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Pelican Lake


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Location

Opportunity No. 17 AB T0G
Canada

Pelican Lake


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Location

Riverside AB
Canada

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.

Environmental Assessment - Cenovus Energy Inc. Pelican Lake Grand Rapids Project


Year: 2011

Abstract:
Environmental assessment registry documents pertaining to the proposed Cenovus Energy Inc. Pelican Lake Grand Rapids Project. The proposal involves steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) and solvent aided process (SAP) with a bitumen production capacity of 180,000 barrels per day. The location is approximately 300 km north of Edmonton within the Municipality of Opportunity. The EIA was deemed complete in 2014. For more information on the environmental assessment process visit ea.alberta.ca.

Citation:
[Anonymous] (2011).  Environmental Assessment - Cenovus Energy Inc. Pelican Lake Grand Rapids Project. MD of OpportunityT81-83 R20-23 W4Pelican Lake (Alta.). Abstract

Environmental Assessment - Cenovus Energy Inc. Pelican Lake Grand Rapids Project - EIA Report and application for approval


Year: 2011

Abstract:
Environmental Impact Assessment and associated applications pertaining to the proposed Cenovus Energy Inc. Pelican Lake Grand Rapids Project. The proposal involves steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) and solvent aided process (SAP) with a bitumen production capacity of 180,000 barrels per day. The location is approximately 300 km north of Edmonton within the Municipality of Opportunity. The EIA was deemed complete in 2014. For more information on the environmental assessment process visit ea.alberta.ca.

Ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapillus) in riparian buffer strips: Short-term response to upland timber harvest in Alberta's boreal mixed-wood forest


Author(s): Lambert, J. D.

Year: 1998

Abstract:
In managed forests, riparian buffer strips are maintained primarily to protect water quality. They are also thought to safeguard diverse plant and animal communities. The value of buffer strips to area-dependent and edge-sensitive forest songbirds, however, is largely unknown. Numbers of one such species, the Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus), have declined in narrow buffers following upland timber harvest I assessed the conservation potential of riparian buffer strips for Ovenbirds in Alberta's boreal mixed-wood forest. I measured abundance, territory characteristics, and pairing success in 20m, 100m, and 200m buffers, one year before and one year after upland clearcutting. Following timber harvest, Ovenbirds were absent from 20m buffer strips. Harvesting did not influence abundance, territory size, or pairing success in 100m or 200m buffers. Territories narrowed in both 100m and 200m buffers, though the response was significant only in the latter. Post-harvest territory position did not change in 200m buffers, but territories in 100m strips shifted lakeward, including more habitat adjacent to the riparian edge than before harvest. This positional adjustment may have resulted in changes to the structure of Ovenbird habitat. Further research is necessary to determine whether short-term results reflect long-term effects.

Post-fire compositional and functional recovery of western Canadian bogs


Author(s): Benscoter, B. W.

Year: 2007

Abstract:
Peatland ecosystems, which are predominantly found in northern boreal regions of Canada and Russia, accumulate carbon because photosynthetic production of the mosses dominating the ground layer exceeds their decomposition, thereby generating peat. Production and decomposition rates, and therefore peat accumulation, are species-specific. Therefore, changes in ground layer composition will have an effect on boreal peatland function.Fire is the most prevalent disturbance for boreal, western Canadian peatlands. Ombrotrophic, forested bogs are most affected by fire due to a drier peat surface relative to other peatland landforms and an extensive Picea mariana canopy. In addition to direct C losses during peat combustion, fire has indirect effects on bog C cycling through removal of the ground layer vegetation and alteration of the surface environment. Because peat accumulation varies among species, functional recovery post-fire is linked to ground layer succession, which varies with combustion severityTo assess the post-fire compositional and functional recovery trajectories of western Canadian bogs, I monitored the ground layer community structure, production, and decomposition from 2003 to 2006 along a chronosequence of historically burned bogs (1-106 years since fire). Ground layer succession was tri-phasic, grading from pioneer true mosses early post-fire (1-10 ysf) to a Sphagnum -dominated community (20-80 ysf), followed by feathermoss encroachment at the longest recovery times (>90 ysf). However, the ground layer biomass production trajectory was asymptotic, stabilizing at ca. 20 years post-fire and coinciding with Sphagnum dominance of the ground layer community. Decomposition in the upper peat column (top 40-cm) did not vary along the chronosequence.From my results, I developed models to assess the impact of an altered fire regime on peatland C storage. Increases in annual extent of wildfire and combustion severity under a 2xCO 2 scenario substantially extend the peatland C pool recovery time. Furthermore, other models suggest a substantial reduction of the fire return interval (< 70 yrs) will cause peatlands to become sources, rather than sinks, of atmospheric C. Warming will enhance this effect, requiring less of a reduction in fire interval to trigger the functional switch from carbon sink to source.

