Land-Use References

Year Title (Author, Description) File Download

Warning Signs Mitigate Deer–Vehicle Collisions in an Urban Area

Rob Found, Mark S. Boyce

Increasing collisions with deer (Odocoileus spp.) and other large animals, and the rise in associated public safety risks and economic costs, have made mitigation strategies a priority for both transportation and wildlife managers. Deer-crossing warning signage is one of the oldest forms of mitigating deer–vehicle collisions (DVCs), but despite their low cost and logistical simplicity, the effectiveness of standard-sized permanent warning signage at reducing DVCs has not previously been adequately determined. We used historical DVC data, based on deer carcass retrieval, to identify and target areas and periods of high collision frequency. We installed warning signs at these high collision frequency locations and then compared DVCs to un-signed control locations. The total number of DVCs at signed hotspots was significantly different in the year after the signs were installed, compared to the 3 prior years (F13 ¼ 4.99, P ¼ 0.004). Although the single year of posttreatment data means the long-term efficacy of warning signage remains unknown, we showed that in the first year after installation, deer-crossing signs targeting high collision locations can be effective at reducing DVCs.

Contact ALCES for Rob Found, Mark S. Boyce, 2011

Guidelines for Using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria

The Standards and Petitions Subcommittee of the IUCN Species Survival Commission

The IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria were first published in 1994 following six years of research and broad consultation (IUCN 1994). The 1994 IUCN Categories and Criteria were developed to improve objectivity and transparency in assessing the conservation status of species, and therefore to improve consistency and understanding among users. The 1994 categories and criteria were applied to a large number of species in compiling the 1996 Red List of Threatened Animals. The assessment of many species for the 1996 Red List drew attention to certain areas of difficulty, which led IUCN to initiate a review of the 1994 categories and criteria, which was undertaken during 1998 to 1999. This review was completed and the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria (version 3.1) are now published (IUCN 2001). This document provides guidelines to the application of version 3.1 of the categories and criteria, and in so doing addresses many of the issues raised in the process of reviewing the 1994 categories and criteria. This document explains how the criteria should be applied to determine whether a taxon belongs in a category of threat, and gives examples from different taxonomic groups to illustrate the application of the criteria. These guidelines also provide detailed explanations of the definitions of the many terms used in the criteria. The guidelines should be used in conjunction with the official IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria booklet (IUCN 2001).

Contact ALCES for The Standards and Petitions Subcommittee of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, 2011

Catalogue of Coal Mines of the Alberta Plains

J. D. Campbell

A comprehensive catalogue is presented of all coal mines that have been registered or opened in the plains regions of Alberta. Included are data on surrounding terrain, geology and composition of the coal, and a location map on a scale of one inch to 12 miles.

Contact ALCES for J. D. Campbell, 1964

Integrated Landscape Management Modelling Workshop

Policy Research Institute

Sound land-use decision-making requires that social, economic, and environmental values be balanced, and that any repercussions within these three areas due to a decision taken in another be identified and taken into account. Land-use planning and environmental impact assessments (both aspects of integrated landscape management) could be improved, and the decision-making process better informed, through the use of integrated landscape management models (ILMM).

Contact ALCES for Policy Research Institute, 2005

A Policy for Resource Management of the Eastern Slopes

Alberta Energy and Natural Resources

Management in the Eastern Slopes, past and present, and a framework of provincial natural resource goals.

Contact ALCES for Alberta Energy and Natural Resources, 1984

The effects of Linear Developments on Wildlife: A Review of Selected Scientific Literature.

Jalkotzy, M. G., Ross, P. I., and Nasserden, M. D.

This report is a reference to be used when information is required regarding the effects of linear development on wildlife. It is divided into a number of sections. The basis of the literature review was an electronic search of biological and related electronic databases. The scope of this research is detailed in Section 2. Since the basis for understanding the effects of linear developments on wildlife is the ecology of landscapes, Sections 3 provides an introduction to the basic concepts of landscape ecology and Section 4 outlines the major functions of disturbance corridors. The effects of linear developments on wildlife can be divided into 6 major groupings, and these are outlined in Section 5. Section 6 examines the effects of linear corridors from the perspective of corridor type. Sections 5 and 6 are meant to be brief overviews of their respective topics. Section 7 forms the bulk of the report and examines, in detail, the effects of linear developments on different wildlife species and species groups. Large mammals are dealt with at the species level, whereas medium-sized carnivores are dealt with as a group, as are birds. The final section, Section 8, briefly reviews mitigative measures currently in use.

Contact ALCES for Jalkotzy, M. G., Ross, P. I., and Nasserden, M. D., 1997

Quantifying land use of oil sands production: a life cycle perspective

Sarah M Jordaan, David W Keith and Brad Stelfox

Methods for the inclusion of land use in life cycle assessment are not well established. Here, we describe an approach that compares land disturbance between spatially compact and diffuse activities that contribute to the life cycle of a single product, in this case synthetic crude from Alberta’s oil sands. We compare production using surface mining and in situ extraction technologies. In situ technologies disturb less land per unit of production than surface mining, but the spatial footprint of in situ production is more dispersed—increasing landscape fragmentation—and in situ production requires more natural gas which increases land use due to gas production. We examine both direct and peripheral land use of oil sands development by quantifying land disturbance using a parameterized measure of fragmentation that relies on ‘edge effects’ with an adjustable buffer zone. Using a life cycle perspective, we show that the land area influenced by in situ technology is comparable to land disturbed by surface mining when fragmentation and upstream natural gas production are considered. The results suggest that land disturbance due to natural gas production can be relatively large per unit energy. This method could be applied to other energy developments, for example, a comparison between coal mining and natural gas production when both fuels are used to generate electricity.

