Classification of Sampling Stations
Potential effects of industry on aquatic resources in the RAMP study area are assessed, in part, geographically, by comparing data from sites downstream of development to data from sites unaffected by development and also, over time (for example, comparing conditions before and after the operation of a mine). RAMP uses the following definitions for classifying stations:
Baseline is the term used to describe aquatic resources and physical locations that are unaffected by industrial development or upstream of an approved oil sands project in some stage of physical development. Data collected from baseline stations or time periods prior to development assist in understanding the natural conditions of aquatic environments in the absence of oil sands development or stressors.
Test is the term used to describe aquatic resources, physical locations (i.e., stations, reaches) that are downstream of an approved oil sands project in some stage of physical development. The use of this term does not imply or presume that effects are occurring or have occurred, but simply that data collected from these locations are being tested against natural baseline conditions to assess potential changes in aquatic resources.