function requires the presence of beaver on the post-reclamation landscape, and the species is important to First Nations peoples and other trappers in the area. Although beaver abundance can be expected to increase in the area after reclamation, their activities will result in the replacement of existing vegetation with species of lower nutritional quality to beaver (conifer trees). This is expected to result in a beaver population decline and then stabilization over time. With beavers an integral component of the functional landscape, it is important to create “beaver exclusion zones” to ensure that the impact of the species is diverted to areas where beaver activity does not damage reclamation structures. There are very few existing studies of beaver impacts to reclaimed areas. Incorporating ecologically-based strategies for keeping beaver density low in sensitive areas at the outset of a reclamation project, and then monitoring the effectiveness of that strategy, is the best advice that can be derived from our analysis of the existing literature. Beavers could be discouraged from settling at a site by creating streams with steep gradients (>10%) that are wide and deep enough to ensure substantial water flows, are armoured with rock or cobble bottoms, and are bordered by coniferous tree species and/or grass and sedge species. Trees should be planted at high density to prevent growth of shrubs and deciduous trees in the understory, as these are preferred by beaver. Deciduous vegetation should not be planted during reclamation near sites where beavers are to be excluded, and it may be necessary to remove existing deciduous trees and shrubs and replace them with conifers, grasses and sedges in these areas. Although planting specific types of vegetation may be used to discourage beavers from settling a certain area in the short term, natural succession could eventually result in other vegetation communities attractive to beavers. Therefore, unless long-term vegetation management is envisioned, reclamation plans should not rely on using vegetation to dissuade beaver activity in sensitive areas alone, though this approach may be used in combination with other methods, especially in the few decades immediately following reclamation. Note that the goal is to plan for a maintenance-free environment in which ongoing beaver control is unnecessary, and the use of multiple strategies in tandem to guide beaver activity is more likely to achieve this goal. More active, maintenance-intensive techniques could be used to limit the damage caused by beaver dams to sensitive areas. These techniques include lethal (e.g., kill trapping or shooting) and nonlethal (e.g., relocation) methods to reduce population density. However, these methods require constant effort, and can be expensive. Another approach is to manipulate water flow through existing beaver dams using pipe drainage systems; this allows the beaver dam to stay in place, while reducing the risk that it will trap enough water to be dangerous if the dam should fail. Again, however, these drainage systems require long-term maintenance. One approach may be more sustainable in the long term and require less maintenance: minimize or maximize water flow through engineered channels, as beavers are less likely to use very low-flow and very high-flow watercourses. Note that beavers may still affect these channels, especially when population densities are high or other habitat is unavailable; however, the probability of beavers affecting very low-flow or high-flow channels is lower than for watercourses with more moderate flows. Creating several dispersed low-flow channels may make an area less desirable to beavers compared to a single moderate flow channel. Similarly, multiple low- to moderate-flow channels could be created, with some having characteristics that attract beavers (“decoys”) and others that do not (“exclusions”), allowing water flow to continue through some channels even in the presence of beavers. “Pre-dam” fences can be installed on decoy streams to create a structure to encourage beavers to occupy a site where damage is not a concern. Discharge could be controlled by regulating water flow through exclusion streams that are not dammed, or by installing flow devices though dams on decoy streams. A similar approach might be used on culverts that allow streams to flow beneath roadways; flow devices could be used proactively at these sites, and/or oversized culverts could be installed to allow maintenance of the natural width of the stream channel and reduce the noise of running water, which attracts beaver activity. Although many different landforms on the reclaimed landscape may be vulnerable to beaver activity, a few are considered critical areas where beaver impacts must be controlled, including the outlets of lakes, side-hill drainage systems, and constructed peatlands. Beaver activity at the outlet of constructed lakes could cause instability in containment structures, negatively affect littoral and riparian zones around the lake, and increase the probability of catastrophic outburst flooding. Damming of side-hill drainage systems could cause stream avulsion and routing of water flow into a new pathway not engineered for a stream, causing increased erosion. Flooding of constructed peatlands could convert them to open-water systems, thereby subverting their intended ecological function. These critical areas should be protected from beaver activities, while other areas should be designed to accommodate this important species. In practice, several different approaches – tailored to specific situations and landforms – will be necessary to develop and implement plans that accommodate beavers as a part of the post-reclamation landscape. As so few data exist to inform effective reclamation in the presence of beavers, all of the methods we suggest carry an unknown degree of risk. This risk can be decreased in the future by adapting methods based on observed effectiveness. We recommend implementing a research and adaptive management program on the influence of beavers on reclamation within the context of oil sands reclamation in northeast Alberta. Lack of existing information, particularly in northeast Alberta, illustrates the need to implement research that documents the positive and negative influence of beavers on reclamation sites and tests alternative methods to prevent negative and support positive influences. Otherwise reclamation strategies will be ad-hoc and tenuous, with a mixed success rate. A research and monitoring program would ideally contribute to a standardized strategic approach to mitigating negative beaver influences on reclamation of watercourses in the oil sands region. Beavers are, to a certain extent, unpredictable. No single approach will guarantee that a site will be unaffected by beaver activity. We suggest that multiple management approaches be simultaneously implemented at sites that are particularly vulnerable or critical for the functioning of the reclaimed landscape (e.g., outlet streams from constructed lakes). It is impossible to predict all eventualities, as the character of the reclaimed landscape will change over time due to successional processes, fire, global climate change, and resource extraction. The information we provide is the best available based on limited current knowledge, and provides the best chance for minimizing risk while accommodating this keystone species. Ultimately, the presence of beavers on reclaimed oil sands leases will increase biodiversity, enhance ecosystem goods and services, and assist in developing ecosystems that are consistent with natural systems in the boreal region.

