Jim Schieck, research scientist at Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures, discusses how cumulative effects are currently being assessed in Alberta. He talks about the pilot study of how to use existing information to assess cumulative effects, how cumulative effects assessment is evolving in Alberta, and the current gaps in research.
The goal of the pilot project was to understand if they could use the abundant information available about species and habitat, increased scale of analyses, and complex modeling of habitat use to map and provide detailed prediction of cumulative effects.
Schieck explains that Alberta is slowly moving toward regulators funding cumulative effects research, instead of industry being expected to do it. The Joint Oil Sands Monitoring (JOSM) uses the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) as a base, and does additional monitoring, as well as supplementary monitoring for some species. There are remaining gaps in monitoring that should be addressed; there is not very much information on fish, rare plants, and species key to local habitats. This presentation was a part of the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada, Ecological Issues and Resource Access Forum in November of 2014.