Mandate and Objectives
As outlined in the Terms of Reference, the mandate of the Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) is to determine, evaluate and communicate the state of the aquatic environment and any changes that may result from cumulative resource development within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.
The objectives of RAMP are to:
- Monitor aquatic environments in the Athabasca oil sands region to detect and assess cumulative effects and regional trends;
- Collect baseline data to characterize natural variability in the aquatic environment in the Athabasca oil sands region;
- Collect and compare data against which predictions contained in Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) can be assessed;
- Collect data that satisfy the monitoring required by regulatory approvals of oil sands and other developments;
- Collect data that satisfy the monitoring requirements of company-specific community agreements;
- Recognize and incorporate traditional environmental knowledge into monitoring and assessment activities;
- Communicate monitoring and assessment activities, results and recommendations to communities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, regulatory agencies and other interested parties;
- Continuously review and adjust the program to incorporate monitoring results, technological advances, community concerns, and new or changed project approval conditions; and
- Conduct a periodic peer review of the program’s results against its objectives, and recommend adjustments necessary for the program’s continued success.
These objectives guide the scope, management and implementation of RAMP.
In addition to RAMP, other organizations have been established in the region in response to the rapid growth of oil sands mining and regional development, including:
- Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA) - develops management recommendations on how to best reduce potential long-term environmental impacts due to industrial development
- Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) - monitors and provides information on air quality and air-related environmental impacts in the RMWB. WBEA also undertakes a human exposure monitoring program (HEMP), which monitors regional exposure to specific air contaminants.
- Canadian Oil Sands Network for Research and Development (CONRAD) - is a combination of universities, government agencies and industry that facilitate a collaborative approach to scientific and technological research in the Alberta Oil Sands region.