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Wild fish health data (length, weight, gonad size, etc.) are now available for trout perch collected from the Athabasca and Peace Rivers; white sucker collected from the Athabasca River; longnose sucker collected from the Peace River; slimy sculpin collected from the Steepbank River; lake chub from Alice Creek, the Ells and Dover Rivers; and longnose dace from the Mackay River. Contaminants data available for walleye collected from the Athabasca and Peace Rivers. For each of these data sets, upstream reference areas are provided for comparison to downstream developed sites. Reference data are currently being evaluated for variability between years to develop triggers, and these triggers are essential to eventually quantify potential effects at exposed sites. Using existing critical effect sizes developed in the Environmental Effects Monitoring programs for pulp and paper and metal mining effluents, condition endpoints in white sucker were increased within the deposit. Slimy sculpin condition and reproductive endpoints are also exceeding effect sizes downstream of development sites. This data is now being used to predict future fish health endpoints within sites, between sites and relative to reference variability to help assess change in fish health.
Oil Sands Sediment Exposures of Embryo-larval Fathead Minnows Dataset contains laboratory-studied fathead minnow egg and larval survival rates when exposed to sediments collected from 18 sites in the Athabasca watershed (2010-2014). A controlled laboratory study examined the impacts on fathead minnow eggs and larval development when exposed to collected sediments at concentrations of 1, 5 and/or 25 g/L. Sediments and water were renewed daily, and eggs were assessed as they hatched (in about 5 days), and as the larval fish grew to 8-9 days post hatch (dph), and 15-16 dph. The data in the file present the mean survival (and standard deviation). Two sediment sites caused decreased survival of fathead minnow fry: The Ells River lower site, and the Steepbank River Lower site. These data show that sediment from these sites can affect larval fish survival in the lab. The next steps are to compare these findings to the health data from wild fish collected from these same tributary sites. Toxicity Testing of Groundwater near the Oil Sands Development Dataset contains toxicity studies of groundwaters collected near the Athabasca and Ells rivers. Groundwaters were collected in the summer of 2013 from 4 sites below the riverbeds at depths of 0.5 to 1 metre. Sites were chosen to represent groundwaters close to oil sands tailings ponds and further from tailings ponds and mining activities. Under controlled laboratory conditions, fathead minnow eggs were exposed for 5 days (until hatch) to the groundwaters at standard dilution concentrations of 6, 12, 25, 50, and 100% of the groundwater sample to compare egg and larval fish survival. The data presents the average survival until hatch of 3 repeated exposures (and standard deviation) and 9 repeated exposures for controls. Some groundwater is toxic to minnows and some is not. No correlations were found between toxicity and proximity to a tailings pond. Assessing Toxicity of Oil Sands Related Substances Laboratory fish were exposed to melted snow from sites located close to oil sands mining and upgrading facilities and from sites far away from mining activities to assess the toxicity of substances found in the snow. In addition, river waters, bed sediments, suspended sediments, groundwater and atmospheric depositional samples (pre-melt snow collections) were also tested for toxicity. Fish exposed to undiluted snowmelt showed biological effects. Fish exposed to river water from the region collected during snowmelt conditions showed no effects.
Water level and discharge data are available from Water Survey of Canada’s Hydrometric Network. The Water Survey of Canada (WSC) is the national authority responsible for the collection, interpretation and dissemination of standardized water resource data and information in Canada. In partnership with the provinces, territories and other agencies, WSC operates over 2500 active hydrometric gauges across the country, maintains an archive of historical information for over 7600 stations and provides access to near real-time (water level and stream flow) provisional data at over 1700 locations in Canada.
Atmospheric Contaminant Deposition using Snowpack The data set includes snow samples (metals, water chemistry and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAHs]). Data from 2012-2014 snowpack samples collected from ~90-130 sites located varying distances from the major oil sands development area show deposition patterns and levels consistent with earlier studies carried out in 2008 (Kelly et al. PNAS, 2009 and 2010). As with earlier findings, concentrations of numerous metals, water chemistry parameters (Ni, Pb, Zn, V, La, Al, Fe, total Hg, methyl Hg, total suspended solids [TSS], particulate organic carbon [POC], particulate organic nitrogen [PON], total phosphorus [TP]) and PAHs decrease with distance from the major mining extraction and upgrading facilities. Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) guidelines do not exist for snow.
