There is an issue of cumulative land disturbance and ecosystem fragmentation as a result of existing and planned development activities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB).
The goal of these recommendations is to minimize land disturbance and ecosystem fragmentation during project phases from planning and exploration to operations, using management tools that have been demonstrated to be feasible in the oilsands region and other parts of the Alberta.
There are emerging management tools that, if implemented on a broad scale within the RMWB, would help to minimize the cumulative land disturbance, cosystem fragmentation, and impacts on sensitive sites. These tools are subset of the eventual SEWG management system, which will contain additional management tools and best management practices to be applied to wider range of development activities in order to meet pending SEWG management objectives.
The recommended ecosystem management tools were determined based on a study completed in February 2002. Of the 26 tools examined, three tools have demonstrable ecosystem benefits, can be readily applied, and can be implemented immediately. The results of the February 2002 study have been supported by the SEWG and have been presented to the CEMA membership. The report titled “Guidelines for the Implementation of Ecosystem Management Tools in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region” provides information on the attributes of these three management tools and possible implementation.