The Liard River Watershed covers 275 000 square kilometres in Northeastern British Columbia. This vast area is increasingly being developed for its underlying shale gas resources using hydraulic fracturing (fracking). However, there are few studies investigating the environmental impacts of such activity in this vast area. Fossil fuels and freshwater are two of Canadas most important natural resources, and therefore an understanding of the water-energy nexus is paramount.
In British Columbia, highly saline waste water produced as a by-product of oil and gas operations are injected into deep geological formations via injection wells. The purpose of this research project is to investigate whether or not these injected fluids remain at depth as intended or rather, can return to the surface and contaminate water resources. In particular this project aims to evaluate the role that surrounding active and abandoned wellbores play in acting as vertical conduits for subsurface fluids to leak to the surface.
The David Suzuki Foundation, a science-based Canadian environmental organization, and an intern from the University of Alberta will analyze data on sea lice and Pacific salmon population dynamics using mathematical and statistical techniques.