Sediment from Lakes Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), 47 elements including numerous metals, and visible reflectance spectroscopy or VRS-chla have been determined in sediment core samples collected in 2012, 2013 and 2014 from 16 small (surface area 4-97 ha; maximum depth ~1-5 m deep), hydrologically simple lakes located 30 to 120 km from major oil sands development areas. Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) guidelines are available for 13 of the 53 PAHs reported here. Sediment concentrations did not exceed Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) probable effects levels (PELs), which define the level above which biological adverse effects are expected to occur, for PAHs in any lake. Exceedances of the CCME interim sediment quality guidelines (ISQG) for the protection of aquatic life occurred for 4 PAHs (naphthalene, 2-methyl naphthalene phenanthrene, and benzo(a)pyrene) in 8 lakes. CCME sediment quality guidelines are available for 7 of the 47 elements reported here. Exceedances of the CCME ISQG for metals were found for arsenic in 3 lakes, cadmium in 8 lakes, mercury in 3 lakes and zinc in 9 lakes. Exceedances of the CCME PELs for metals occurred in 2 lakes for arsenic and 1 lake for zinc. Further assessment of the data is ongoing to examine reasons for exceedances as well as spatial and temporal trends of the PACs and elements. Analyses of lake primary productivity, using visible reflectance spectroscopy or VRS-chla as a proxy, show consistently greater productivity (i.e. VRS-chla concentrations) in the top sediment core slices relative to the bottom, regardless of lake morphological and limnological characteristics and landscape position. Potential drivers of these changes are being examined.
Assess the importance of atmospheric deposition of contaminants as a contributor to ecological impacts of oil sands development and identify sources. • Use snowpack measurements sampled across a gridwork to develop maps of winter-time atmospheric contaminant loadings for the region ~100 km from the major upgrading facilities • Assess long-term trends in winter-time atmospheric deposition • Determine the potential impact of wintertime snowpack mercury loads on tributary river water mercury concentrations (Spring Freshet) using Geographic Information System and hydrological modelling approaches • Compare snowpack loadings to those obtained from precipitation monitoring and compare spatial patterns to PAC air measurements obtained from passive sampling network
This dataset provides marine bacteriological water quality data for bivalve shellfish harvest areas in Canada (British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec). Shellfish harvest area water temperature and salinity data are also provided as adjuncts to the interpretation of fecal coliform density data. The latter is the indicator of fecal matter contamination monitored annually by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) within the framework of the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP). The geospatial positions of the sampling sites are also provided. These data are collected by ECCC for the purpose of making recommendations on the classification of shellfish harvest area waters. ECCC recommendations are reviewed and adopted by Regional Interdepartmental Shellfish Committees prior to regulatory implementation by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).
Information received in response to notices published in the Canada Gazette under section 71 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA 1999). These notices target chemical substances of interest under the Chemicals Management Plan.
This dataset provides geospatial polygon boundaries for marine bivalve shellfish harvest area classification in Canada (British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec). These data represent the five classification categories of marine bivalve shellfish harvest areas (Approved; Conditionally Approved; Restricted; Conditionally Restricted; and Prohibited) under the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP). Data are collected by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) for the purpose of making applicable classification recommendations on the basis of sanitary and water quality survey results. ECCC recommendations are reviewed and adopted by Regional Interdepartmental Shellfish Committees prior to regulatory implementation by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). These geographic data are for illustrative purposes only; they show shellfish harvest area classifications when in Open Status. The classification may be superseded at any time by regulatory orders issued by DFO, which place areas in Closed Status, due to conditions such as sewage overflows or elevated biotoxin levels. For further information about the current status and boundary coordinates for areas under Prohibition Order, please contact your local DFO office.
Shallow groundwater and the interaction of these waters with surface water in the mineable area of the Athabasca oil sands region are being examined to assess the role and importance of groundwater in the regional river ecosystems. Groundwater quality chemistry data is available from 182 shallow groundwater samples collected below the Athabasca, Ells, Muskeg and Steepbank rivers and 2 monitoring wells near an existing tailings impoundment. Additionally 5 surface water samples were also collected for comparative purposes. All samples were collected between 2009 and 2011 and include analyses for up to 60 parameters, including electrical conductivity, pH, temperature, and dissolved oxygen concentration, major ions, trace metals, total concentrations of naphthenic acids, fluorescence intensity using synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy (SFS) and others. Statistical analyses indicate that shallow riparian groundwater proximate to a tailings pond and groundwater collected away from the any tailings pond were indistinguishable for nearly all parameters assessed with a few exceptions. The analyses also identified a small subset of groundwater samples that have some chemical similarities to OSPW (Oil Sands Process-Affected Water). Further investigations may be required to evaluate the nature and ecological significance of groundwater at these locations. Further context, interpretation and discussion of this data may be found in “Profiling oil sands mixtures from industrial developments and natural groundwaters for source identification,” which was published in Vol. 48 (5), pp. 2660–2670, January 2014 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology and “Assessing risks of shallow riparian groundwater quality near an oil sands tailings pond” published in 2016 in the journal Groundwater (Vol. 54, No. 4, pp. 545-558).