Potential impacts of beaver on oil sands reclamation success–an analysis of available literature


Year: 2013

Abstract:
The North American beaver (Castor canadensis) is a large semi-aquatic rodent that has played acentral role in shaping the Canadian boreal landscape, and colonial Canadian history. Exploitation of North American beaver populations to supply the European hat industry spurred the westward expansion of European explorers and traders into the continental interior. With intensive unregulated harvest, beavers virtually disappeared across much of their range; though populations are recovering, the species is only about 10% as abundant as it was before the furtrade took its toll. As a result, much of the recent ecological history of the Canadian boreal forest has occurred in the absence of this keystone ecosystem engineer, and the ecological state that we perceive as natural is in many regions quite different than it was a century ago. Beavers, while playing an important role in structuring streams and wetlands by altering vegetation communities and water flow patterns, may also affect human structures. In the mineable oil sands region of northeastern Alberta, much of the landscape will be impacted by mining. Mine sites will have to be reclaimed, and those reclaimed sites will consist of engineered landforms (including water bodies and waterways); the long-term hydrological and ecological function of those sites may be vulnerable to beaver activity. In an effort to determine if approaches exist that could manage the risk of beavers colonizing and negatively impactingreclaimed sites, we performed an extensive literature search and analysis. Our objective was to examine characteristics of beaver ecology that might potentially impact reclamation plans, and to identify possible methods to mitigate those impacts. We also include information on traditional use, historical abundance, and current abundance in the mineable oil sands region to provide important historical and ecological context. Although beavers inhabit a range of aquatic habitats,the focus of our review is on watercourses that could be dammed by beavers. Of the aquatic habitats which will be constructed during reclamation, these systems are probably the most vulnerable to impacts from beaver activity. Note, however, that inlet and outflow streams fromlakes may be vulnerable to beaver activity, which could impact the performance of constructed lakes in a variety of ways. Beavers alter stream form and function, create wetlands, and change vegetation patterns. The most important predictor of beaver occurrence is stream gradient, with low gradients being associated with higher beaver activity. Stream depth and width, soil drainage, and stream substrate are also important. Although beavers may also respond to vegetation factors, such astree or shrub species and density, hydrological factors are more important predictors of beaver occupancy of a site.The primary forage preferred by beavers includes deciduous tree and shrub species. Aspen(Populous tremuloides) is the species most preferred by beaver, and is a common component of reclamation plantings and natural recolonization of reclamation sites in the oil sands region. Beavers are central-place foragers, meaning foraging is concentrated around a central home base. They typically harvest deciduous trees and shrubs up to 60 m or more from the water, but mostharvest occurs less than 30 to 40 m from the water’s edge. Predation (and predation risk) restricts the size of beavers’ foraging areas, and may also regulate their population size. Management of wolf populations to limit predation on caribou in northeastern Alberta may have significant indirect effects on beaver abundance and distribution by releasing them frompredation pressure.The boreal forest ecosystem of Canada evolved over millennia with the beaver as a keystone species altering hydrological systems, creating vast areas of wetlands and beaver meadows,changing vegetation communities and modifying geomorphological processes. Reclamation offunctional ecosystems in the region must therefore integrate beavers and their engineered structures. The most ecologically- and cost-effective approach is to design reclaimed areas withthe objective of including beaver, but directing beaver activity to areas away from vulnerablereclamation structures. Ecological function requires the presence of beaver on the post-reclamation landscape, and the species is important to First Nations peoples and other trappers in the area. Although beaver abundance can be expected to increase in the area after reclamation, their activities will result in the replacement of existing vegetation with species of lower nutritional quality to beaver (conifer trees). This is expected to result in a beaver population decline and then stabilization over time. With beavers an integral component of the functional landscape, it is important to create “beaver exclusion zones” to ensure that the impact of thespecies is diverted to areas where beaver activity does not damage reclamation structures.There are very few existing studies of beaver impacts to reclaimed areas. Incorporating ecologically-based strategies for keeping beaver density low in sensitive areas at the outset of a reclamation project, and then monitoring the effectiveness of that strategy, is the best advice thatcan be derived from our analysis of the existing literature. Beavers could be discouraged from settling at a site by creating streams with steep gradients (>10%) that are wide and deep enoughto ensure substantial water flows, are armoured with rock or cobble bottoms, and are bordered byconiferous tree species and/or grass and sedge species. Trees should be planted at high density to prevent growth of shrubs and deciduous trees in the understory, as these are preferred by beaver. Deciduous vegetation should not be planted during reclamation near sites where beavers are to be excluded, and it may be necessary to remove existing