Contact ALCES for Sarah M Jordaan, David W Keith and Brad Stelfox, 2009

Lake Simcoe Basin’s Natural Capital: The Value of the Watershed’s Ecosystem Services

Sara J. Wilson

This study quantifies the natural capital value of the ecosystem goods and services provided by Lake Simcoe’s watershed, a section of which is located in Ontario’s Greenbelt. At a minimum estimated worth of $975 million per year, the services provided by the watershed are worth $2,780 to each of the 350,000 permanent residents annually. This study represents the first application of this methodology to a watershed in southern Ontario. Goods and services provided by ecosystems are traditionally undervalued as they go unmeasured by conventional economics. These benefits include storage of floodwaters by wetlands, air pollution absorption, climate regulation, pollination of crops and water filtration, resulting in clean air and water and safe and abundant local food sources. In order to measure the value of these benefits, this study first describes the watershed’s natural assets – that is, the extent of the forests, wetlands, grasslands, water bodies, agricultural lands and urban or built-up areas. Then, using market-determined values (e.g. the avoided increased costs of a man-made water filtration service as a proxy for the existing capabilities of a natural system to filter water), the study was able to quantify many of the goods and services that are provided by the watershed.

Contact ALCES for Sara J. Wilson, 2008

Land Advocate: News for Canadians living with oil and gas production

Andrew Nikiforuk

A democratic voice for landowners and the land. An advocate for more 100,000 farmers, ranchers and landowners in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. We'll separate the oil from the gas to give you the best and most informed perspective on what's right and what's wrong in the oil patch.

Contact ALCES for Andrew Nikiforuk, 2003

Land and Water Impacts of Oil Sands Production in Alberta

Sarah Jordaan

Review of the Land and Water Impacts of Oil Sands Productions in Alberta

Contact ALCES for Sarah Jordaan, 2012

Literature Review of Selected Best Management Practices Specific to Agricultural Practices in Red-Assiniboine River Watersheds

Stephanie Melles

Contact ALCES for Stephanie Melles , 2009

Relationships between Soil and Runoff Phosphorus in Small Alberta Watersheds

Joanne Little, Sheilah Nolan, Janna Casson, and Barry Olson

Field-scale relationships between soil test phosphorus (STP) and flow-weighted mean concentrations (FWMCs) of dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) and total phosphorus (TP) in runoff are essential for modeling phosphorus losses, but are lacking. The objectives of this study were (i) to determine the relationships between soil phosphorus (STP and degree of phosphorus saturation (DPS)) and runoff phosphorus (TP and DRP) from field-sized catchments under spring snowmelt and

Contact ALCES for Joanne Little, Sheilah Nolan, Janna Casson, and Barry Olson, 2006

Nighttime lights as proxy for the spatial growth of dense urbanized areas

Nicola Pestalozzi

Nighttime lights constitute a very appealing database that can be used to measure various different aspects of the human footprint on the planet. The amount of research and the number of publications around this dataset confirm this, offering a broad spectrum of applications that involve economics, energy, society and environment. I chose to use them to study the spatial extension and the relative distribution of settlements around the Earth and their evolution over time. I analyzed the DMSP-OLS ‘stable lights’ database of the NGCD consisting in a catalog of world images of the last 19 years. I discovered that the mean center of lights is moving steadily to South-East. This reflects the extreme growth experienced by the urban centers in the developing countries, especially in Asia. I further developed a version of the Gini coefficient to compare the statistical spatial dispersion of nighttime lights, unexpectedly finding that all the countries show a very similar inequality value, quickly converging to the same coefficient by raising the lower threshold of light detection. Further, I analyzed the evolution of the lit area at a country level and in the largest urban agglomerations, finding that whereas most developing countries and cities are experiencing an incredible spatial growth in illumination, some ‘historical’ conurbations present rather constant or even decreasing emissions. This could be a signal of success of the light pollution abatement programs launched in the last years.

Contact ALCES for Nicola Pestalozzi, 2012

Mayatan Lake State of the Watershed Report

Melissa Logan, P.Biol., Billie Milholland, B.A., and David Trew, P.Biol.

The purpose of this report is to summarize all available environmental information for Mayatan Lake and its surrounding watershed. This report also provides a benchmark against which future stewardship activities and best management practices aimed at maintaining and improving watershed health can be assessed. The information will provide landowners, stakeholders, Parkland County and the Mayatan Lake Management Association (MLMA) with the information needed to support sound management decisions and develop solutions to protect or enhance land and water resources in the watershed. It also serves as a localized component and example of NSWA’s larger basin planning initiative, the Integrated Watershed Management Plan for the North Saskatchewan River Basin.

Contact ALCES for Melissa Logan, P.Biol., Billie Milholland, B.A., and David Trew, P.Biol., 2012


Manitoba Cattle Producers Association

This document is provided to the Government of Manitoba as a recommended roadmap for establishing a province-wide social and ecological goods and services payment program for the agricultural sector in Manitoba. The proposal presented herein is based on the growing international policy consensus that domestic farm policies need to be adjusted to better reflect the multifunctional role of agriculture as not only an economic activity but also as a larger environmental and social activity. This world-wide re-interpretation of agriculture has resulted in the re-instrumentation of domestic agri-environmental and rural development policies internationally, with a decisive turn towards the use of financial incentives to reward agricultural producers for their on-going provision of ecological and social good and services to the remainder of society. The recommended approach is the creation of a Manitoba Environmental and Rural Stewardship Program – a unified provincial policy instrument capable of delivering modular, staged, and ‘trade-green’ remuneration for the multiple public good functions of agriculture which have historically been subject to market failure. Shaped in the context of the experiences and lessons learned from various pilot projects in Canada and the many ecological/social goods and services programs already existing thought the world, the proposed program seeks to optimize the aggregate supply of agricultural commodities, ecological goods and services, and social benefits produced by rural Manitoba. It is MCPA’s view that sufficient information and data are available today to begin the staged transition from the original ALUS pilot project to the adoption of a province-wide stewardship payment program that works for all of agriculture in Manitoba.

