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Namur Lake


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Division No. 16 AB
Canada

Appendix 3.8: Traditional land use environmental setting report update


Year: 2013

Abstract:
The purpose of this Traditional Land Use (TLU) Environmental Setting Report (ESR) is to summarize TLU information relating to Shell Canada Energy’s (Shell’s) Pierre River Mine (PRM) Project that has become available since the Jackpine Mine Expansion and Pierre River Mine Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was submitted in 2007. Information sources used to prepare the ESR are listed in Section 1.2. When preparing a concise review based on multiple, lengthy literature sources, it may be necessary to paraphrase, summarize and interpret TLU information from the source material. Due to this practical limitation, it is recommended that the Joint Review Panel, and other reviewers, further examine the referenced source material in its entirety to have a fulsome perspective of the TLU information provided in those documents.

Breeding distribution and behaviour of the white pelican in the Athabasca oil sands area


Author(s): Beaver, R., & Ballantyne M.

Year: 1979

Abstract:
Aerial surveys and ground investigations were conducted in the spring and summer months from 1975 to 1977 on a breeding population of White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) in the Birch Mountains area of northeastern Alberta. In 1975, an undetermined number of White Pelicans bred at Big Island Lake located approximately 20 km northeast of Namur Lake; however, the sighting of only 12 young during a July aerial survey at that location suggested a small breeding flock. Pelicans did not breed successfully at Namur Lake, a previously occupied nesting location, during the course of this study. In 1976 and 1977, White Pelicans established nesting colonies and bred at a rookery site at Birch Lake, located approximately 10 km south of Namur Lake. Aerial photographs taken at the Birch Lake rookery during the height of the nesting season in late May and early June revealed 140 breeding pairs in 1976 and 70 pairs in 1977. Sixty-eight young were raised to the flying stage in 1976, compared with 55 in 1977, resulting in fledging rates of 0.49 and 0.78 young per nesting attempt in those respective years. Calculated breeding success (number of young raised to the flying stage from estimated total eggs laid) was 22.1 percent in 1976 and 35.7 percent in 1977. In 1976, an estimated eight to 20 nests were lost to rising water levels induced by beaver (Castor canadensis) dams constructed on the outflow channel of Birch Lake. Periodic removal of these dams prevented loss of nests in 1977 to flooding. Mortality during the breeding season included an 11.7 percent loss of eggs and a 19.1 percent loss of young in 1977, the only year for which such data were obtained. White Pelicans bred only on island sites located in permanent water bodies. The birds nested on flat or gently sloping terrain which provided loose substrates for nest mound construction. These substrates varied in composition from loose organic soils to gravel with scattered rock. Density and composition of vegetative cover at nesting locations were also variable, being partly modified by the nesting activity of the birds themselves. Pelicans, which were presumably foraging, were observed on water bodies as far as 69 km from the breeding site. Both adults and young demonstrated varying levels of behavioural responses to disturbances occurring near the rookery. The documentation of these responses and other behaviour is presented in a discussion which considers their implications with respect to the potential effects of development of the Athabasca Oil Sands deposits and the anticipated accelerated recreational use of the Birch Mountains wilderness. Management and reclamation strategies are discussed.

Guide to the Athabasca oil sands area


Year: 1973

Abstract:
The oil sands area is located in northeastern Alberta adjacent to the Canadian Shield (Fig. 1). The main drainage of the area is provided by the Athabasca-Clearwater system, the valleys of which are incised into a broad, muskeg-covered interior plain to depths of 200 to 300 feet. The tributary streams originate in three highland areas (Fig. 2): the Birch Mountains to the west of the Athabasca River which rise to about 2,700 feet, Stony Mountain south of Fort McMurray which reaches an elevation of 2,500 feet, and Muskeg Mountain to the east of the Athabasca River which rises gradually to 1,900 feet. To the southwest of the area, between Birch Mountain and Stony Mountain and north of the eastward flowing Athabasca River, is a subdued highland area with gentle slopes called the Thickwood Hills. These hills give rise to northward flowing tributaries of the MacKay River, and a few short streams flowing southward to the Athabasca. A number of shallow lakes are located in the area, the largest and most numerous of which are located on the top of the Birch Mountains and form an interconnected chain of lakes, which flow into the Ells River. These are called Eaglenest, Gardiner, and Namur Lakes. The only lakes of any size south of Fort McMurray are Algar and Gregoire Lakes. McClelland Lake, which is located in the lowlands northeast of Bitumount, is an area of internal drainage.

In Conflict


Author(s): Cryderman, K.

Year: 2013

Abstract:
"Any time that we have differences with somebody like [Jim Boucher], it's a cause for concern," he said. "I think he's been a very balanced First Nation leader with respect to the oil sands industry," Mr. [David Collyer] said. "What I would encourage is for all the parties concerned to try to find a constructive way through it."

