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ESRD – AEMERA Transition Project. Objective of this meeting. Ensure a shared understanding of IRMS Ensure a shared understanding of the role AEMERA will play in the future (to the extent that it is currently known) Review project glossary

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ESRD – AEMERA Transition Project

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Esrd aemera transition project

ESRD – AEMERA Transition Project

Objective of this meeting

Objective of this meeting

  • Ensure a shared understanding of IRMS

  • Ensure a shared understanding of the role AEMERA will play in the future (to the extent that it is currently known)

  • Review project glossary

  • Ensure a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities for the team

  • Discuss next steps for the team

Esrd aemera transition project


Integrated resource management

Integrated Resource Management

  • The IRM System is the means by which Alberta will achieve responsible resource stewardship.

  • The System is broadly defined, incorporating the management, conservation and wise use of all resources.

  • It is founded upon principles of cumulative effects management:

    • Knowledge based

    • Outcomes driven

    • Future focused

    • Comprehensive implementation

    • Place based flexibility

    • Collaboration

    • Adaptation and Continuous Improvement

Integrated resource management1

Integrated Resource Management

Why pursue an IRMS?

  • Continued economic and population growth

  • Need to manage cumulative effects

  • Heightened need for integration and resource optimization

  • Growing expectations of public and stakeholders


  • Project-by-project regulation and allocation

  • Management of incremental effects

  • Focus on preventing adverse impact


  • Regulation and allocation considers overall capacity of air shed, watershed, land base

  • Focus on achieving desired outcomes based on public input

  • Establishment of limits for total impacts on water, air, land, wildlife

Esrd aemera transition project

Evolution of Approach

East Slope Policy


Regional Strategies
















Integrated resource management2

Integrated Resource Management

Clarifying functions roles

Clarifying Functions / Roles



Drivers for change and creation of aemera

Drivers for Change and Creation of AEMERA

  • Both the provincial and federal ministers of environment convened expert panels to assess current environmental monitoring in the oil sands region and develop recommendations on how such monitoring could be improved.

  • Acting on the scientific and governance advice in these panel reports, former ESRD Minister McQueen directed a GoA policy response which included:

    • Defining direction for creation of an arms-length entity responsible for ambient environmental monitoring (two Ministers Reports);

    • Creating the Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency (AEMERA) (Bill 31); and

    • Providing funding to AEMERA for operations in the oil sands region (regulation under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA)).

Protecting alberta s environment act defines the purpose of the agency as follows

Protecting Alberta’s Environment Act defines the purpose of the Agency as follows:

Role of esrd once aemera is established

Role of ESRD once AEMERA is established

Role of aemera

Role of AEMERA

For the purpose of this project

For the purpose of this project….

Ambient Environmental Monitoring is a term used to describe baseline and effects-based monitoring. It does not include compliance monitoring.

Baseline Monitoring describes the state of the environment and its natural variability. Baseline monitoring establishes the benchmark against which sites that are affected by development can be compared.

Effects or Effects-based Monitoring describes monitoring activities undertaken to determine the status or trend of specific environmental attributes or indicators that reflect the current state of the environment. It focuses on changes in the environment resulting from various anthropogenic activities but is also able to detect changes due to natural causes such as climate variation.

For the purpose of this project1

For the purpose of this project….

Compliance Monitoring or Performance-basedMonitoring describes monitoring activities undertaken to determine if a particular facility is complying with its operating approval(s) and related licencing or permitting conditions. Such monitoring focuses on understanding and managing pressures on the environment (e.g., end of pipe or top of stack emissions) but may include condition indicators for environmental media under the care and control of the operator (e.g., soil, groundwater).

Notes: Bio Group would like to spit Compliance from Performance into separate functions

For the purpose of this project2

For the purpose of this project….

  • Monitoring is the repeated or continuous observation of an indicator or variable through time.

    • Monitoring is normally undertaken to understand or manage a process or system, so evaluation of the observations (i.e., data) and reporting must occur for understanding to increase or a management action to be formulated or taken.

  • Environmental Monitoring involves observations of indicators of environmental condition (e.g., river flow, abundance or health of living things, quality of air or water, nature and extent of habitat etc.) or pressures on the condition of the environment (e.g., rate of release of toxic substances to air, water or land, rate of conversion of land use, greenhouse gas emission rates etc.).

    • Monitoring uses a variety of techniques to makes observations including sampling and analysis of air, water, landscapes, soil, vegetation, fish and wildlife.

  • For the purpose of this project3

    For the purpose of this project….

    • Evaluation involves assessing the monitoring data to determine what is happening to the environment and why.

      • This requires integration of scientific insight, statistical analysis, treatment of uncertainty, and may involve process-based modeling.

      • Evaluation seeks to determine the existence and significance or relationships between pressures on the environment and the impacts those pressures may be having on the environment.

  • Reporting is the dissemination and publication of monitoring data and evaluation results to a variety of audiences.

    • A general objective of GoA and IRMS/AEMERA in particular is to move to an open data concept where primary data and information are available to all for purposes both known and not yet defined.

    • Nevertheless, a key objective of environmental monitoring reporting is to communicate information that supports policy development and informs environmental management decision making.

  • Criteria to use when working through the demarcation table

    Criteria to use when working through the demarcation table:

    • ESRD:

    • Sole purpose of survey/inventory required for allocation & compliance, or species recovery.

    • Response to stakeholder driven compliance concern (allocation)

    • Temporal and geographic scale narrow 

    • Work requires very specific timelines involving high numbers (critical mass) of staff over short durations

    • Involves special skills in handling certain threatened/endangered species.

    • AEMERA:

    • Long-term trend information to monitor natural fluctuations

    • Purpose to evaluate trend data information on species groups such as indexing

    • Developmental agency to address needed monitoring requirements

    • Temporal and geographic scale broad

    Testing scale assumptions

    Testing Scale Assumptions

    Known-Known: AEMERA provides authoritative knowledge and operates monitoring systems at this scale.

    Provincial Scale

    Land Use Region


    Known-Unknowns (GREY): What is AEMERA’s role at the scale that applies to management at the finer scale in conjunction with partners?

    Allocation Basin


    Known-Known: AEMERA does not conduct site focused monitoring for compliance assurance and response.

    Point Source

    Esrd functional demarcation march 20th

    ESRD functional Demarcation March 20th

    What s next

    What’s next?

    • Classify the media functions in a logical way

    • Map processes to better understand the IRMS functions and organizational roles using data and information products

    • Go through a table to make an objective assessment regarding each function

    • Make a recommendation as to whether the function stays with ESRD or moves based on consistent criteria

    What is our goal in the next few weeks to catalog the existing esrd monitoring functions

    What is our goal in the next few weeks?To catalog the existing ESRD monitoring functions

    • Ambient Environmental Monitoring

    • Baseline Monitoring

    • Effects or Effects-based

    • Compliance Monitoring or Performance-based Monitoring

    Steps after cataloging

    Steps after cataloging?

    • Media teams will complete an Inventory sheet to help determine the transitional work.

    • Which monitoring functions:

      • May be transitioned to over time

      • Should govern

      • May be shared between organizations

    • Once candidates are selected a process mapping exercise will be performed

    • After process mapping a final recommendation and risks will be delivered by the executive directors

    Process mapping

    Process Mapping

    Process mapping1

    Process Mapping

    Demarcation table headings

    Demarcation Table Headings

    Process mapping2

    Process Mapping

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