Contact ALCES for Manitoba Cattle Producers Association, 2008

Leverage Points: Places to intervene in a system

Donella H. Meadows

What you are about to read is a work in progress. It's not a simple, sure-fire recipe for finding leverage points. Rather, it's an invitation to think more broadly about the many ways there might be to get systems to change.

Contact ALCES for Donella H. Meadows, 1999

Moose Alces alces behaviour related to human activity


The spatiotemporal dynamics of human activity requires a better understanding of the ecological effects on wildlife. This thesis focuses on the behavioural response of a harvested species, moose (Alces alces), to dynamic human activities e.g. hunting and recreation, and to static influences like roads, using experimental and descriptive approaches. Potentially lethal (hunting) and non-lethal (hiking, snowmobiling) activities provoked short-lived increases in moose movement activity and caused spatial displacement. The data suggests a uniform response towards unexpected disturbance and that moose are sensitive to human proximity. Hunting clearly provoked the strongest response. Moose approached by a hunting dog commonly fled, suggesting adjustments in anti-predator behaviour towards a nonnative predator. This may lead to predator facilitation where wolves and human predation co-exist, because the moose’s behavioural response towards one predator possibly increases the predation risk by the other. Unexpectedly, hiking and motordriven (snowmobiling) recreational activity caused a comparable change in moose behaviour. The short-lived response towards dynamic human activities indicates a rather minor impact on moose total energy budget from a single disturbance. Moose seldom crossed roads, but did increasingly so during migration. Roadcrossing sites were aggregated, suggesting well established travel routes and corridors for migratory moose. Moose did not cross roads more often during hunting season. In general, moose little utilized habitats in proximity to roads. Moose-vehicle collisions did not occur where and when moose most commonly cross roads. My results suggest a higher risk to human safety during times of poor visibility and close to urban areas, but not necessarily in the vicinity of forests. For wildlife subject to intensive harvest and sensitive to human proximity, I emphasize the need to include animal behavioural, landscape ecological, political as well as socio-economical aspects for future research concerning human-wildlife interactions. I also recommend future research to combine wildlife movement data from active tracking sensors such as GPS-collars together with collision data to improve conclusions about wildlife movement corridors and traffic risk zones.

Contact ALCES for WIEBKE NEUMANN, 2009

A new method to estimate species and biodiversity intactness using empirically derived reference conditions

S.E. Nielsen, E.M. Bayne, J. Schieck, J. Herbers, and S. Boutin

Critical to the conservation of biodiversity is knowledge of status and trends of species. To that end, monitoring programmes have reported on the state of biodiversity using reference conditions as comparison. Little consensus exists on how reference conditions are defined and how such information is used to index intactness. Most use protected areas or an arbitrary year as reference. This is problematic since protected areas are often spatially biased, while arbitrarily defined reference years are often not sufficiently distant in time. Biological Conservation 137 (2007)

Contact ALCES for S.E. Nielsen, E.M. Bayne, J. Schieck, J. Herbers, and S. Boutin, 2007

New Tools for New Times

Casey Vander Ploeg

The livability and economic prowess of our large cities is of fundamental importance to western Canada’s quality of life and long-term prosperity. The fate of our large cities is a key determinant of the future of our democracy, economy, and way of life. Understanding the constellation of issues that must be addressed for our cities to reach their potential and compete with the great cities of the world is the goal of the Canada West Foundation’s Western Cities Project. The project has been providing decision-makers and the public with timely and accessible information about urban issues and putting forward practical recommendations for addressing urban public policy challenges since 2000. With the generous support of the Cities of Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Vancouver, and Winnipeg, we have embarked on a new phase of the project that runs until the end of 2008. This new phase will include groundbreaking work on street level social problems, innovative options for funding urban infrastructure, the economies of western Canada's big cities, public transit, the connections between inner city areas and suburban areas, and the intergovernmental relationships that cut across these and other issues.

Contact ALCES for Casey Vander Ploeg, 2006

Defining Pre-Industrial and Current Disturbance Regime Parameters for the North Saskatchewan Regional Planning Area

David Andison

This report is a technical and scientific support document to the land use planning process for the North Saskatchewan Regional Plan landscape. More specifically, the information here will provide the best available state-of-knowledge of the pre-industrial and current or business-as-usual disturbance regimes. Furthermore, this information will be used as input for a scenario / simulation modelling exercise. Specifically the Objective is: To provide a complete and succinct summary of the current state of knowledge of all key parameters of the historic and current disturbance regimes of the North Saskatchewan landscape in a model-user-friendly format.

Contact ALCES for David Andison, 2011

Implications of changing environmetnal requiresments on oil sands royalties

E Valera and C.B. Powter

Examines relationships between elevating environmental costs of oilsands and government royalties

Contact ALCES for E Valera and C.B. Powter, 2012

Scenario Planning: a Tool for Conservation in an Uncertain World

Garry Peterson, Graeme Cumming, and Stephen Carpenter

Conservation decisions about how, when, and where to act are typically based on our expectations for the future. When the world is highly unpredictable and we are working from a limited range of expectations, however, our expectations will frequently be proved wrong. Scenario planning offers a framework for developing more resilient conservation policies when faced with uncontrollable, irreducible uncertainty. A scenario in this context is an account of a plausible future. Scenario planning consists of using a few contrasting scenarios to explore the uncertainty surrounding the future consequences of a decision. Ideally, scenarios should be constructed by a diverse group of people for a single, stated purpose. Scenario planning can incorporate a variety of quantitative and qualitative information in the decision-making process. Often, consideration of this diverse information in a systemic way leads to better decisions. Furthermore, the participation of a diverse group of people in a systemic process of collecting, discussing, and analyzing scenarios builds shared understanding. The robustness provided by the consideration of multiple possible futures has served several groups well; we present examples from business, government, and conservation planning that illustrate the value of scenario planning. For conservation, major benefits of using scenario planning are (1) increased understanding of key uncertainties, (2) incorporation of alternative perspectives into conservation planning, and (3) greater resilience of decisions to surprise.

