The Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) monitors the environment of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in north-eastern Alberta. Our environmental monitoring work is the most integrated and intensive focus on air and terrestrial monitoring in any one area, anywhere in Canada. WBEA is committed to reporting accurate and timely high quality data from our Air, Terrestrial and Human Exposure Monitoring Programs to ensure regional stakeholders have the information they need to make informed environmental decisions.
- is a dynamic collaboration of communities, environmental groups, industry, government and Aboriginal stakeholders.
- is an integral component of Alberta Environment regulatory compliance for member companies.
- operates the most extensive ambient air network in Alberta with 17 air monitoring stations and 23 passive monitoring stations to date.
- reports continuous ambient air quality data, in real time, directly to our website.
- operates environmental monitoring programs to monitor ambient air, land and human exposure.
- operates in an area where the main industry is oil sands development.
- engages stakeholders in the work of the Association, and increases interaction with the public through a number of outreach opportunities including open houses, newsletters, radio and newspaper advertising, school presentations, trade shows, science fairs, Environment Week and other special events.
People are empowered to make informed decisions to ensure a safe and healthy environment.
The Wood Buffalo Environmental Association is a multi-stakeholder, consensus-based organization that leads in state-of-the-art environmental monitoring to enable informed decision-making.
Our Core Values...
- We are scientifically independent.
- We recognize, respect, and use traditional knowledge.
- We are transparent and timely in communicating accurate and accessible data.
- We are dedicated to using best available practices and technology.
- We support diverse stakeholder participation to achieve consensus-based decisions.
About the Region...
From north central Alberta to the borders of Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (www.woodbuffalo.ab.ca) covers 68,454 square kilometres, making it the second largest municipality in Canada. It was established in 1995, through an amalgamation of the City of Fort McMurray and Improvement District No. 143.The Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) is within the municipality, and includes both traditional bitumen mining operations and in situ oil production. The region alsoencompasses the communities of Fort McMurray, Fort Chipewyan, Fort McKay, Anzac, Janvier and Conklin.
Even before the unprecedented growth of the oil sands industry in this region, it was accepted that an organization like the WBEA was necessary. It didn’t just happen:
- In 1985, Fort McKay First Nation expressed concern about the environment.
- In response, government and industry formed an Air Quality Task Force which described issues, established priorities and recommended on-going dialogue and a consensus based approach to air quality concerns.
- Air Quality Task Force becomes Regional Air Quality Coordinating Committee (RAQCC) prioritized regional air quality concerns and coordinated a program to manage air quality in the region.
- In 1993, the Government of Alberta developed a regional approach to air quality monitoring under the umbrella of the Clean Air Strategic Alliance (CASA).
- In 1997, RAQCC was reformed into the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA).
- The Clean Air Strategic Alliance formally endorsed the WBEA Monitoring Program in 1996. In 1997, the WBEA assumed responsibility for ownership and operation of a regional consolidated air quality monitoring network in the region.
- Capital costs provided originally by Suncor Energy and Syncrude Canada Limited.
- Alberta Environment provided equipment on a long term basis, as well as expertise and in-kind contributions.
- In 1999, WBEA included an ecological monitoring program, Terrestrial Environmental Effects Monitoring (TEEM).
- In 2005, WBEA included the ongoing Human Exposure Monitoring Program (HEMP).
- Membership, funding and in-kind contributions have continued to rise with the increase in industry activity.