"Development of innovative tools for marine ecological assessment and intertidal habitat restoration Year Two *Renewal, previous title ""Development of innovative tools for marine ecological assessment and intertidal habitat restoration."""

Contaminated sites assessment and remediation is an area of specialized services provided by Keystone Environmental. The technical challenge facing Keystone Environmental is to develop an innovative approach to provide effective contaminated sites services at rocky intertidal beaches in British Columbia. The rocky beaches of Howe Sound, impacted by effluents from pulp mills and mine acid rock drainage, have been studied and a significant body of historical data has been accumulated. Re-establishment of biodiversity after decrease of the contaminant input was very slow or minimal.

Development of innovative tools for marine ecological assessment and intertidal habitat restoration.

The current innovative research project has three objectives to address current deficiencies in contaminated sites assessment and remediation:

(1) To develop a rating system that defines the stages of recovery/impact at marine sites based on intertidal community structure and pollution tolerance/sensitivity/intolerance of resident species.

(2) To develop methodology for the assessment of environmental stress levels at marine sites that prevent natural recolonization of the area.

Assessment of air quality using remote sensing technology for Alberta’s oil sands region

The objectives of this study are:

• To assess the feasibility of using satellite remote sensing technology to measure trace gases and aerosols over northern Alberta and to study the transport of biomass burning emissions and its impact on air quality over northern Alberta.

 

Methodology:

Control of point source low volume methane emission using methanobiofilteration technology

The research project identified here falls under the category of “clean energy technology”. Methanobiofiltration (MBF) is a new technology for the treatment of waste methane gas using a biological process, thus contributing to the reduction of the environmental impacts of current energy technologies. The lack of a complete technology package needed for various industry sectors has hindered its large-scale application in Alberta.

Determining the timespan and ecological conditions necessary for afforested environments to support older-growth understorey communities

Mineral aggregate production is essential to Canada’s economy and infrastructure but environmental concerns threaten to impede this until ecological impacts are shown to be mitigated by off-site replication of affected ecosystems including heritage hardwood forests. A large-scale comparative study was recently initiated to determine whether conventional forestry can produce plantations that are ecologically equivalent to natural forests.

Environmental Decision-Making in the Face of Uncertainty: A Bayesian approach

In water quality management, mathematical models are used to evaluate management alternatives, and to support the policy making process. Environmental models involve substantial uncertainty which can be very critical when striving to identify polluters, to direct the use of taxpayers' dollars, and to determine management strategies that have considerable social and economic implications.

Agents and processes for forward osmosis

Dewatering and desalination, meaning the extraction of freshwater from waste water or seawater, requires high energy inputs in the form of heat and/or pressure. The disadvantages of the most common method, reverse osmosis, include the irreversible deposition of particulate on the membrane surface and the energy required to surpass the feed solution's osmotic pressure. An emerging alternative that addresses both of these issues is forward osmosis, which relies on the osmotic pressure of a draw solution to pull fresh water from the feed solution.

Catalyst Development for Clean Hydrogen Production

The proposed research project looks at the hydrogen economy, where hydrogen can be used in place of fossil fuels for the worlds’ energy needs. Although touted as a sustainable option for global energy demand, the vast majority of hydrogen continues to be produced by industrial, fossil fuel-based processes such as steam reforming of natural gas. Our research aims to lower costs of hydrogen production in hopes to adopt wide-spread use and eliminate the need to rely on fossil fuels. Our partner organization, FireWater Fuel Corp.

Trend and Uncertainty Analysis of Climate Change Trends for Spencer Creek, Ontario

There are however, a range of GCMs, future climate scenarios and downscalingtechniques that can be used and each yields different results. Due to this uncertainty, itis regarded as best-practice to use a collection of individual projections to develop“ranges” that characterize future climate conditions. The aim of this internship is toconduct this analysis for the variables of precipitation and temperatures, which will beused directly by the HCA in their assessment of impacts and hydrologic modeling

Simplified Identification of Insects using Software Tools and Digital Photography

Identification of insect prey is essential for understanding the foraging behaviours of insectivorous bat and bird predators. The intern will develop software tools that will aid a skilled entomologist with the rapid identification of insects from photographs taken from field collecting sites.

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