Contact ALCES for Garry Peterson, Graeme Cumming, and Stephen Carpenter, 2003

Phosphorus Sources and Sinks in Watersheds: A Review

Sandi Riemersma, Joanne Little, Gerald Ontkean, and Tanya Moskal-Hébert

Many regions around the world are concerned with phosphorus (P) and the risk it poses to water quality. Phosphorus is the limiting nutrient in most freshwater systems and, when in excess, it can accelerate eutrophication. Many countries have adopted some form of phosphorus management strategy to reduce the risk of phosphorus entering surface water from agricultural land. In Alberta, the Soil Phosphorus Limits Project was initiated in 1999 to develop soil phosphorus limits that will maintain or improve surface water quality by minimizing phosphorus loading from agricultural soils. With laboratory work complete, micro-watershed studies have recently been initiated to identify the relationship between dissolved phosphorus (DP) and soil test phosphorus (STP). However, on a larger scale there are a variety of phosphorus sources and sinks within watersheds that influence the phosphorus content of surface water. A key question is what proportion of phosphorus in surface water can be attributed to agricultural land, and what factors govern inconsistencies in the various sources and sinks. To better understand this complex issue, a review of literature pertaining to phosphorus sinks and sources was conducted. Research carried out in Alberta and elsewhere that attempted to integrate phosphorus fluxes on a watershed scale was assessed, and its implications on the Soil Phosphorus Limits Project discussed.

Contact ALCES for Sandi Riemersma, Joanne Little, Gerald Ontkean, and Tanya Moskal-Hébert, 2006

Integrated Place-Based Approaches for Sustainable Development

The Policy Research Institute

Place-based approaches address social, environmental or economic issues and thus offer the promise of operationalizing Sustainable Development (SD) principles. By focusing attention on policy issues as they play out in concrete geographic and community settings, place-based approaches provide a means to grasp complex and sometimes unexpected connections. This issue of Horizons provides a sense of the diversity of place-based approaches as they are applied in different policy areas, and identifies some of the lessons learned from an SD perspective.

Contact ALCES for The Policy Research Institute, 2010

Potential of Rangelands to Sequester Carbon in Alberta

Eric Bremer

Contact ALCES for Eric Bremer, 2008

Quantifying barrier effects of roads and seismic lines on movements of female woodland caribou in northeastern Alberta

Simon J. Dyer, Jack P. O’Neill, Shawn M. Wasel, and Stan Boutin

Linear developments such as roads, seismic lines, and pipeline rights-of-way are common anthropogenic features in the boreal forest of Alberta. These features may act as barriers to the movement of threatened woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou). Thirty-six woodland caribou were captured and fitted with global positioning system collars. These collared caribou yielded 43 415 locations during the 12-month study period. We compared rates of crossing roads and seismic lines with rates at which caribou crossed simulated roads and seismic lines created using ArcInfo GIS. Seismic lines were not barriers to caribou movements, whereas roads with moderate vehicle traffic acted as semipermeable barriers to caribou movements. The greatest barrier effects were evident during late winter, when caribou crossed actual roads 6 times less frequently than simulated road networks. Semipermeable barrier effects may exacerbate functional habitat loss demonstrated through avoidance behaviour. This novel approach represents an important development in the burgeoning field of road ecology and has great potential for use in validating animal-movement models.

Contact ALCES for Simon J. Dyer, Jack P. O’Neill, Shawn M. Wasel, and Stan Boutin, 2002

Quantification of Extinction Risk: IUCN’s System for Classifying Threatened Species

G. Mace, N. Collar, K. Gaston, C. Milner-Gulland, and S. Stuart

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species was increasingly used during the 1980s to assess the conservation status of species for policy and planning purposes. This use stimulated the development of a new set of quantitative criteria for listing species in the categories of threat: critically endangered, endangered, and vulnerable. These criteria, which were intended to be applicable to all species except microorganisms, were part of a broader system for classifying threatened species and were fully implemented by IUCN in 2000. The system and the criteria have been widely used by conservation practitioners and scientists and now underpin one indicator being used to assess the Convention on Biological Diversity 2010 biodiversity target. We describe the process and the technical background to the IUCN Red List system. The criteria refer to fundamental biological processes underlying population decline and extinction. But given major differences between species, the threatening processes affecting them, and the paucity of knowledge relating to most species, the IUCN system had to be both broad and flexible to be applicable to the majority of described species. The system was designed to measure the symptoms of extinction risk, and uses 5 independent criteria relating to aspects of population loss and decline of range size. A species is assigned to a threat category if it meets the quantitative threshold for at least one criterion. The criteria and the accompanying rules and guidelines used by IUCN are intended to increase the consistency, transparency, and validity of its categorization system, but it necessitates some compromises that affect the applicability of the system and the species lists that result. In particular, choices were made over the assessment of uncertainty, poorly known species, depleted species, population decline, restricted ranges, and rarity; all of these affect the way red lists should be viewed and used. Processes related to priority setting and the development of national red lists need to take account of some assumptions in the formulation of the criteria.

Contact ALCES for G. Mace, N. Collar, K. Gaston, C. Milner-Gulland, and S. Stuart, 2008

Habitat Management in the Yukon Winter Range of the Little Rancheria Caribou Herd

