Environmental Geoscience Program

The ESS Environmental Geoscience Program (2009-2014) generates innovative geoscience knowledge and remote sensing applications to address the environmental risks, impacts and constraints associated with the development of Canada’s conventional and emerging energy and mineral resources. Research activities focus on issues of strategic importance to Canadians, including the oil sands, shale gas, metal mines, northern pipelines, offshore renewable energy, and carbon capture and storage.

These studies support responsible resource development by providing geoenvironmental baseline data and new geoscience information to strengthen environmental assessments and stewardship. Improved understanding of baseline conditions and processes allows decision-makers to assess the incremental or cumulative risks from proposed resource development projects, and to specify fair and appropriate standards for final site restoration. Research under the Environmental Geoscience Program also leads to the development of new tools to distinguish between natural and industry-related sources of metals and organic contaminants, and provides novel methods to monitor and manage the environmental effects of natural resource development. These tools will result in more robust characterization of the true risks associated with mineral and energy development, and lead to more efficient and cost-effective environmental management.

Environmental geoscience research at ESS is conducted in close collaboration with partners from NRCan, academia, industry, and other federal, provincial, and territorial government departments. These interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder partnerships lead to a more comprehensive understanding of complex environmental systems, and help to ensure that project results are shared directly with risk assessors, environmental managers, and government regulators. Studies carried out through the Environmental Geoscience Program are helping to improve the quality of Canada’s environmental regulations and performance, and are providing publically accessible geoscience information in support of decision-making.

Latest Environmental Geoscience Program Publications