The Healthy River Ecosystem AssessmenT System (THREATSâ„¢)


1. Introduction:

Under a 5-year software collaboration agreement with the University of Alberta, GREENLAND® International Consulting Ltd. (Greenland) completed in January 2020 (and for use in Western Canada) the “Internet Big Data’ version of THREATS™.  In 2021, additional upgrades were also completed by Greenland and via a concurrent University of Guelph software collaboration (and for over a decade).  

As background (since 2012), the Government of Alberta (represented by Alberta Environment and Parks) and the Government of Canada (represented by Environment and Climate Change Canada) have worked as partners to implement an environmental monitoring program for the Oil Sands Region integrates air, water, land and biodiversity. The program strived to improve characterization of the state of the environment and enhance understanding of the cumulative effects of oil sands development activities in the region. In 2019, the Oil Sands Monitoring (OSM) program began in collaboration with the University of Alberta. This includes a real-time assessment of current state, new and emerging priorities, as well as commitment to evaluating progress to date and integration across program areas. The mandate of the OSM Program is to assess change relative to a baseline condition for environmental indicators and to understand if impacts are occurring in the Oil Sands Region due to oil sands extraction activities. 

While measurement of OSM change of individual key indicators is required, doing so uses a methodology that allows for assessment across indicators is also fundamental to understanding cumulative effects. Therefore, the ‘Internet Big Data’ version of THREATS™ was developed to address OSM Program objectives for integrated analytics and reporting to determine, based on both the work produced under the OSM program to date and other available datasets, where changes in unlimited environmental indicators may be occurring in the Oil Sands Region. The specific short-term goal of the OSM Program (and using THREATS™) was to identify these changes (if any). The secondary goal was to identify gaps in the ability to assess real-time change across environmental theme areas – namely, 1) Water Quantity and Quality in the Athabasca River Basin; 2) Province-wide Pipeline Spills, and, 3) Air Quality in the Wood Buffalo Region. Demonstration videos and sample applications in Ontario and Alberta are available. These brief videos introduce just a few (of MANY possible) applications that can be used by watershed management agencies; resource industries; and, utilities to access real-time and open data with any proprietary data. The platform also includes an extensive library of monitoring databases with proven science-based modeling and statistical analysis functions.
 
Ongoing development tasks include Machine Learning capabilities for river basin flow predictions.


2. Athabasca River Basin Flow Regime and Water Use:

The Flow Regime and Water Use tool evaluates a series of Adaptive Management Triggers (AMTs) for the Athabasca River identified in the 2015 Province of Alberta Surface Water Quantity Management Framework (SWQMF). The SWQMF considers water withdrawal reporting, water allocations and maintenance of sustainable flows for ecosystem health, downstream users and Indigenous navigation. The included charts and tables are designed to evaluate available data against the Adaptive Management Triggers (AMTs) outlined in the SWQMF.


3. Water Quality (Athabasca River Basin)

The Water Quality Tool allows users to view available water quality data against applicable guidelines. Chemical parameter, location, guideline and time period filters are available to assist users in accessing data for the type of analysis required. Data from multiple locations can be added to the chart for comparison. Further work is underway now to expand the platform to include the Peace River Basin.


 


4. Air Quality – Oil Sands Region (Alberta)

This application compares available air quality data against the following framework guidelines:
  • Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives (AAAQO);
  • Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standard (CAAQS);
  • Lower Athabasca Regional Plan (LARP) triggers; and
  • Fort McKay Air Quality Objectives (FMAQO).
Data is automatically aggregated temporally according to the selected guideline requirement. Time series charts and trend analysis are provided. Mann-Kendall trend analysis is available for individual monitoring stations and chemicals.

To view a demonstration video of the THREATS™ platform, please click here. 


5. Alberta Pipeline Incidents and Trends

The Pipeline Incidents tool is designed to evaluate the number of pipeline related incidents in specific geographic areas. It can be used to identify trends in the frequency of incidents over time. It can also calculate an Environmental Performance Metric (EPM) where the number of qualified incidents per year is divided by the 2018 length of operational pipeline in the selected geographic area including designated sensitive habitat areas. 

To view a demonstration video of the THREATS™ platform, please click here. 


 


“Check out this (Greenland) video of THREATS (an open-source cumulative effects assessment tool to help direct environmental management (industrial or other)) and/or planning of future projects. It enables the compiling and juxtaposition of public environmental data (including, but not limited to, wildlife use areas and environmental quality data) with on-site or "targeted" environmental data. For security, the provision to include data protected behind a firewall exists to enable analysis and comparison of potentially sensitive data in the context of other datasets. The goal here is to allow for predictive capability and in turn mitigate potential effects. Equally, this provides a capacity to enable retroactive assessment (investigation of cause) of observed changes. The ability to spatially interpret stressor/pathway/receptor data, and conduct analyses within the tool, while retaining data in its original database (secure) is what is truly unique here. Excited to see what can be achieved with this powerful platform in areas where it has already begun to be used!”

- Neal Tanna
Advisor, Monitoring and Risk Assessment
Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA)
November 3, 2017


For more information about THREATS™, licensing details or participating in a future webinar demonstration, please contact Greenland.THREATS@grnland.com
 
We would also welcome opportunities to further develop THREATS™ for specific client needs and with other teams that have complimentary information technology services. 


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Client Testimonials

Town of Innisfil

I would like to congratulate Greenland Consulting Engineers on winning the 2012 Consulting Engineers of Ontario Environment Award of Excellence. The award recognizes your work on the Nottawasaga Pines Secondary School construction project with the Simcoe Country District School Board. This is a well deserved honour and is a reflection of both the caliber of your work and your team.

I continue to be impressed with your company’s commitment and innovation in the field of sustainable development. You have set an excellent example for others throughout Simcoe County  and the Province of Ontario.

John Skorobohacz
Chief Administrative Officer
The Corporation of the Town of Innisfil

May 1, 2012
 

NRC-IRAP

I am writing to acknowledge the completion of a successful R&D project funded by the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).

Your firm’s performance on the project was excellent, and your team was a pleasure to work with.

The CANWET product that you have commercialized since the end of the project represents a strong step forward in your field, and you should be proud.

We wish you well in the successful commercialization of the technology, and the continued growth of your firm which will contribute to the Canadian economy.

Doug Reed
Industrial Technology Advisor
NRC-IRAP

July 8, 2011
 

Six Nations Council

On behalf of the Environment Office of the Six Nations of the Grand River, we would like to thank Greenland International Consulting Limited for the work completed to prepare the Master Drainage and Flood Remediation Plan (MDFRP) for the McKenzie Creek watershed. This plan has now enabled our office to identify the flood prone residences throughout the watershed with the flood plain mapping that has been prepared as part of this assignement. We appreciate the role that Greenland has played in assisting our office in directing Public Works with prioritizing the remedial projects to be completed in the flood prone areas. 

We also appreciate Greenland's effort in assisting the Six Nations of the Grand River with the preparation of funding applications to secure the resources to complete these remedial works. We are convinced that this MDFRP can be used as a template for completing similar drainage and flood remediation works both locally and in other First Nations lands. 

We look forward to working with your company again in the near future on the remaining watersheds that need this important work done. 

Thank you for your ongoing assistance. 

Clynt King 
Environmental Technician 
Six Nations Council Environment Office 

July 25, 2016
 

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