J.Z. Adamczewski, R.F. Florkiewicz and V. Loewen

Woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) ranges have shrunk substantially across North America due to the complex effects of human-caused habitat changes. As a result, COSEWIC1 listed nearly all woodland caribou populations in Canada as either Threatened or of Special Concern in May 2002. The Little Rancheria Herd (LRH) of caribou, which numbered about 1,000 in 1999, has a lowland forested winter range with some merchantable pine and spruce stands just west of Watson Lake, Yukon. Timber harvest in this range has to date (2003) been limited but the potential for habitat fragmentation is high. In this report we develop a long-term approach to habitat management of the Yukon LRH winter range, based on the herd’s habitat use and ecology, together with studies and management of woodland caribou elsewhere. The direct and indirect effects of development on woodland caribou include: • loss of fragile, slow-growing lichens, the • primary caribou winter forage, • avoidance of disturbed areas, particularly those with heavy traffic, • increased hunter access and harvest, • collisions with vehicles, • increased access to remote caribou range for predators, primarily wolves, and • improved habitat suitability for other • ungulates like moose. Where these other prey sustain elevated wolf numbers, caribou numbers often decline. Alberta studies showed that caribou were more likely to be killed by wolves in areas within 250 m of all recent cut-blocks and other developments, and that caribou used these areas much less than undisturbed forests. The development “footprint” was defined as the proportion of the land-base within such avoidance zones. Where the development footprint in a caribou range was 50% or greater, the population was likely to be declining at 1–3% annually, even with little or no hunting. Threshold levels limiting the footprint in caribou range have been proposed as a management option for the Yukon. Management guidelines for caribou ranges in British Columbia and Ontario focus on protecting critical caribou habitat from development and access, and allow carefully managed development in less sensitive caribou range. Three management zones in the Yukon LRH winter range were identified in the 1990s based first on reconnaissance surveys and later confirmed by radio-collar locations: a heavily used core, a surrounding extended range, and a migration corridor. Although just 3.6% of the land-base had been cut for timber by 2002, the development footprint in the LRH Yukon winter range was 16% overall, with 18% in the core, 18% in the extended range, and 5% in the migration zone. Like most Yukon caribou herds, the LRH is hunted. The estimated annual harvest rate averaged 5% from 1992 to 2002. To enable continued hunting of this herd, and to allow for periodic range losses to fire, development in this winter range must be kept at levels well below the 50% footprint values linked to serious declines in Alberta. The suggested management approach for the LRH Yukon winter range is based on British Columbia models, Alberta studies, and recent reports proposing thresholds for development footprint in caribou range. The main points of the approach are: • withdraw the core winter range from further logging or development, • establish a connected reserve network of high-quality habitat in the extended range and migration zone, and • establish maximum development footprint values of 30% in the extended range and 25% in the migration zone.

Contact ALCES for J.Z. Adamczewski, R.F. Florkiewicz and V. Loewen , 2003

Regional Strategic Environmental Assessment in Canada: Principles and Guidance

Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment

Contact ALCES for Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, 2009

Review of Alberta Environment’s Ecosystem Goods and Services Assessment - Southern Alberta Phase 2 Report

Management and Solutions in Environmental Science

Alberta Environment (AENV) requested that Management and Solutions in Environmental Science (MSES) review and assess their Ecosystem Goods and Services Assessment Report (EGS Assessment). The peer review provides comments on the main elements of the EGS Assessment. We base our review on the stated goal of the Ecosystem Services Project, namely that the “ultimate aim is … to deliver the right information to policy developers and decision makers…”. Specifically, MSES evaluates the overall framework of the EGS Assessment, addresses the questions posed by AENV, and provides recommendations for further discussion. The following overarching comments or points are made on the EGS Assessment. More detailed responses to specific questions can be found in the body of our report. A list of recommendations for consideration is also provided. 1. The EGS Assessment presents a useful framework for assessing goods and services that are provided by landscape parameters, which are composed of a mosaic of habitats and a diversity of wildlife that uses them. However, for discussion we would like to highlight the anchoring question of this work: “How do ecosystem services support the maintenance of natural and anthropogenic assets?” . A service supporting an asset is only meaningful from an anthropogenic economic perspective, wherein a service is maintained strictly for its value to humans. From a natural ecosystem perspective, is it not the asset that supports the service rather than the other way around? The wording of the question has a major impact on how one views the direction of dependencies. The way that all spreadsheet tables are set up in the document suggests that a service maintains an asset. Using a cow and produced milk as an example, the milk is the result of the condition of the cow: no cow – no milk; poor cow – little milk; good cow – plenty of milk. The authors of the report ask questions from an economic perspective (translated): how does the milk support the maintenance of the cow? Therefore, all spreadsheet tables must be read from assets to services. However, ecological systems include parameters that may or may not fit neatly into human economic systems. For example, “How do Prairie Wetlands maintain the service of water regulation?” While sometimes there are feedbacks from the services to the assets, this important point of critique has a large impact on the overall assessment. In addition to summing-up and reporting the services, the values of the assets (which, in part, should consider asset condition) should be summed-up also. 2. The world’s ecosystem services have been under-valued by several orders of magnitude. Many current economists’ approaches to put dollar values to natural assets are highly inadequate. Civilizations died out (e.g. Sumerians in Mesopotamia) because one single element of the ecosystem (soil) was degraded (salinization) to such an extent that food production was severely decimated. In the given example, what was the value of the soil? Is the value of the soil in this example not close to infinite? This idea is corroborated by Costanza et al. (1997), who state that in one sense the total value of ecosystem services to the economy is infinite. 3. In addition to the problem of evaluating an economic service provided by natural assets, there is an emotional or spiritual service that is extremely difficult to express in monetary terms; the human perception of well-being provided by the surroundings. For example, what would the quality of our lives be without rivers and lakes? Or with only polluted rivers and lakes? Natural assets provide services that we need for our spiritual survival as a whole. 4. While the authors have undertaken a literature review (200 titles), it is not necessarily exhaustive. It is likely that there are many more publications that could be reviewed with potential findings that could be incorporated into the southern Alberta EGS Assessment framework. The EGS Assessment is very important and complex, and additional work is required to fill in many of the existing gaps. 5. One of the objectives of the assessment is to “Provide an understanding of the value of high quality ecosystems in relation to economic production in southern Alberta,…”(pg 5). Figure 3-1 of the report (pg 12) presents a conceptual framework of the function of ecosystem services. However, the figure does not carry a clear message, as it does not provide specific details or an explanation of the different types of arrows. No other framework of value assessment of ecosystems is provided. De Groot et al. (2002) in Barg and Swanson (2004) provide one such figure (see Figure 1, this report) that could be used as a starting point for the framework (written for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada). A clear division of ecological, socio-cultural and economic values could facilitate the value assessment of ecosystem services in southern Alberta.

