Project Research

The documents below relate to various interest areas that COSIA is involved in with external partners.

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

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. [LINK] 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.

Scan and Evaluation of Natural Gas Decarbonization Technologies

In an effort to reduce GHG emissions from steam boilers, COSIA’s GHG EPA members are seeking to better understand the landscape of natural gas decarbonization pathways and technologies.

In 2015, COSIA commissioned Alberta Innovates to generate the report “A Review of Natural Gas Decarbonization Technology for Application in SAGD Steam Generation” which provided a review of the technologies COSIA had received through its Environmental Technology Assessment Portal (E-TAP). This largely consisted of different processes to partially oxidize natural gas into carbon and synthesis gas. COSIA wished to identify all thermodynamic pathways available to decarbonize natural gas and thus commissioned this work. This study looks to understand the current state of knowledge on the different classes of technologies as well as build off the previous work done to date.

Category: GHG
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
Development of a Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage Reference (SAGD) Facility

COSIA seeks to inspire and stimulate creative new ideas to reduce the environmental footprint and improve efficiency associated with SAGD production technologies. COSIA uses flow diagrams to facilitate the evaluation of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction opportunities by providing a common basis of understanding for prospective technology developers.

This report was prepared for COSIA following the development of flow diagrams to help technology vendors to become more familiar with SAGD operations, including the material and energy balances for various reference configurations in Central Processing Facilities. The report is intended to support technology vendors in identifying how their technologies might integrate with existing SAGD facilities, assist with quantifying the potential GHG and water benefits of their technology, and help with presenting proposals to COSIA.

Partners: Candor Engineering
Category: GHG
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
Development of a Static Oil Sands Mine and Extraction Reference Facility

COSIA uses flow diagrams to facilitate the evaluation of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction opportunities by providing a common basis of understanding for prospective technology developers.

This report was prepared for COSIA following the development of flow diagrams to explain the process used to develop them and their intended use. Details regarding the differences associated with Paraffinic Froth Treatment (PFT) and Naphthenic Froth Treatment (NFT) are outlined and the GHG emissions calculation process is explained. The report concludes with a description of the flow diagrams and the assumptions used to prepare them.

Partners: Tetra Tech Canada
Category: GHG
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.

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