Oil Sands Monitoring Community Report
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Working Together for Alberta’s Environment

The Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency (AEMERA) is the arm’s length provincial agency created to measure, assess and inform the public on the condition of Alberta’s environment. To deliver on this important mandate, AEMERA funds and works closely with the following environmental monitoring agencies operating in the oil sands region of our province to deliver transparent access to scientific environmental data and information:


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Working Together for Alberta’s Environment

While environmental monitoring has been happening in Alberta for many years, as natural resource development activities have significantly increased in that time, so has the need for information on the condition of the environment as a whole, especially in terms of understanding cumulative effects.

AEMERA was created under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act to strengthen and improve environmental monitoring, evaluation and reporting activities in our province.

To deliver on this important mandate, AEMERA is working closely with many partners to better monitor the environment in the oil sands region, and to deliver transparent access to scientific results:


Cold Lake

The Cold Lake – Bonnyville – St. Paul region, often called The Lakeland, is abundant with things to see and do. The area is alive with beautiful flora and fauna, sandy beaches, hiking trails, watersports, fantastic fishing, dynamic towns and villages, and several vibrant First Nations communities and Metis Settlements. With a rich agricultural history, the hub of many communities is the local Farmers’ Market. Many communities can be found along the 300 kilometer Iron Horse Trail, which weaves it way through the region, a part of the Trans Canada Trail.

The first leases for tapping into the vast oil sands deposits in the Cold Lake region were acquired in the 1950s. In the mid-1960s a four-well pilot plant began testing steam injection in what would later be known as in-situ production. By the 1980s, commercial-scale cyclic steam stimulation (CSS) and steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) plants were being constructed. Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sand (CHOPS) is also a major type of extraction in use, particularly in the southern part of the region. Today, the Cold Lake area is home to well-understood and proven reservoirs with current bitumen production approaching 400,000 barrels per day.



The Athabasca region covers an area of 68000 km2 in northeastern Alberta. The population of the region, approximately 100,000, resides in the communities of Fort McMurray, Fort Chipewyan, Fort McKay, Anzac, Conklin, Janvier and in remote areas. The Athabasca Oil Sands, located in the region, are mined by traditional mining methods as well as by Steam Assisted Gravity Driven (SAGD) systems.


Peace River

The Peace River area includes Three Creeks, Seal Lake, Walrus, and Reno. Oil in the Peace River area is considered heavy oil, and companies primarily extract it though coil heavy oil production (CHOP). The recent launch of the Peace River Area Monitoring Program (PRAMP) Committee is one more collaborative step to address the needs of both industry operators and citizens in the region.

Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency

AEMERA is responsible for monitoring, evaluating and reporting on key air, water, land and biodiversity indicators, including information necessary to understand cumulative effects.

AEMERA’s work informs environmental decision-making by policy makers, regulators, planners, researchers, communities, industries and the public.

Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute

The ABMI is a leader in biodiversity monitoring. As an arm’s-length, non-profit scientific organization, we track changes in Alberta’s wildlife and their habitats from border to border.

With the data we collect and the knowledge we generate, we provide ongoing, relevant, and scientifically credible information on our province’s living resources to inform Alberta’s land-use decision makers and engage its citizens.

Lakeland Industry & Community Association

LICA supports the community by gathering and sharing information relevant to the environment and development in our region. The LICA region encompasses 18,000 square-kilometres in east-central Alberta, a part of the province rich with many parks, lakes, vibrant communities, and strong agricultural history. Our team monitors and reports on

real-time ambient air concentrations, long-term regional air quality patterns, and the potential acidifying effects of pollutants. We operate a premium network of four continuous monitoring stations, 26 passive monitoring stations, two volatile organic compound and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon samplers, and three soil acidification monitoring plots.

Wood Buffalo Environmental Association

The Wood Buffalo Environmental Association’s (WBEA) environmental monitoring network is one of the most integrated and intensively focused in Canada. We monitor the air, land, and human exposure to odours in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo of northeast Alberta, which includes the Athabasca Oil Sands.

With 38 members, we’re a dynamic collaboration of communities, environmental groups, industry, government, and Aboriginal stakeholders. Our monitoring data ensure that regional stakeholders and the broader public have the information they need to make informed environmental decisions.

Peace River Area Monitoring Program

PRAMP is a collaborative effort between the community, industry, and government. Formed in January 2015, our multi-stakeholder committee spans the Three Creeks, Reno, Seal, and Walrus regions. PRAMP has several monitoring stations that are independently run by both industry groups and regulatory bodies.

Currently, PRAMP focuses on odours and air emissions. We support meteorological measurements, and monitor hydrocarbons, sulphur gases, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in ambient air.

Environment and Climate Change Canada

At Environment and Climate change Canada (ECCC), our business is protecting the environment, conserving the country’s natural heritage, and providing weather and meteorological information to keep Canadians informed and safe. Environment and Climate change Canada is building on its accomplishments with the environment through credible science, effective regulations and legislation, successful partnerships, and high-quality service delivery to Canadians.

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