Postfire carbon balance in boreal bogs of Alberta, Canada


Year: 2008

Abstract:
Boreal peatland ecosystems occupy about 3.5 million km2 of the earth’s land surface and store between 250 and 455 Pg of carbon (C) as peat. While northern hemisphere boreal peatlands have functioned as net sinks for atmospheric C since the most recent deglaciation, natural and anthropogenic disturbances, and most importantly wildfire, may compromise peatland C sinks. To examine the effects of fire on local and regional C sink strength, we focused on a 12 000 km2 region near Wabasca, AB, Canada, where ombrotrophic Sphagnum-dominated bogs cover 2280km2 that burn with a fire return interval of 123

Regional-scale subsurface hydrogeology in northeast Alberta


Year: 1993

Abstract:
The hydrogeological regime of formation waters in the Phanerozoic sedimentary succession was determined for a region defined as Tp 70-103 W4 Mer (55-58 degrees;N latitude and 110-114 degrees;W longitude) in northeast Alberta, covering most of the Athabasca Oil Sand Deposit. The study was based on information from 12,479 wells, 3187 analyses of formation water, 2531 drillstem tests and 452,030 core analyses. Data management and processing were carried out using the INGRES Data Base Management System and specially designed software developed at the Alberta Geological Survey. The regional geology was synthesized in terms of definable stratigraphic successions, and 26 individual units were characterized by structure top and isopach maps. The hydrostratigraphy was developed through several iterations starting from the stratigraphy and lithology of the strata. Complex groups of aquifers and/or aquitards exhibiting generally common overall characteristics were grouped into hydrostratigraphic systems. Thirteen hydrostratigraphic units were identified in the Phanerozoic succession. The hydrogeological regime in aquifers was described using isopach, salinity distributions and freshwater hydraulic-head distributions. Cross-formational flow was evaluated using plots of pressure variation with depth in selected wells. Because the study area is situated at the feather edge of the Alberta Basin, topography and physiographic features exert a strong influence on the flow regime within most aquifers. In the most general sense, fluid flow is to the northeast toward the edge of the basin. Areas of high topography, such as the Birch and Pelican mountains, act as local recharge areas, introducing fresh meteoric water to aquifers unprotected by significant confining strata. The valleys of the Athabasca River system represent discharge areas for aquifers at outcrop or subcropping near them. The salinity of formation waters generally increases with depth. This is the result of a combination of factors like temperature, hence solubility increase with depth, dissolution of deep Devonian evaporitic beds, and dilution near the surface by meteoric water introduced by local flow systems. In terms of flow regime and overall characteristics, the hydrostratigraphic units can be grouped into pre-Prairie Formation aquifers, Beaverhill Lake-Cooking Lake aquifer system, Grosmont-to-Wabamun aquifers, and Cretaceous aquifers. The aquifers below the Prairie evaporite exhibit regional flow-regime characteristics. Overall high formation water salinity is associated with the proximity of Elk Point Group evaporites. The Beaverhill Lake-Cooking Lake aquifer system has hydrogeological characteristics consistent with an intermediate-to-local flow regime. Within subcrop and outcrop areas, local physiographic influences are superimposed over a regional northeastward flow trend. The Grosmont aquifer and Winterburn-Wabamun aquifer system may act locally as a 'drain' for aquifers in hydraulic continuity above and below. The flow of formation waters is generally to the northwest, towards discharge at outcrop along the Peace River. The Cretaceous aquifers are characterized by low salinity and local flow regime.The synthesis of this vast amount of information on the hydrogeological regime of formation waters in northeast Alberta was carried out under a jointly funded research project by the Alberta Research Council and Environment Canada.

The Arctic Prairies


Author(s): Seton, E. T.

Year: 2010

Abstract:
Ernest Seton was a naturalist, prolific author, and award winning illustrator who usually signed his letters with a paw print. A Native American spirit worshipping rebel, who didn't always bathe, he married twice and was sought after to speak at conferences around the globe.

The distribution foraging behaviour and allied activities of the white pelican in the Athabasca oil sands area


Author(s): Ealey, D. M.