Contact ALCES for Management and Solutions in Environmental Science, 2007

Road Sediment Production and Delivery: Processes and Management

Lee MacDonald and Drew B.R. Coe

Unpaved roads are often considered to be the predominant sediment source in forested catchments. In steep, wet climates roads can cause a 10- to 300-fold increase in the landslide erosion rate, and this increase is due to the effects of roads on hillslope flow paths and the structural integrity of hillslopes. The proportion of sediment that is delivered to the stream will generally be very high for road-induced failures in hollows and inner gorge landforms, and much lower for planar hillslope failures. The pulsed input of sediment from roadinduced landsliding can greatly alter stream channel habitat and morphology. Unpaved roads can increase sediment production rates by more than an order of magnitude as a result of road surface erosion. The high surface erosion rate stems from the generation of surface runoff from the highly compacted road travelway, the lack of surface cover, and the availability of fine sediment due to traffic and road maintenance procedures such as grading. Sediment delivery to streams occurs primarily at road-stream crossings and secondarily by road-induced gullies. The proportion of the road network that is connected to the stream network is primarily a function of mean annual precipitation (R2=0.9), and is increased by about 40% in the absence of any engineered drainage structures. The chronic input of the fine sediment from roads can have adverse effects on freshwater aquatic ecosystems as well as coral reefs. Our present understanding of road surface erosion processes is good, but our models to predict road surface erosion and landsliding are much better for relative than absolute predictions. Climate change can greatly increase road-induced landslides and road surface erosion by increasing the magnitude of large storm events and increasing the amount of rain relative to snow. Extensive field surveys also show that relatively few road segments typically generate most of the road-related increases in sediment yields. Road surface erosion, the risk of road-induced landslides, and road sediment delivery can be greatly decreased by improved road designs and maintenance practices. Hence the greatest needs are to develop and provide land managers with the tools for identifying high-risk segments, and then to make the necessary investments in road reconstruction and restoration.

Contact ALCES for Lee MacDonald and Drew B.R. Coe, 2007

Spatial Analysis of Rural Residential Expansion in South-Western Alberta

Miistakis Institute for the Rockies

Contact ALCES for Miistakis Institute for the Rockies, 2003

Scenario analysis in environmental impact assessment: Improving explorations of the future

Peter Duinker and Lorne Greig

Scenarios and scenario analysis have become popular approaches in organizational planning and participatory exercises in pursuit of sustainable development. However, they are little used, at least in any formal way, in environmental impact assessment (EIA). This is puzzling because EIA is a process specifically dedicated to exploring options for more-sustainable (i.e., less environmentally damaging) futures. In this paper, we review the state of the art associated with scenarios and scenario analysis, and describe two areas where scenario analysis could be particularly helpful in EIA: (a) in defining future developments for cumulative effects assessment; and (b) in considering the influence of contextual change, e.g. climate change, on impact forecasts for specific projects. We conclude by encouraging EIA practitioners to learn about the promise of scenario-based analysis and implement scenario-based methods so that EIA can become more effective in fostering sustainable development. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 27 (2007)

Contact ALCES for Peter Duinker and Lorne Greig, 2007

Triage for conserving populations of threatened species: The case of woodland caribou in Alberta

Richard R. Schneider, Grant Hauer, W.L. (Vic) Adamowicz, Stan Boutin

Prioritization of conservation efforts for threatened and endangered species has tended to focus on factors measuring the risk of extirpation rather than the probability of success and cost. Approaches such as triage are advisable when three main conditions are present: insufficient capacity exists to adequately treat all patients, patients are in a critical state and cannot wait until additional capacity becomes available, and patients differ in their likely outcome and/or the amount of treatment they require. The objective of our study was to document the status of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus) herds in Alberta, Canada, with respect to these three conditions and to determine whether a triage approach might be warranted. To do this we modeled three types of recovery effort – protection, habitat restoration, and wolf control – and estimated the opportunity cost of recovery for each herd. We also assessed herds with respect to a suite of factors linked to long-term viability. We found that all but three herds will decline to critical levels (<10 animals) within approximately 30 years if current population trends continue. The opportunity cost of protecting all ranges by excluding new development, in terms of the net present value of petroleum and forestry resources, was estimated to be in excess of 100 billion dollars (assuming no substitution of activity outside of the ranges). A habitat restoration program applied to all ranges would cost several hundred million dollars, and a provincial-scale wolf control program would cost tens of millions of dollars. Recovery costs among herds varied by an order of magnitude. Herds also varied substantially in terms of their potential viability. These findings suggest that woodland caribou in Alberta meet the conditions whereby triage should be considered as an appropriate conservation strategy.

Contact ALCES for Richard R. Schneider, Grant Hauer, W.L. (Vic) Adamowicz, Stan Boutin , 2010

From Science-Based Thresholds to Regulatory Limits: Implementation Issues for Cumulative Effects Management

Steve Kennett, Canadian Institute of Resources Law

Contact ALCES for Steve Kennett, Canadian Institute of Resources Law , 2006

Sediment Production and Delivery from Forest Roads and Off-Highway Vehicle Trails in the Upper South Platte River Watershed, Colorado

