Frequently Asked Questions - Results and Considerations

In conjunction with FLNRO, key data input and assumptions will be validated through 2015 with a field assessment in the summer of 2015. Two specific areas that will be assessed include:

  • The accuracy of predicting a field-based riparian class assessment from an air photo interpretation of riparian features.
  • The reliability of the assumption that there has been no ecological succession, reclamation or reforestation on any disturbance, and that the impact that occurred with the initial disturbance has not changed, regardless of when it occurred.
  • The first priority for these reviews is the Lower Pine River water management basin.

In addition, the OGC will:

  • Continue to work with First Nations through community-focused engagement sessions to review ABA results and explore avenues for incorporating cultural heritage resources.
  • Unveil a public web site with all relevant documentation and data: January 2015
  • High priority wildlife value go live: 2015
  • Cultural heritage resources values go live: 2015
  • Other values (air quality, water quality, ground water): when ready

The principle behind ABA is that as the impact to a value increases due to industrial build out, management response escalates. The Commission has developed ABA-specific permit conditions to help address the incremental impacts of any activity. These conditions will be considered by Commission staff for all permits and authorizations for those values when the current condition is above Enhanced Management Trigger or above the Regulatory Policy Trigger. This will commence when ABA goes live.

As of January 2015, 27 of the 69 water management basins are above the Enhanced Management Trigger. All Natural Disturbance Units have sufficient Old Forest to meet the specified targets. These results are subject to change. Current ABA Status is available in the ABA shapefiles and Quarterly Reports.

Area-based Analysis (ABA) is a valuable tool for decision makers and resource managers to better manage the environment and minimize further impacts. ABA quickly draws attention to areas where significant cumulative effects exist and allows for a greater understanding of disturbance.

ABA will assess the combined footprint of all industrial development on the selected values. For the Commission, that means that decisions about oil and gas activities will be made with all industrial development in mind.

The best available information is used in ABA however because the data and the analytical techniques are necessarily simplifications of the real world, the technical information and analysis does not necessarily provide a complete picture of all aspects of the value, nor all answers or solutions.

Ongoing studies and monitoring will improve knowledge and increase certainty with time. All data have limitations, and usually require assumptions to use, which in turn creates strengths and weaknesses that need to be considered within a decision. Detailed documentation regarding input data, limitations, sourcing, and methodology is contained in the report “Project Analysis and Implementation: Area-based Analysis” available on the ABA web page, including the key assumptions for all input data.

The technical information and analysis does not provide the complete answer or solution to ABAfocused permitting or authorization decisions. To ensure a fair and equitable assessment, in addition to the information describing data / analysis uncertainty, an assessment of other risks will be provided in conjunction with the ABA assessment.