Landscape Ecological Assessment and Planning (LEAP) and the Algar Restoration Pilot Project

By: Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance

Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) is an alliance of oil sands producers focused on accelerating the pace of improvement in environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands through collaborative action and innovation. The COSIA companies share a common commitment to environmental stewardship and have invested significant resources into innovative approaches to restore footprint and improve woodland caribou habitat. The Landscape Ecological Assessment and Planning (LEAP) process was employed to first establish current baseline footprint estimates for more than 32,000 km2 of boreal forest (the Southern Athabasca Oil Sands Area), then to guide restoration activities on the 56,915 ha Algar area southwest of Fort McMurray. LEAP includes four parts: establishing ecological objectives for the landscape, projecting ecosystem change, implementing on-the-ground restoration activities and monitoring the effectiveness of these activities. With a proven model and measurable results, LEAP will help direct future management decisions concerning both landscape and site level habitat restoration efforts.