Citation:

Investigations of mercury concentrations in walleye and other fish in the Athabasca River ecosystem with increasing oil sands developments


Author(s): Evans, M. S., & Talbot A.

Year: 2012

Abstract:
Recent studies have reported an increasing trend of mercury concentrations in walleye (Sander vitreus) from the Athabasca River, north eastern Alberta (Canada); these studies were based on three years of comparison and attributed the mercury increase to expanding oil sands developments in the region. In order to conduct a more comprehensive analysis of mercury trends in fish, we compiled an extensive database for walleye, lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), northern pike (Esox lucius) and lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) using all available data obtained from provincial, federal, and industry-funded monitoring and other programs. Evidence for increasing trends in mercury concentrations were examined for each species by location and year also considering fish weight and length. In the immediate oil sands area of the Athabasca River, mercury concentrations decreased (p < 0.001) in walleye and lake whitefish over 1984-2011. In western Lake Athabasca and its delta, mercury concentrations decreased (p < 0.0001) in northern pike (1981-2009) although no trend was evident for walleye (1981-2005) and lake trout (1978-2009). Mercury concentrations in lake trout from Namur Lake, a small lake west of the oil sands area, were higher in 2007 than 2000 (p < 0.0001); it is difficult to ascribe this increase to an oil sands impact because similar increases in mercury concentrations have been observed in lake trout from similar sized lakes in the Northwest Territories. While mercury emissions rates have increased with oil sands development and the landscape become more disturbed, mercury concentrations remained low in water and sediments in the Athabasca River and its tributaries and similar to concentrations observed outside the development areas and in earlier decades. Our fish database was assembled from a series of studies that differed in study purpose, design, and analytical methods. Future monitoring programs investigating mercury trends in fish should be more rigorous in their design.

Investigations of mercury concentrations in walleye and other fish in the Athabasca River ecosystem with increasing oil sands developments


Author(s): Evans, M. S., & Talbot A.

Year: 2012

Abstract:
Recent studies have reported an increasing trend of mercury concentrations in walleye (Sander vitreus) from the Athabasca River, north eastern Alberta (Canada); these studies were based on three years of comparison and attributed the mercury increase to expanding oil sands developments in the region. In order to conduct a more comprehensive analysis of mercury trends in fish, we compiled an extensive database for walleye, lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), northern pike (Esox lucius) and lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) using all available data obtained from provincial, federal, and industry-funded monitoring and other programs. Evidence for increasing trends in mercury concentrations were examined for each species by location and year also considering fish weight and length. In the immediate oil sands area of the Athabasca River, mercury concentrations decreased (p < 0.001) in walleye and lake whitefish over 1984–2011. In western Lake Athabasca and its delta, mercury concentrations decreased (p < 0.0001) in northern pike (1981–2009) although no trend was evident for walleye (1981–2005) and lake trout (1978–2009). Mercury concentrations in lake trout from Namur Lake, a small lake west of the oil sands area, were higher in 2007 than 2000 (p < 0.0001); it is difficult to ascribe this increase to an oil sands impact because similar increases in mercury concentrations have been observed in lake trout from similar sized lakes in the Northwest Territories. While mercury emissions rates have increased with oil sands development and the landscape become more disturbed, mercury concentrations remained low in water and sediments in the Athabasca River and its tributaries and similar to concentrations observed outside the development areas and in earlier decades. Our fish database was assembled from a series of studies that differed in study purpose, design, and analytical methods. Future monitoring programs investigating mercury trends in fish should be more rigorous in their design.

Namur Lake


Author(s): Morgenstern, D. C.

Year: 1975

Citation:
Morgenstern, D. C. (1975).  Namur Lake. Mineral resources sector technical report No. 3, 28.

Traditional fisheries of the Fort McKay First Nation


Author(s): Stanislawski, S.

Year: 1998

Abstract:
This study documents traditional fisheries and their uses within the aboriginal community of Fort McKay, located about 50 km north of Fort McMurray in north-eastern Alberta. Fourteen current and past fishermen in the community of Fort MacKay were interviewed between March 22, 1997 to March 22, 1998 for this study. The purpose of this study was to identify and describe the distribution of traditional fishing locations of the Fort McKay First Nation; to determine the relative importance and use of these fisheries; to determine all uses for the fisheries resource in the community; and to initiate a way of monitoring the Namur/Gardiner lakes system in particular, since this system is still relatively undisturbed and relied upon to provide quality fish to the Fort McKay community.Eighty-eight sites in forty-one different locations were identified as traditional fishing grounds for the Fort McKay First Nation, which concentrate on the Athabasca River corridor, Namur/Gardiner Lakes system and the Firebag River drainage. The author describes how fishing camps were set up along these traditional locations to smoke and dry fish for human consumption, provide stores of dog food and bait for trapping fur bearers. This study goes on to document some particulars regarding traditional fishing such as the various species caught, number of lines set, fishing methods, type of bait, and the angling gear used.