Building ecologically robust lakes for offsetting fisheries productivity

In order for Canadian industry to continue to meet the high demand for energy they must adhere to the social and environmental pressures to reclaim and restore the extraction sites to fully functioning ecosystems, and to offset environmental destruction when appropriate. Recent changes to Canada’s Fisheries Act in 2012, have enshrined offsetting strategies as a legislative means of compensating for the loss of commercial, recreational or Aboriginal (CRA) fisheries. In Alberta’s Oil Sands Region, the creation of new lakes (i.e. compensation lakes) has been approved method for offsetting CRA fisheries, when mitigation is not possible. Determining how newly created ecosystems can resemble natural systems, and how best to maximize sustainable fisheries productivity, remains an important research and industrial question. The research program described here is focused on building ecologically robust lakes for fisheries offsetting. The specific objectives of this research program are to: 1) assess methods for measuring fisheries productivity between compensation lakes and natural systems, 2) assess the relationship between habitat and fisheries age and growth, 3) assess the efficacy of artificial structures to improve habitat suitability of a species of concern, 4) assess ecosystem function/functional diversity in compensation lakes, and 5) to determine food-web structure and trophic dynamics.

Faculty Supervisor:

Mark Poesch


Jonathan Ruppert


Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.


Resources and environmental management


Oil and gas


University of Alberta



Current openings

Find the perfect opportunity to put your academic skills and knowledge into practice!

Find Projects