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Found 10 records similar to Cause-Effect Monitoring, Oil Sands Region
Regional-scale monitoring focuses on understanding how and why boreal songbirds, including several Species at Risk, are affected by human activity across the Peace, Athabasca and Cold Lake oil sands area. Data are collected across multiple habitat types and across a range of disturbance intensities from low to high. Bird data were collected in various habitats, including some previously unsurveyed habitats, to fill information gaps in bird-habitat associations. Dataset 1 (2011–2013) comprises bird surveys in 41 representative habitat types within the Athabasca, Peace River and Cold Lake oil sands areas.
Local-scale projects focus on gaps in our understanding of complex response patterns at regional scales by targeting specific habitats or development features of interest. Environment and Climate Change Canada is monitoring how and why boreal birds respond to oil sands development features using 25-hectare survey sites selected to represent a range of disturbance intensities from low to high. Sites are visited multiple times during the breeding season, from early May through early July, to count the number of individual birds within the study site. The monitoring design targets habitat and disturbance types that have limited information.
The old-forest landbird monitoring program was initiated in 2014. Old-forest songbirds are a priority for monitoring because they can be vulnerable to habitat disturbance, and their habitats are less common overall and difficult to restore once disturbed. This augmented program employs a stratified sampling design of point count surveys to improve monitoring of rarer songbirds of conservation concern. These data will also be used to validate models that predict bird population changes in response to oil sands activity and to further refine bird monitoring design.
Environment and Climate Change Canada’s monitoring program for species at risk, rare and difficult-to-monitor species uses targeted sampling designs to assess the population status and trend of species that are not readily sampled by other programs. A formal analysis was used to prioritize landbird species for monitoring under this program. Old-forest songbirds were determined to be the highest priority for monitoring because they can be vulnerable to habitat disturbance, and their habitats are less common overall and difficult to restore once disturbed. An old-forest landbird monitoring program was initiated in 2014.
The forest understory vegetation community is a key ecosystem component of Haida Gwaii forests. Understory plants provide food for native fauna (bears, birds etc. ), structure for nesting habitat (eg. songbirds, auklets), and medicines for Haida use (among others).
The health of individual amphibians, amphibian populations, and their wetland habitats are monitored in the oil sands region and at reference locations. Contaminants assessments are done at all sites. Amphibians developing near oil sands activities may be exposed to concentrations of oil sands-related contaminants, through air emissions as well as water contamination. The focus of field investigations is to evaluate the health of wild amphibian populations at varying distances from oil sands operations.
Most songbirds in Kluane National Park and Reserve are medium-distance migrants and could be threatened by habitat degradation along migration routes. Songbirds could also indicate whether Kluane’s forests have recovered essential components of habitat after the extensive spruce bark beetle outbreak in the late 1990s. Point counts for songbirds are conducted twice annually in June in a white spruce dominated forest according to the Alaska Landbird Monitoring Strategy protocol. Birds are identified to species and enumerated by sight and sound
Plant health assessments and vegetation surveys are undertaken at both terrestrial and wetland sites in the oil sands region and in reference areas. Plant monitoring is being conducted for biodiversity and contaminants, and because plants are important both as wildlife habitat and as traditional-use species. Plant and soil samples are collected at monitoring sites near and at varying distances from oil sands operations. Plant tissues are being examined for levels of naphthenic acids (NAs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals.
Air emissions from oil sands development can come from a number of sources including industrial smokestacks, tailings ponds, transportation, and dust from mining operations. Air quality monitoring under the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for the Oil Sands is designed to determine the contribution of emissions from oil sands activities to local and regional air quality and atmospheric deposition both now and in the future. Source emission data include:
Compiled and assessed information from existing emissions inventories to enhance the quality of high resolution forecasts and simulations of air quality in the oil sands region;
Estimates of potential emissions to the air from tailings ponds analysed for reduced sulphur compounds (RSC), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and odour perceptibility.
Waterfowl and mammals harvested and trapped at various locations in the oil sands region and in reference locations are assessed for contaminant burdens and toxicology. Wildlife samples are obtained from local hunters and trappers. Tissue samples are analysed for concentrations of oil sands-related contaminants (heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and naphthenic acids). Dead and moribund birds collected from tailing ponds are also evaluated for levels and effects of contaminants.