deciduous trees and shrubs and replace them with conifers, grasses and sedges in these areas. Although planting specific typesof vegetation may be used to discourage beavers from settling a certain area in the short term,natural succession could eventually result in other vegetation communities attractive to beavers. Therefore, unless long-term vegetation management is envisioned, reclamation plans should notrely on using vegetation to dissuade beaver activity in sensitive areas alone, though this approachmay be used in combination with other methods, especially in the few decades immediately following reclamation. Note that the goal is to plan for a maintenance-free environment in whichongoing beaver control is unnecessary, and the use of multiple strategies in tandem to guidebeaver activity is more likely to achieve this goal. More active, maintenance-intensive techniques could be used to limit the damage caused bybeaver dams to sensitive areas. These techniques include lethal (e.g., kill trapping or shooting)and nonlethal (e.g., relocation) methods to reduce population density. However, these methodsrequire constant effort, and can be expensive. Another approach is to manipulate water flowthrough existing beaver dams using pipe drainage systems; this allows the beaver dam to stay in place, while reducing the risk that it will trap enough water to be dangerous if the dam shouldfail. Again, however, these drainage systems require long-term maintenance.One approach may be more sustainable in the long term and require less maintenance: minimize or maximize water flow through engineered channels, as beavers are less likely to use very low-flow and very high-flow watercourses. Note that beavers may still affect these channels,especially when population densities are high or other habitat is unavailable; however, the probability of beavers affecting very low-flow or high-flow channels is lower than forwatercourses with more moderate flows. Creating several dispersed low-flow channels maymake an area less desirable to beavers compared to a single moderate flow channel. Similarly, multiple low- to moderate-flow channels could be created, with some having characteristics thatattract beavers (“decoys”) and others that do not (“exclusions”), allowing water flow to continuethrough some channels even in the presence of beavers. “Pre-dam” fences can be installed ondecoy streams to create a structure to encourage beavers to occupy a site where damage is not aconcern. Discharge could be controlled by regulating water flow through exclusion streams that are not dammed, or by installing flow devices though dams on decoy streams. A similar approach might be used on culverts that allow streams to flow beneath roadways; flow devices could be used proactively at these sites, and/or oversized culverts could be installed to allowmaintenance of the natural width of the stream channel and reduce the noise of running water,which attracts beaver activity.Although many different landforms on the reclaimed landscape may be vulnerable to beaver activity, a few are considered critical areas where beaver impacts must be controlled, includingthe outlets of lakes, side-hill drainage systems, and constructed peatlands. Beaver activity at the outlet of constructed lakes could cause instability in containment structures, negatively affectlittoral and riparian zones around the lake, and increase the probability of catastrophic outburstflooding. Damming of side-hill drainage systems could cause stream avulsion and routing ofwater flow into a new pathway not engineered for a stream, causing increased erosion. Floodingof constructed peatlands could convert them to open-water systems, thereby subverting theirintended ecological function. These critical areas should be protected from beaver activities,while other areas should be designed to accommodate this important species.In practice, several different approaches – tailored to specific situations and landforms – will benecessary to develop and implement plans that accommodate beavers as a part of the post-reclamation landscape. As so few data exist to inform effective reclamation in the presence ofbeavers, all of the methods we suggest carry an unknown degree of risk. This risk can bedecreased in the future by adapting methods based on observed effectiveness. We recommend implementing a research and adaptive management program on the influence of beavers onreclamation within the context of oil sands reclamation in northeast Alberta. Lack of existing information, particularly in northeast Alberta, illustrates the need to implement research thatdocuments the positive and negative influence of beavers on reclamation sites and testsalternative methods to prevent negative and support positive influences. Otherwise reclamationstrategies will be ad-hoc and tenuous, with a mixed success rate. A research and monitoring program would ideally contribute to a standardized strategic approach to mitigating negativebeaver influences on reclamation of watercourses in the oil sands region. Beavers are, to a certain extent, unpredictable. No single approach will guarantee that a site willbe unaffected by beaver activity. We suggest that multiple management approaches besimultaneously implemented at sites that are particularly vulnerable or critical for the functioning of the reclaimed landscape (e.g., outlet streams from constructed lakes). It is impossible topredict all eventualities, as the character of the reclaimed landscape will change over time due tosuccessional processes, fire, global climate change, and resource extraction. The information weprovide is the best available based on limited current knowledge, and provides the best chancefor minimizing risk while accommodating this keystone species. Ultimately, the presence of beavers on reclaimed oil sands leases will increase biodiversity, enhance ecosystem goods andservices, and assist in developing ecosystems that are consistent with natural systems in the boreal region.

