Throughout each year, the Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program collects information about the aquatic environment to determine any impact from oil sands projects. This monitoring and reporting is required by environmental regulations and policies, to ensure compliance with their provisions.
The first step to any monitoring program is the baseline assessment, conducted to determine the conditions existing before the project begins. Once the type of monitoring has been decided (stressor- vs effects-based monitoring), an environmental monitoring design is written up to define the goals of the monitoring program. Sometimes a monitoring program considers social as well as environmental impacts, and hence is of interest to different groups including industry, First Nations and government. In this case the program requires multi-stakeholder monitoring. As a program progresses, adaptive management amends the monitoring program as necessary.
Quality control and quality assurance procedures are followed regularly to ensure that all work meets scientific standards.