The Regional Industry Caribou Collaboration (RICC) was born of necessity. Because boreal woodland caribou are a threatened species, and because their large ranges overlap with oil, gas and timber resources in Alberta, a group of energy and forestry companies in the Cold Lake and East Side Athabasca River (ESAR) caribou ranges of northeast Alberta chose to go beyond individual efforts.
Formed in 2012 when Devon Canada Corp. committed to lead a coalition of companies operating in caribou ranges to address mitigations at a regional level, the RICC works across tenure and lease boundaries to coordinate habitat restoration and conduct research on caribou ecology and landscape relationships. The Government of Alberta has called the RICC a model for caribou range planning in the province.
Resource companies in Alberta are required to implement mitigation for habitat loss, fragmentation and mortality. In the case of boreal caribou, that means meeting population and habitat objectives, including landscape conditions of 65 per cent undisturbed habitat per range. For the wide-ranging caribou, the RICC has created habitat restoration treatments on over 1,000 linear kilometers of industrial footprint. These treatments include human access control, mounding and planting of seedlings, and research on the movement rates of wolves.
RICC has also created interactive mapping portals of data on industrial development, wildlife telemetry locations and wildfire occurrences, with extensive wildlife monitoring to quantify responses to restoration treatments.