The Healthy River Ecosystem AssessmenT System (THREATS™)

In late 2017, GREENLAND® completed the ‘Second Evolution’ of The Healthy River Ecosystem AssessmenT System” which is also referred to as THREATS™.

The development of the tool’s first Internet open data and open source GIS platform began less than a year before. The work was also inspired from legacy research funded by the Canadian Water Network. Thereafter, GREENLAND® secured sole source code and development rights. GREENLAND® thanks Canada’s National Research Council for its support at that time for developing this first web-based version of THREATS™.
 
The available platform includes a cumulative effects assessment and adaptive management focus and which has since been used to develop related policies. THREATS™ serves now as a cost-effective tool for watershed planning, land use planning and research at universities.

THREATS™ can be customized to include client proprietary databases and address specific stakeholder / geographic needs of Indigenous communities, government agencies and resource industries. Further development phases were initiated in 2019 for other Canadian regions and export (global markets), as well as linking defendable western-science research with Indigenous knowledge to address cumulative basin impacts and climate change concerns.


In January 2020, GREENLAND® completed the “Internet Big Data’ version of THREATS™ (for use in Western Canada) and in partnership with the University of Alberta. Over the next few years, additional upgrades will also be completed with (and for use by) the university team and the Alberta Government.  

As background (since 2012), the Government of Alberta (represented by Alberta Environment and Parks) and the Government of Canada (epresented 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 strives 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 inlcudes 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 of Alberta due to oil sands extraction activities. 

While measurement of OSM change of individual key indicators is required, doing so using a methodology that allows for assessment across indicators is also fundamental to understanding cumulative effects. Therefore, the ‘Internet Big Data’ version of THREATS™ is being developed further 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 environmental indicators may be occurring in the Oil Sands Region. The specific short term goal of the OSM Program (and using THREATS™) is to identify these changes (if any). The secondary goal is to identify any gaps in the ability to assess change across environmental theme areas – namely, to start using THREATS™; 1) Water Quantity in the Athabasca River Basin; 2) Pipeline Spills, and, 3) Air Quality in the Wood Buffalo Region.



A demonstration video (with audio) and sample applications in Alberta and Ontario can be seen above. The video introduces just a few (of MANY possible) applications that can access real-time and open data, as well as an extensive library of climate and watershed monitoring databases with science-based modeling and statistical analysis functions.
 
The THREATS™ web platform (now active for use in Alberta and Ontario) includes:
 

  • A state-of-the-art database architecture designed to efficiently store / retrieve monitoring data from multiple monitoring stations, sampling events and contributing parties;  
 
  • Advanced statistical trends analysis;   
 
  • Dynamic updating of a user’s analyses and as new data is added;
 
  • Web accessibility for searching, plotting, mapping, preparing reports and adding data with a dashboard interface for managing and responding to environmental trends; and, 
 
  • Real-time ability to support a tier transition / triggers exceedance management approach, while also being able to support proactive risk mitigation practices and procedures.


“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 The Blue Mountains

On behalf of the Town of The Blue Mountains, we would like to thank you and your organization for your specialized technical support in a peer review capacity over the past four years… Your team not only provided timely review of all drainage related features of development applications but introduced updated municipal design criteria addressing changing climatic conditions. By unraveling the weather factors that impact snow melt potential, your team has helped the Town better understand how to be proactive in developing sustainable infrastructure.

Your team’s support assisted in keeping Town’s development projects moving forward efficiently. In addition to this, the review and introduction of updated municipal design criteria and construction standards addressing changing climatic conditions, continues to ensure the Town of The Blue Mountains fulfills its mandate for sustainable development.

Reg Russwurm MBA, P. Eng.
Director of Engineering and Public Works
Town of The Blue Mountains

February 3, 2014
 

Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment

On behalf of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment (the ‘Ministry’), we would like to thank Stragis Environmental Services Inc. for its exemplary efforts as an environmental consultant…

The level of service and timely delivery of all reports, analyses and correspondence was greatly appreciated by the Ministry staff… Stragis has provided important insight and recommendations regarding the Ministry’s proactive approach to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations.

To that end, our team at the Ministry would be pleased to provide references for your firm on similar projects in the future.

Chris Milligan
Logistics & Assets Coordinator
Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment

January 17, 2014
 

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

In March of 2013, Greenland International Consulting Ltd. completed a study for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to estimate nutrient loading in small catchment of about 177 square kilometers in the La Salle River watershed in southern Manitoba using the CANWET 4 model. Given uncertainties in some input data and model parameters, the preliminary results using the CANWET 4 model for baseline conditions of stream discharge, nutrient concentrations and loads were satisfactory in our project team as simulated values were within the range of observed values during the validation period.

This study suggests the CANWET 4 modeling approach could be used to predict changes to nutrient loads from changing land use scenarios in watersheds of this region.

Jason Vanrobaeys
Senior Land Resource Specialist
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

 

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