Proportion of Population by Language Spoken Most Often at Home, Alberta Economic Regions


Year: 2009

Abstract:
This Alberta Official Statistic describes the proportion of population based on language spoken most often at home in each economic region as reported in the 2011 population census. Alberta is divided into eight economic regions as follows: Lethbridge – Medicine -Hat; Camrose-Drumheller; Calgary; Banff – Jasper – Rocky Mountain House; Red Deer; Edmonton; Athabasca – Grande Prairie – Peace River; and Wood Buffalo – Cold Lake.

Proportion of Population by Mother Tongue, Alberta Economic Regions


Year: 2009

Abstract:
This Alberta Official Statistic shows the proportion of population by mother tongue in the eight Alberta economic regions for the 2011 Census year. Alberta is divided into eight economic regions as follows: Lethbridge – Medicine -Hat; Camrose-Drumheller; Calgary; Banff – Jasper – Rocky Mountain House; Red Deer; Edmonton; Athabasca – Grande Prairie – Peace River; and Wood Buffalo – Cold Lake. Mother tongue refers to the first language learned at home in childhood and still understood by the person on May 10, 2011. Non-official languages are languages other than English or French. According to the 2011 census, 77.8% of Albertans reported English as their mother tongue, followed by a non-official language (20.1%), and French (2.1%). The Red Deer economic region reported the highest proportion of Albertans with English as a mother tongue (89.7%) and the lowest proportion of Albertans with a non-official language as a mother tongue (8.9%), while Calgary reported the lowest proportion (73.4%) of Albertans with English as mother tongue and the highest proportion of Albertans with a non-official language as a mother tongue (24.9%).

Suitability of small fish species for monitoring the effects of pulp mill effluent on fish populations, Athabasca River, 1994 and 1995


Year: 1996

Abstract:
The objectives of this project were addressed by first identifying common sentinel species immediately upstream and downstream of pulp mill effluents at Hinton and Whitecourt. Spoonhead sculpin and lake chub were identified as sentinel species because of their abundance in the Hinton and Whitecourt reaches of the river, respectively. These species are assumed to have limited mobility and a small home range. This project attempted to document the geographic extent of biochemical responses in fish subjected to prolonged exposures during low flow periods (i.e., fall and early spring). This was accomplished by conducting laboratory analyses on the fish tissues collected from the field to determine the potential for the pulp mill effluents to disrupt sex steroid levels and induce liver MFO activity.

The status of biodiversity in the oil sands region of Alberta


Year: 2014

Abstract:
The Oil Sands Region (OSR) of Alberta consists of three provincially recognized oil sands administrative units called oil sands areas—the Athabasca, Peace River, and Cold Lake Oil Sands Areas. In this busy landscape where agriculture, forestry, along with energy extraction, are important land-use activities, managing the cumulative effects of these activities is challenge. In this report we describe the status of species, habitat, and human footprint in the OSR, circa 2014.