Year: 1979

Abstract:
From mid to late summer 1977 an investigation was made of the distribution and foraging of White Pelicans in the Birch Mountains. This study was linked with a breeding investigation undertaken at the pelican rookery as part of the Alberta Oil Sands Environmental Research Program. Aerial surveys, ground observations, prey analysis and prey sampling were conducted. Pelicans were observed to regularly use foraging/loafing areas up to 69 km from the rookery. Timing of diurnal arrivals and departures from all locations showed that the birds belonged to the same population. A shift in concentrations of the pelicans was detected over the summer. Reasons for this shift were advanced. Trends in diurnal and seasonal activities were determined for the pelicans away from the rookery. Basic behavior seemed comparable to that observed at the rookery. The behavioural observations indicated the importance of foraging areas and loafing bars. Habitat features varied considerably for these locations but basic criteria were established for each. The locations of the foraging/loafing areas were determined for lakes in an intensive study area. The diet of juvenile pelicans included brook stickleback, northern pike and lake whitefish. The total fish consumption of the Birch Mountains population of White Pelicans was estimated at between 19.7 and 24.8 tonnes during the 1977 season. It is recommended that this investigation of distribution and foraging of White Pelicans be continued.

The fish and fisheries of the Athabasca River basin: Status and environmental requirements


Year: 1984

Abstract:
The information presented here reviews what is currently known of fish ecology and production of the Athabasca Basin, and includes discussions of fish production, sport and commercial use of fish populations, and alternative opportunities for recreational fishing in the rivers of the Athabasca Basin. Fisheries management objectives for the basin rivers and data gaps in existing knowledge of fish and fisheries are also discussed. In addition, water quality criteria for the protection of fish and aquatic life have been referenced, and, where possible, stream flows which affect fish populations have been included. The Athabasca Basin accounts for 23% of the land area of Alberta. For the purposes of this report, the basin has been divided into 10 sub-basins: four mainstem sub-basins, and six tributary sub-basins. The mainstems of the principal rivers of the 10 sub-basins provide approximately 4,390 km of fish habitat which can be roughly divided as providing 1,500 km (34%) coldwater habitat (supporting mainly trout and whitefish), 2,250 km (51%) warmwater habitat (supporting mainly pike, walleye, and goldeye), and 640 km (15%) transition zone intermediate between the two. Both commercial and recreational fisheries occur within the Athabasca Basin. The commercial fish catch represents a substantial proportion of the overall harvest and total market value of the Alberta commercial fishery. The recreational fishery occurs mainly in rivers and streams, though some lakes and reservoirs provide alternate opportunities. In 1980/81, approximately 9% (26,346) of Alberta's licensed anglers resided and fished within the Athabasca Basin. The opportunities provided to sport fishermen by the basin rivers have local, regional and in some cases, national significance. The Athabasca River rises high in the Rocky Mountains, and terminates at the delta created by the Peace and Athabasca rivers at the western extreme of Lake Athabasca. Over its length, the Athabasca River grows from a torrential high-mountain stream to a silt-laden major river at its delta, and its basin encompasses virtually every temperate stream type. In its upstream reaches, the Athabasca River flows generally northeast, steadily increasing in volume as it receives flows from the Berland, McLeod, Pembina, Lesser Slave, Lac La Biche, and Calling rivers. Further downstream, in the vicinity of a series of rapids, the river receives flows from the Pelican and Horse rivers. Near Fort McMurray, the Athabasca forms a confluence with the Clearwater River, and turns to flow north through the Athabasca Oi1 Sands region. Within the oil sands, the Athabasca River receives flows from many rivers and streams, including the Steepbank, Muskeg, Mackay, Ells, Firebag, and Richardson rivers. Reaching the Peace-Athabasca Delta near Embarras Portage, the Athabasca River subsequently forms part of the Mackenzie drainage, which empties into the Beaufort Sea. Flowing through diverse and widely differing terrain, including remote alpine areas, populated urban settings, and the 1argest open-pit oil sands mining sites in the world, the Athabasca Basin is made up of a corresponding variety of waterbodies. Within the basin, each sub-basin has characteristic fish-producing capabilities, which are largely determined by the conditions which contribute to its environment. The primary features of each sub-basin and the characteristics of its lakes and rivers are summarized.

The Highwood Site: A Pelican Lake Phase Burial from the Alberta Plains


Author(s): Brink, J. W., & Baldwin S.

Year: 1988

Abstract:
This report provides a site description of the Highwood Burial site in southern Alberta. The burial was that of a young individual, about 10 years old, whose body had been defleshed prior to burial. Interment had been in a small, sub-surface pit excavated into the bank of a high river terrace. The bones had probably been covered with red ochre and placed in a bundle. Also placed with the burial were grave goods consisting of a Pelican Lake projectile point, several other lithic tools, eleven perforated grizzly bear claws, several dozen perforated bison teeth, freshwater calm shell beads, a piece of native copper, and several exotic marine shells. A radiocarbon date indicates that the burial took place some 2,725 years ago. The Highwood site is compared with a number of other burial sites from the northern Plains, and it is concluded that a systematic manner of interring the dead was practiced in this region during the later part of the Middle Prehistoric Period. The most common, and potentially diagnostic, traits of this burial pattern are presented.