Matthew J. Welsh

Sediment is a principal cause of impairment to surface water quality. Erosion is a particularly important environmental issue in the Upper South Platte River (USPR) watershed of Colorado because it is the primary source of drinking water for Denver, has a high-value fishery, and several stream reaches are impaired by high levels of sediment. Unpaved roads are often considered a dominant source of sediment in forested watersheds, and off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails are another potentially important but largely unquantified sediment source. The objectives of this study were to: (1) quantify sediment production and delivery from forest road and OHV trail segments in the USPR watershed; (2) test the accuracy of WEPP:Road, SEDMODL2, and two empirical models for predicting sediment production from roads and OHV trails; and (3) compare sediment production, sediment delivery, and sediment yields from forest roads and OHV trails. Rainfall, site characteristics, and sediment production were measured on 14-22 native surface road segments from 2001 to 2006, and these data were used to test the accuracy of WEPP:Road and SEDMODL2. Empirical models for predicting storm-based and annual sediment production were developed from the first four years of data; the last two years of data were used for model testing. Similar measurements on 5-10 OHV trail segments from 2005 to 2006 were used to test WEPP:Road and SEDMODL2. Sediment delivery was assessed by detailed surveys along 17 km of roads and 10 km of OHV trails. In 2006 mean sediment production from the 10 OHV trail segments was 18.5 kg m-2 yr-1, or six times the mean value from the 21 road segments. The percentage of OHV trails connected to streams was 24%, or 70% higher than for roads, largely because more OHV trails were in the valley bottoms. None of the models accurately predicted sediment production from roads or OHV trails, but the performance of SEDMODL2 was greatly improved by calibrating the geology and traffic factors to the study area. SEDMODL2 also could be improved by adjusting the slope factor, better accounting for rill density on native surface roads, and making the rainfall factor dependent on rainfall erosivity rather than rainfall depth. WEPP:Road could be improved by making sediment production decrease rather than increase with higher soil rock content, and increasing the effect of a categorical change from no traffic to low traffic. Road density in the study area is 0.6 km km-2, or three times the density of OHV trails. Multiplying unit area sediment production normalized by summer erosivity times the density, mean active width, and percent connectivity indicates that roads and OHV trails are respectively delivering approximately 1.1 Mg km-2 and 0.8 Mg km-2 of sediment to the stream network per year. Sediment delivery to streams can be reduced by locating roads and OHV trails out of valley bottoms and off steep hillslopes, decreasing segment lengths, and reducing segment slopes.

Contact ALCES for Matthew J. Welsh, 2008

Sediment Production from Forest Roads with Wheel Ruts

Randy b. Foltz and Edward R. Burroughs, Jr.

Artificial rainfall was applied to two sets of paired plots 30.5 m long by 1.52 m wide, each set on a different soil type. One plot in each set contained a wheel rut while the other did not. Measurements of water and sediment yield on rutted plots showed sediment production declined with cumulative runoff while unrutted plots did not show a significant sediment depletion. This difference was a result of concentrated flow versus sheet flow.

Contact ALCES for Randy b. Foltz and Edward R. Burroughs, Jr., 1990

Institutional requirements for watershed cumulative effects assessment and management: Lessons from a Canadian trans-boundary watershed

Poornima Sheelanere, Bram F. Noble, Robert J. Patrick

Watersheds are under increasing stress from the cumulative environmental effects of water and land use disturbances caused by both anthropogenic and natural causes. Yet, while the science of watershed cumulative effects assessment and management (CEAM) is advancing much less is known about the institutional and capacity requirements to implement and sustain watershed CEAM. Based on lessons from a transboundary watershed in western Canada this paper presents eight institutional requirements, or requisites, for the implementation of watershed-based CEAM. We suggest that effective watershed CEAM requires government leadership to move beyond the current inward focus on project approvals toward an outward focus on the cumulative effects of all disturbances in a watershed; complementary monitoring programs at the project and watershed scale, and a means to ensure the sharing of monitoring data across watershed stakeholders; and a nested planning framework to coordinate watershed planning objectives with individual project impact assessment and decision making. Results of this paper show that simply scaling up from individual project-based assessments to the watershed scale exposes many institutional constraints that can impede CEAM action.

Contact ALCES for Poornima Sheelanere, Bram F. Noble, Robert J. Patrick, 2012

Shell Jackpine Mine Expansion Project

Oil Sands Environmental Coalition

The Panel’s responsibilities to determine if the Project is in the public interest and determine if it will create significant adverse effects, is onerous. We believe it would assist the Panel in discharging its responsibility to protect the public interest and make its assessment of the residual impacts, if it ensured that mitigation will, in fact, be implemented and knew the status of its previous recommendations, and commitments made by the proponent on which the Panel and ERCB relied upon – particularly as it relates to Shell’s projects and the projects in the Muskeg River basin.

Contact ALCES for Oil Sands Environmental Coalition, 2012

Soil Carbon Sequestration and Land-Use Change: Processes and Potential

W. M. Post, and K. C. Kwon

When agricultural land is no longer used for cultivation and allowed to revert to natural vegetation or replanted to perennial vegetation, soil organic carbon can accumulate by processes that essentially reverse some of the effects responsible for soil organic carbon losses from when the land was converted from perennial vegetation.We discuss the essential elements of what is known about soil organic matter dynamics that may result in enhanced soil carbon sequestration with changes in land-use and soil management.We review literature that reports changes in soil organic carbon after changes in land-use that favor carbon accumulation. This data summary provides a guide to approximate rates of SOC sequestration that are possible with management, and indicates the relative importance of some factors that influence the rates of organic carbon sequestration in soil. There is a large amount of variation in rates and the length of time that carbon may accumulate in soil that are related to the productivity of the recovering vegetation, physical and biological conditions in the soil, and the past history of soil organic carbon inputs and physical disturbance. Maximum rates of C accumulation during the early aggrading stage of perennial vegetation growth, while substantial, are usually much less than 100 g C m  y   . Average rates of accumulation are similar for forest or grassland establishment: 33.8 g C m y    and 33.2 g C m  y   respectively. These observed rates of soil organic C accumulation, when combined with the small amount of land area involved, are insufficient to account for a significant fraction of the missing C in the global carbon cycle as accumulating in the soils of formerly agricultural land.

