Land Project Research

The documents below relate to Land projects that COSIA is involved in with external partners.

Visit the Caribou Knowledge Extension Library to find reports and research on caribou protection and restoration.

To view All Categories please visit our main Project Research page.

Prioritizing Zones for Caribou Habitat Restoration in the COSIA Area v2.0

This report is Version 2.0 of a project designed to prioritize townships for the restoration of caribou habitat in northeast Alberta. Version 1.0 was completed in July 2016. It was recognized at the time that several iterations were needed to incorporate new information and as new ideas were developed. This report (Version 2.0) is intended to be a stand-alone product, but for the full context, Version 1.0 can be used as a reference (ABMI 2016).

The objective of this project was to prioritize townships for the restoration of caribou habitat in northeast Alberta. The study area included five caribou ranges (Red Earth, Richardson, West Side Athabasca River, East Side Athabasca River, and Cold Lake) that were subdivided into townships for analysis.

In Situ Wetland Reclamation Guides: Guide for Reclaiming Aggregate and Borrow Excavations to Water Bodies

In situ oil sands operators are regularly undertaking small and large scale reclamation projects of in situ pads, roads, and aggregate and borrow excavations. Typically this work is undertaken by individual companies based on their own understandings of reclamation best practice.

This Land Environmental Priority Area (EPA) Led Study was prepared for COSIA to provide broad guidance for reclamation on in situ facilities. Its goal was to produce guidance to be used for planning, reporting and on-the-ground reclamation of wetlands, which could eventually be used as basis for wetland certification. Two guides have been produced as part of this EPA-led study, with the hope that they can be used as a starting point in future reclamation projects.

This guide presents current knowledge, recent research and best practices employed in the oil sands region of Alberta and abroad. Aggregate and borrow excavations can range considerably in depth. The guidance can be applied to water bodies ranging from shallow, non-permanent wetlands to small ponds and lakes. In all of these systems, the vegetated zone (defined as the area of the water body that has less than 2m of water depth) is most critical from and ecological and biodiversity perspective. Correspondingly, this document focusses on the design of this zone, irrespective of water body depth.

Partners: CPP Environmental
Category: Land
In Situ Wetland Reclamation Guides: Reclaiming In Situ Pads and Roads to Peatlands

In situ oil sands operators are regularly undertaking small and large scale reclamation projects of in situ pads, roads, and aggregate and borrow excavations. Typically this work is undertaken by individual companies based on their own understandings of reclamation best practice.

This Land Environmental Priority Area (EPA) Led Study was prepared for COSIA to provide broad guidance for reclamation on in situ facilities. Its goal was to produce guidance to be used for planning, reporting and on-the-ground reclamation of wetlands, which could eventually be used as basis for wetland certification. Two guides have been produced as part of this EPA-led study, with the hope that they can be used as a starting point in future reclamation projects.

This guide was prepared for COSIA to document, in one place, pilot projects conducted in Alberta for the reclamation of in situ facilities placed in peatlands. These pilot studies were carried out to evaluate the feasibility, cost and future performance of the reclamation techniques employed. Eventually, the state of practice will reach the point where the reclamation of pad and road sites to peatland may be ready for large-scale implementation.

Partners: CPP Environmental
Category: Land
COSIA Land EPA 2016 Mine Site Reclamation Research Report

This report summarizes progress for projects related to mine site reclamation of COSIA’s Land Environmental Priority Area (EPA). This report updates the previously published 2014 Mine Site Reclamation Research Report.

Partners: COSIA
Category: Land
Caribou Predator Fencing Pilot

Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) Land Environmental Priority Area (Land EPA) has been progressing a suite of caribou recovery tools, one of which is the Caribou Predator Fencing Pilot project (the Pilot). A predator fence is a conservation approach that establishes and maintains a small breeding subpopulation of caribou in a large fenced enclosure within its original range. The objective of the Pilot project is to advance predator fence design sufficiently to expedite Government of Alberta (GOA) endorsement and authorization of a caribou fencing trial. 

Partners: COSIA
Category: Land
Prioritizing Zones for Caribou Habitat Restoration in the COSIA Area v1.0

Boreal caribou populations are declining across Alberta and much of their Canadian range. Key factors causing this decline include a warming climate along with habitat change from industrial exploration and development. Habitat restoration has the potential to play a major role in the recovery of boreal caribou populations, and restoration of linear features associated with industrial development is likely to be a primary component of Range Plans for most caribou ranges in Alberta.

There is a need to develop zones to prioritize habitat recovery within a working landscape, allowing optimal allocation of limited resources. To address this need in the northeast ranges of Alberta, COSIA initiated this project to assess a variety of important values and biophysical criteria that would support restoration efforts while achieving a working landscape, thus attempting to maintain both economic and ecological values. The primary goal of this project was to prioritize restoration in defined zones in such a way as to maximally benefit caribou habitat given the resources available, while maintaining a working landscape.

An Exploration of Conservation Breeding and Translocation Tools to improve the Conservation Status of Boreal Caribou Populations in Western Canada

Woodland caribou populations are declining and caribou are listed as "threatened" federally under Canada’s Species At Risk Act (SARA) and provincially in many jurisdictions including Alberta. Unsustainable levels of predation, primarily on young calves, is widely recognized as the primary and proximate cause of decline throughout their range.

A multi-stakeholder workshop on caribou population augmentation tools was held in January 2016 and was attended by experts from the provincial and federal governments, environmental non-government organizations, academia, indigenous representatives, the energy sector and Zoo organizations. It was jointly hosted by the Calgary Zoo and facilitated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global organization that supports scientific research and develops cross-sectoral partnerships to foster nature conservation and species recovery.

Participants discussed the range of interventions and agreed that at least one conservation translocation technique (fencing, wild-to-wild translocation, captive breeding, maternal penning), or combination thereof, will be worthwhile pursuing to reduce the likelihood of extinction of at least one boreal caribou herd in Western Canada.

Linear Feature Restoration in Caribou Habitat: A summary of current practices and a roadmap for future programs

In the past several years, oil sands companies have initiated pilot projects to investigate the restoration of linear features. Efforts and intensity have varied between companies, with some initiating small restoration programs on lease and others initiating extensive programs off lease.

This report highlights current activities by COSIA companies, summarizes current practices into a ‘restoration toolbox’, proposes a planning framework to serve as a roadmap for future linear restoration programs, and then concludes with a series of future restoration planning recommendations.

Partners: Fuse Consulting
Category: Land

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