Considerations for Offsetting

Dave Poulton
Biodiversity Offsets
University of Ottawa
February 14, 2014


Landscape and ecosystem of oilsands region



Nature of disturbance



Issues for implementing offsets



Poulton’s ...
Landscape and Ecosystems
“Vast expanses of upland forests and wetlands
on level to gently undulating plains, short, warm
summers and long, cold win...
“Undulating plains, aspen-dominated forests
and fens”

Natural Regions and Subregions of Alberta

• Aspen stands with
scat...
Photo: Wendy Everett
No single form
• Overburden less than 75 metres
• Oilsands deposits typically 40-60 metres thick
• Loss of intactness: 90.6% (Habib et al...
In Situ - SAGD
• Lighter
footprint
• Heavy linear
footprint
• Loss of
intactness:
23.8% (Habib et
al/ABMI)

Photo from Ene...
From other sources





Forestry
Conversion to
agriculture
Peat mining

Are same offset rules to
apply to these and oth...
Lower Athabasca
Regional Plan
2012-2022

“ . . . to maintain an
acceptable level of air,
water, land, and
biodiversity int...
Points to Ponder


What is our objective?

◦ No net loss? Probably not.
◦ Strategic objectives? (per Habib et al.)
 Caribou
 Central mix...


Scope of impacts to be offset?
◦ Water, air, carbon?



Timing issues

◦ Are oilsand impacts temporary?
◦ Perpetual vs...
Lack of tools on private land
• No legally secure instruments
• No “rights of non-use”
• Split title and unco-ordinated di...




Focus on nature of disturbance, not on
source
Focus on linear disturbance
◦ Net reduction







Treat oilsands ...
The Alberta Oilsands: Considerations for Offsetting
The Alberta Oilsands: Considerations for Offsetting
The Alberta Oilsands: Considerations for Offsetting
The Alberta Oilsands: Considerations for Offsetting
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The Alberta Oilsands: Considerations for Offsetting

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Written by David Poulton, Consultant, University of Calgary

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The Alberta Oilsands: Considerations for Offsetting

  1. 1. Considerations for Offsetting Dave Poulton Biodiversity Offsets University of Ottawa February 14, 2014
  2. 2.  Landscape and ecosystem of oilsands region  Nature of disturbance  Issues for implementing offsets  Poulton’s prescriptions
  3. 3. Landscape and Ecosystems
  4. 4. “Vast expanses of upland forests and wetlands on level to gently undulating plains, short, warm summers and long, cold winters” Natural Regions and Subregions of Alberta • Mosaic of aspen, mixedwoood and spruce forests • Treed (black spruce) fens • Jackpines in the east Photo: Archie Landals, Government of Alberta
  5. 5. “Undulating plains, aspen-dominated forests and fens” Natural Regions and Subregions of Alberta • Aspen stands with scattered white spruce interspersed with fens • Warmest of subregions of boreal region • Subject to conversion to agriculture Photo: Archie Landals, Government of Alberta Photo: Archie Landals, Government of Alberta
  6. 6. Photo: Wendy Everett
  7. 7. No single form
  8. 8. • Overburden less than 75 metres • Oilsands deposits typically 40-60 metres thick • Loss of intactness: 90.6% (Habib et al, 2013, citing ABMI)
  9. 9. In Situ - SAGD • Lighter footprint • Heavy linear footprint • Loss of intactness: 23.8% (Habib et al/ABMI) Photo from Energy Insiders: Oilsands and the Environment citing World Wildlife Fund
  10. 10. From other sources    Forestry Conversion to agriculture Peat mining Are same offset rules to apply to these and other sources? From oilsands development     Carbon emissions Air quality Water quality and use Tailings How will we handle conflicts between remedial measures? Stacking and bundling issues
  11. 11. Lower Athabasca Regional Plan 2012-2022 “ . . . to maintain an acceptable level of air, water, land, and biodiversity integrity, while enabling longterm economic benefits of the region and the province.” (p. 23) Targets and thresholds to be set by: • Biodiversity management framework • Regional landscape management plan . . . to be developed by the end of 2013.
  12. 12. Points to Ponder
  13. 13.  What is our objective? ◦ No net loss? Probably not. ◦ Strategic objectives? (per Habib et al.)  Caribou  Central mixedwood Are we taking measures for ecological or reputational objectives?
  14. 14.  Scope of impacts to be offset? ◦ Water, air, carbon?  Timing issues ◦ Are oilsand impacts temporary? ◦ Perpetual vs temporary offsets ◦ Relationship to reclamation obligations  Allow banking? Establish a credit exchange?
  15. 15. Lack of tools on private land • No legally secure instruments • No “rights of non-use” • Split title and unco-ordinated dispositions
  16. 16.   Focus on nature of disturbance, not on source Focus on linear disturbance ◦ Net reduction     Treat oilsands impacts as permanent and require perpetual offsets Develop conservation rights on public land Allow banking Defer exchange

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