The Healthy River Ecosystem AssessmenT System (THREATS™)


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

Township of Adjala-Tosorontio

As Chief Administrative Officer for the Township of Adjala-Tosorontio, I would like to commend Greenland on their successful completion of the Everett Secondary Plan Master Servicing Plan and Class Environmental Assessment.
 
The level of service and timely delivery of all reports, analyses and correspondence was greatly appreciated by Township staff. Greenland’s innovative solutions and prompt responses to issues raised by the Town Staff Approvals Agencies and the affected public throughout the EA Process were very important, and we look forward to working with your team on future projects.

To that end, our team at the Township of Adjala-Tosorontio would be pleased to provide references for your firm on similar projects in future

Eric Wargel
Chief Administrative Officer
The Corporation of the Township of Adjala-Tosorontio

April 16, 2013
 

Sustainable Buildings Canada

Sustainable Buildings Canada (SBC) has worked closely with Greenland Consulting Engineers (Greenland) as part of the Savings By Design program offered by Enbridge Gas Distribution. The program features an integrated design workshop that exposes builders and developers to the potential environmental and energy performance benefits that can be achieved through a holistic planning process. This includes identifying alternative approaches to site sustainability including low impact development and storm water management.

Inherent in the integrated design process is the need to access experienced and highly qualified individuals and organizations that can identify potential alternative solutions. SBC has a very capable roster of consultants that represent the core expertise required for this kind of expertise. Greenland is one of those organizations, providing critical input related to storm water management, low impact development and site sustainability.

Greenland consulting staff are all extremely knowledgeable and up to date on the various issues related to storm water management and low impact development and have always provided that expertise in a professional manner, recognizing the need to be sensitive to both the needs of the developers and the desire to improve environmental performance. It has been a great pleasure to work with Greenland and we look forward to doing so in the future.

Michael Singleton
Executive Director
Sustainable Buildings Canada

November 1, 2013
 

Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

RE: Town of Innisfil (Community of Alcona) Flood Reduction Class Environmental Assessment

On behalf of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA), I would like to thank GREENLAND® International - Consulting Engineers for the excellent work undertaken to complete the Flood Reduction Class Environmental Assessment for the Community of Alcona. I also want to provide you our sincere appreciation for the support GREENLAND® provided both in-kind and financially which allowed the project to proceed. The approved strategy will now enable the LSRCA and Town of Innisfil to move forward with the next phase of the project so that the science-based, publicly supported solution, can be implemented to alleviate flooding impacting residents in Alcona as soon as possible. 

The project goal was to develop a sustainable - engineering solution to reduce significant annual flood damages currently occurring within the Community of Alcona (Town of Innisfil) and located within the Belle Aire Creek subwatershed. The project included a Class Environmental Assessment (EA) process with extensive public and other stakeholder consultations to advance a solution involving enhancing a wetland (green infrastructure) to provide flood mitigation. The project was proposed over a decade ago and was then adopted in the Town’s Master Drainage Plan as required under the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. It is now one step closer to completion. 

The project deliverables produced by GREENLAND® included an Environmental Study Report (ESR) which now provides a science-based, well-engineered, thorough and systematic understanding of the chronic flooding that has impacted the affected settlement area in the Town of Innisfil. The Environmental Study Report (by GREENLAND®) also developed a proactive flood mitigation and resiliency plan that can now be implemented by the LSRCA, Town and other stakeholders. Finally, the project work plan satisfied requirements of Ontario's Class Environmental Assessment process and with an effective/collaborative spirit of a "public-private partnership” utilizing and ecosystem approach. The timelines to complete the project were very aggressive and I was pleased that GREENLAND® was able to complete the project on-time and budget. 

In conclusion, the role that GREENLAND® played to prepare the funding application for Canada’s National Disaster Mitigation Program; securing in-kind participation of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation (ICCA) at the University of Waterloo; providing in-kind Intellectual Property leveraging resources, and the financial contribution helped ensure the project was a complete success. I look forward to working with your company again on other partnerships of mutual interest and would be pleased to serve as professional references on similar projects. 

Michael Walters
Chief Administrative Officer
Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

November 6, 2020
 

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