May 31 - June 4, 2010
The extraction of oil sequestered in oil sands requires a steady supply of water. In northern Alberta, oil sands operation and development results in large scale water withdrawals from the lower Athabasca River with potential impacts to flow regimes. It is well recognized that flow regimes are critical for sustaining biodiversity and ecological integrity; as such, guidance on in-stream flow needs are required to preserve ecosystem function and to limit harm to fish and fish habitat in the Lower Athabasca River.
The Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA), a multi-stakeholder group including environmental organizations, First Nations, industry and regulators, has provided advice with respect to in-stream flow needs on the Athabasca River. Based on input from CEMA, DFO and Alberta Environment developed the Phase 1 In-stream Flow Needs Water Management Framework report which was reviewed by DFO Science in 2006 and 2007. The review of Phase 1 identified informational gaps with respect to fish habitat and fish habitat use; these gaps were to be addressed with subsequent study and a second report. In response, CEMA established the Phase 2 Framework Committee (P2FC) in 2007 to develop recommendations for a Phase 2 Water Management Framework that would prescribe when, and how much, water can be withdrawn from the Lower Athabasca River for cumulative oil sands water use. The Phase 2 In-stream Flow Needs P2FC recommendation report was submitted by the P2FC directly to the regulators and CEMA on February 1, 2010.
DFO Science has been requested by its Habitat Management sector to conduct a peer review of the scientific information used to develop the evaluation criteria reports and technical appendices of the Phase 2 Framework Committee Report.
The questions as posed to DFO Science are:
It is possible that the above questions will demand the full time of this meeting. However, should time permit, a fourth objective will be to consider the following:
The primary documents to be reviewed within this Science workshop include:
The documentation produced from this workshop will be: a Science Advisory Report that summarizes the main conclusions of the meeting; a Proceedings Document that summarizes the main points raised at the meeting and a critical evaluation of the working papers. If additional technical summaries are required a Research Document(s) that will outline the provided scientific and technical details may be published.
Participation at the workshop will include federal and provincial government experts, international experts, academic experts, First Nations technical support representatives, and representatives from the oil and gas industry and non-governmental organizations. Participation will be by invitation only, and the total number of participants will be restricted to 30 people.
All inquires and research documents intended for review at the workshop should be directed to:
Ecosystem Science | Sciences des écosystèmes
Fisheries and Oceans Canada | Pêches et Océans Canada
200 Kent Street. Ottawa, Ontario. K1A 0E6
Tel: (613) 991-6918
Fax: (613) 998-3329