Graduate Studies: University of Alberta MSc Positions (2)

For Masters Student positions:

Rare Plant Mitigation: The Species at Risk Act (SARA) was introduced in Canada to prevent species from being extirpated or becoming extinct; to provide for recovery of species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity; and to manage species to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened. Plants listed under SARA require special consideration and management prior to land change or development, such as with pipelines in proximity to known populations and their habitat. Current provincial and federal guidelines provide industry with mitigation activities to reduce potential negative impacts on these plant species. There is little scientific research on the effectiveness of rare plant mitigation measures and these data are needed to evaluate the cost-benefit of mitigation activities and to protect rare species. Rather than the current approach of determining mitigation on a project by project basis, this research may aid in identifying commonalities that can lead to a more wholistic or landscape approach for future development.

The overall objective of this research is to determine best management practices for protecting rare plants during pipeline construction. The project will involve database, field and potentially laboratory research. Field work will be conducted in summer 2022 on pipelines in northern Alberta and possibly in British Columbia and involve extensive travel and work in remote locations with an assistant.

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Coal Tar Coatings: The objective of the research program is to determine whether historically used coal tar coatings for pipelines pose an environmental risk that needs to be addressed by the pipeline industry in Canada. Many pipelines with coal tar coatings are now at the end of their life and are being decommissioned. There has been little research on the effect of coat tar coatings as they age on the surrounding environment. Scientific data is needed to determine if they degrade and enter the environment through soil or water. This data will lead to development of cost effective reclamation strategies for decommissioned sites.

The research program will involve identifying potential contaminants in soil and water, delineating their extent, and assessing potential impacts to flora, fauna and humans. The effect of factors such as depth to ground water, soil type, plant community, and age of pipeline will be considered. In assessing potential adverse effects of coal tar coating, a regulatory and scientific approach will be taken.

Qualifications

• A BSc degree in land reclamation, environmental, soil science, plant science or equivalent field of study.

• Excellent vascular plant identification skills; non vascular plant and lichen identification skills would be an asset (Rare plant mitigation)

• Experience conducting vegetation surveys; experience with rare plant surveys would be an asset. (Rare plant mitigation)

• A strong interest in soil and water remediation and environmental impact assessment (Coal tar coatings)

• Resourcefulness and able to effectively problem solve.

• Adapts to changing priorities and schedules.

• Works independently, particularly in the field.

• Willingness to travel extensively and live and work in remote locations during the field season.

• A Class 5 non graduated driver’s license and comfortable driving 4×4 trucks.

• Enjoys working in a dynamic environment.

Stipend: MSc stipend of approximately $2000/month as per University of Alberta guidelines.

Apply: Send a statement of interest, current CV and copies of your academic transcripts to sarah.wilkinson@ualberta.ca.

Position is open until a suitable candidate is found.