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
 

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
 

Town of Collingwood

On behalf of the Town of Collingwood, I would like to thank the Greenland Group of Companies for their design and execution of the Town’s vision for Heritage Park, coordination of all consultants, contract administration and construction inspection.

Greenland always strives for thoroughness, professionalism and addressing their clients needs on each of their projects – this was no exception.

Peter G. Dunbar
Director, Leisure Services
Town of Collingwood

August 30, 2010
 

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