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.




Demonstration videos (with audio) and sample applications in Ontario and Alberta 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

Credit Valley Conservation

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your work on the Brampton “Pond 10 Floating Islands Research Project”. This project was a “first of its kind” within our watershed.

Greenland was responsible for preparing the design brief for the islands that provided details on the anchoring system design, safety considerations and a strategy for establishing a vegetation community among other things. This was a challenging project given that there was no pre-established process to follow and therefore we were defining the design and implementation process from scratch.

Greenland was always very responsive when issues arose and helped us troubleshoot options to solve the issue. They refined the design brief and assisted CVC with implementing improved anchor designs that have been successful in keeping the islands stable over the past few years even though some extreme weather events.

We were very pleased with the consulting services Greenland provided for this project.

Phil James, P.Eng.
Manager, Watershed Protection and Restoration
Credit Valley Conservation

March 14, 2014
 

Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority

On behalf of the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, we would like to thank you and your consulting firm for your technical capacity in completing the CANWET model with baseline conditions in our watershed.

I have worked closely with Greenland Consulting Engineers (Greenland) over the past two years as part of this project. We also value your staff’s ability to troubleshoot issues and respond on time. Greenland’s commitment, thoroughness, and professionalism have led to the success of this project with the addition of a new routine to the CANWET software.

It has been a great pleasure to work with Greenland and we look forward to using your expertise again in the near future.

Sobhalatha Kunjikutty, Ph.D, P.Eng.
Water Resources Engineer
Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority

February 19, 2015
 

Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA)

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
 

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