The influence of trophic state, thermal structure and winterkill on littoral macroinvertebrate communities in boreal plain lakes


Author(s): Langlois, P. W.

Year: 2000

Abstract:
Littoral macroinvertebrates were sampled from seven lakes varying in trophic state and thermal structure in north-central Alberta's Boreal Mixedwood ecoregion. Across the seven lakes, macroinvertebrate taxonomic richness was inversely related to total phosphorus concentration, and community diversity was positively related to thermal stability. Macroinvertebrate communities in less nutrient-rich, thermally stratified lakes, generally had higher relative biomass and density of amphipods and lower relative biomass and density of dipterans than communities in nutrient-rich, polymictic lakes. Total macroinvertebrate biomass was positively associated with total phosphorus concentration in stratified lakes only, suggesting that factors such as low dissolved oxygen availability negatively influence community structure in polymictic lakes. In the four study lakes with pike ( Esox lucius ) and perch (Perca flavescens ) assemblages, including one that experienced a winterkill during the study, the density of Gammarus sp. and Hyallela sp. varied inversely with fish density (either measured or projected) over time, suggesting that benthivorous fish may directly influence the density of larger, common macroinvertebrate prey. Observed relationships between littoral macroinvertebrate community structure, total phosphorus concentration, and water column thermal stability suggest that enhanced eutrophication or climatic warming could negatively affect benthic food webs in boreal lakes.

The role of landscape factors, predation, and demography in the ecology of anurans in boreal Alberta


Author(s): Eaton, B. R.

Year: 2004

Abstract:
I examined basic anuran biology, and responses to habitat disturbance and predators, in Alberta, concentrating on the province's boreal mixedwood ecoregion. Using landscape data for a 504 km2 area, I found that loss of small wetlands increased the distance between remaining water bodies, potentially exceeding the movement capabilities of most wood frogs (Rana sylvatica ). Using movement cost maps derived from slope, habitat, and moisture data, I found that most upland portions of the study area were potentially appropriate for wood frog use and travel. I used fish and anuran abundance estimates from 12 lakes over five years to examine relationships between these groups. Severe fish winterkills were often followed by large anuran recruitment events; young-of-the-year wood frog abundance was related most strongly to changes in abundance of small-bodied fish species, whereas toad (western, Bufo boreas , and Canadian, B. hemiophrys ) abundance was related to changes in populations of large-bodied fish species. I ran whole-pond experiments over 2 years to examine interactions between anuran larvae and small-bodied fish species. Wood frog larval activity and survival to metamorphosis were dramatically reduced in the presence of fathead minnow ( Pimephales promelas ) and brook stickleback (Culaea inconstans ); western toad larvae were unaffected by fish presence. Growth rates, longevity, and size at age of anurans often vary across latitude. Using skeletochronology, I examined these parameters for Canadian toads at four sites in three ecoregions across an 850 km latitudinal gradient from Brooks to Fort McMurray, Alberta. I also examined variation in age and size structure across three sites at a local scale. Growth rate, adjusted for length of active season, was higher at the two northern sites. Growth rates were similar at three boreal sites that were within 10 km of each other, but size structure of toad populations at these sites varied. Longevity varied from seven to 12 years across sites. Results of my research on the ecology of northern anuran populations can be used in conservation efforts focused on these species in western Canada.

Use of riparian buffer strips around lakes by mammals in north-central Alberta


Author(s): DeGroot, J. L.

Year: 2002

Abstract:
I investigated the effects of different widths of riparian forest buffer strips around lakes (20, 100, and 200 m) on habitat use and movement of mammals in the mixed-wood boreal forest of north-central Alberta. This research was conducted as part of the Terrestrial, Riparian, Organisms, Lakes, and Streams (T.R.O.L.S) Project between 1995-99. A total of 10,300 small mammals were live-trapped in 39,200 trap-nights. Small mammal abundance did not significantly differ between riparian and upland forest areas. Riparian forest buffer strip width did not significantly affect use by small mammals of forested areas adjacent to lakes. Snow-track count surveys, representing 14,691 tracks, indicated winter use by mammals (small mammals, red-squirrels, hares, weasel, mink, coyote, deer, and moose) of forest was similar at different distances from lakes. Different width buffer strips did not affect winter use by mammals of the riparian forest. This study indicates that different width riparian forest buffer strips do not significantly affect habitat use or travel of mammals in forested areas adjacent to lakes.