Contact ALCES for W. M. Post, and K. C. Kwon, 1999

Modelling potential effects of angling on recovery of westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi) in Alberta

Michael Sullivan

Alberta’s native form of cutthroat trout, westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi), was listed in 2006 as a threatened species under the federal Species at Risk Act. Amongst other legal requirements, this action requires that an assessment of threats be conducted to determine what activities are acceptable and unacceptable with respect to the maintenance and recovery of populations of these fish. Sport angling for cutthroat trout and other species is a popular activity throughout this fish’s habitat in Alberta and has the potential to harm this species’ recovery. To investigate this potential harm, the possible effects of a variety of angling scenarios (e.g., different levels of angler effort and regulations) on stream populations of cutthroat trout were simulated using a population dynamics computer model. The results of these simulations suggested that recovery of depressed cutthroat trout populations could occur under scenarios of limited and low angler effort, and no directed harvest (i.e., catch-and-release angling). Once recovered, however, healthy populations of westslope cutthroat trout may be maintained with catch-and-release angling with moderate fishing effort. Angling regulations that allow harvest of cutthroat trout are unlikely to either maintain or recover most populations unless angler effort is controlled. Incidental mortality (either through accidental hooking mortality or illegal harvest through misidentification of trout species) in these simulations was an important factor in population maintenance and recovery. This suggests that minimizing these sources of mortality may be an important management concern for this species.

Contact ALCES for Michael Sullivan, 2007

Integrated Landscape Management Tools for Sustainable Development Policy Making

Policy Research Initiative

Sustainable Development Briefing Note

Contact ALCES for Policy Research Initiative, 2005

The Anthropocene: From Global Change to Planetary Stewardship

Will Steffen, A ° sa Persson, Lisa Deutsch, Jan Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams, Katherine Richardson, Ca

Over the past century, the total material wealth of humanity has been enhanced. However, in the twentyfirst century, we face scarcity in critical resources, the degradation of ecosystem services, and the erosion of the planet’s capability to absorb our wastes. Equity issues remain stubbornly difficult to solve. This situation is novel in its speed, its global scale and its threat to the resilience of the Earth System. The advent of the Anthropence, the time interval in which human activities now rival global geophysical processes, suggests that we need to fundamentally alter our relationship with the planet we inhabit. Many approaches could be adopted, ranging from geoengineering solutions that purposefully manipulate parts of the Earth System to becoming active stewards of our own life support system. The Anthropocene is a reminder that the Holocene, during which complex human societies have developed, has been a stable, accommodating environment and is the only state of the Earth System that we know for sure can support contemporary society. The need to achieve effective planetary stewardship is urgent. As we go further into the Anthropocene, we risk driving the Earth System onto a trajectory toward more hostile states from which we cannot easily return.

Contact ALCES for Will Steffen, A ° sa Persson, Lisa Deutsch, Jan Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams, Katherine Richardson, Ca, 2011

The Sediment Delivery Problem

D.E. Walling

The linking of on-site rates of erosion and soil loss within a drainage basin to the sediment yield at the basin outlet, and improved knowledge and representation of the associated processes of sediment delivery, represent a major research need within the field of erosion and sedimentation and also an important scale problem in drainage basin studies. This paper reviews the limitations of the sediment delivery ratio concept by considering the problems of temporal and spatial lumping and its blackbox nature. Some recent advances in our understanding of the sediment delivery system and its modelling are described and the lack of empirical investigations is highlighted. The significance of recent concern for the role of sediments in the transport of nutrients and contaminants to sediment delivery studies is introduced, and the need for further work in this field is emphasized.

Contact ALCES for D.E. Walling, 1982


Adam Paul Norris

Intensity and types of land use have changed rapidly in the last century and in north-western Alberta this has coincided with the decline of Wapiti River watershed Arctic Grayling (Thymallus arcticus) populations. Data on diurnal dissolved oxygen (DO), chemical and physical stream habitat data were collected in nine sub-watersheds of the Wapiti River with historically abundant Arctic Grayling populations. Levels and fluctuations of DO and temperature were related to the status of populations; five of the nine streams had higher temperatures and lower DO during summer, anoxic conditions during winter and extirpated populations. Amount of disturbed land and road density within sub-watersheds were inversely related to DO levels and population status. Cumulative effects modelling suggests a possible mechanism for these relationships is increased phosphorous runoff, leading to impaired habitat. These relationships and thresholds may be used as a management tool to maintain or restore Arctic Grayling and other stream fishes.

Contact ALCES for Adam Paul Norris, 2012

Protecting Water, Producing Gas: Minimizing the Impact of Coalbed Methane and Other Natural Gas Production on Alberta’s Groundwater

Mary Griffiths

Contact ALCES for Mary Griffiths, 2007

Water Quality Study of Waiparous Creek, Fallentimber Creek and Ghost River

Daniel Andrews

Increased usage of the Ghost -Waiparous basin for random camping and off-highway vehicles (OHVs) has raised concerns among stakeholders that these activities are affecting water quality in the Ghost, Waiparous and Fallentimber Rivers. This report to Alberta Environment attempts to determine whether there is a linkage between these activities and water quality in these three rivers and documents baseline water quality prior to the implementation of an access management plan by the Alberta Government.

Contact ALCES for Daniel Andrews, 2006

Export Coefficients for Total Phosphorus, Total Nitrogen and Total Suspended Solids in the Southern Alberta Region - A Review of Literature

Y. Jeje

The objectives of the literature review were to: A) Identify and summarize literature that provide quantitative information on Total Nitrogen (TN), Total phosphorus (TP) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS) export coefficients in the Southern Alberta region, B) Identify and summarize literature that provide quantitative information on TN, TP and TSS export coefficients in the following landscape cover categories provided by Alberta Environment, Calgary: Native Prairie (9) classes, Agriculture (6) classes, Forest Area (7) classes and Miscellaneous (4) classes for input in the ALCES computer simulation model currently under development. C) Prepare a report that presents a descriptive inventory and analysis of literature including a list of all relevant literature reviewed and abstracts of selected literature appropriately categorized, and provide a discussion of data generated. D) Identify and summarize literature that provides quantitative information on TN, TP and TSS export coefficients for Non-native Land Use categories in the Southern Alberta region.

Contact ALCES for Y. Jeje, 2003
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