Resource and Environmental Management - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Carbon Stocks and Accumulation Rates in Salt Marshes of the Pacific Coast of Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-12-08
Abstract: 

We estimated carbon stocks and carbon accumulation rates using 34 sediment cores collected from seven salt marshes within the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada (49.2° N, 125.80° W). Carbon stocks averaged 80.6 ± 43.8 Mg C ha-1 between the seven salt marshes, and carbon accumulation rates averaged 146 ± 102 g C m-2 yr -1. These rates are comparable to those found in salt marshes further south along the Pacific coast of North America (32.5-38.2° N) and at similar latitudes in Eastern Canada and Northern Europe (43.6-55.5° N). The seven Clayoquot Sound salt marshes currently accumulate carbon at a rate of 54.28 Mg C yr-1 over an area of 46.94 ha, 87 % of which occurs in the high marsh zone. On a per-hectare basis, Clayoquot Sound salt marsh soils accumulate carbon at least one order of magnitude more quickly than the average of global boreal forest soils. This carbon accumulation capacity provides a climate mitigation co-benefit when conserving for other salt marsh ecosystem services.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Karen Kohfeld
Marlow Pellatt
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.R.M.

Indigenous governance tools for exerting sovereignty over traditional territory: A case study of mineral development in the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc territory

Date created: 
2017-12-11
Abstract: 

With an increasingly political and adversarial environment developing in British Columbian resource sectors, this research critiques the usefulness of tools that can be employed by Indigenous governments to assert sovereignty over decisions regarding resource development on their territories. The purpose of this research is to consider the different legal, socio-political, supra regulatory and self-governance tools available in the case of the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation as they make management decisions over mineral development in their traditional territory located in the interior of British Columbia. This insight is particularly important for Indigenous communities in Canada that are considering their options regarding resource development as a path to self-autonomy and self-governance over their territory, resources and economies. As Canada moves towards a relationship built on the precept of reconciliation, it is imperative that resource development decision-making processes increase community capacity, agency, and self-governance, while incorporating indigenous traditions, values and laws.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Sean Markey
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

A Comparative Analysis of Surface Winds in the Mid-Continental United States of America During Severe Droughts in the 1950s and 2010s.

Date created: 
2017-08-31
Abstract: 

The Mid-Continental United States of America (USA) has experienced several exceptional droughts, which are frequently linked with increased dust storms in response to reduced vegetation and intensified surface wind speeds. This investigation examined surface wind speed behavior in the Mid-Continental USA between 1954 and 2016 to assess differences in wind speeds between severe drought and wetter periods and determine what climatic conditions may have influenced these changes. Results show that droughts periods had significantly higher extreme surface wind speeds, and the 1950s Southwest drought had significantly higher surface wind speeds compared to the 2010s drought. Composite patterns of sea-level pressure, temperature, precipitation, and Palmer Drought Severity Index suggest that synoptic weather conditions reinforce dry and windy conditions during drought vs wetter years. However, synoptic conditions were largely similar between the two droughts, suggesting that land surface management practices may have been responsible for decreased surface winds during the 2010s drought.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Karen Kohfeld
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.R.M.

Evaluating Decision-Making Practices of the National Energy Board in the Environmental Assessment Joint Review Process: A Case Study of the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project

Date created: 
2017-12-03
Abstract: 

The objective of this research was to evaluate the decision-making process employed to review major pipeline projects. An evaluative framework for evaluating the decision-making process was developed, and applied to the National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel’s final report on the Northern Gateway Project. Results suggest the process failed to ensure all project effects and evidence were considered, and all conflicts in evidence were resolved by decision-makers. Recommendations to improve the review process include more explicit decision-making criteria, new and improved guidance material, and additional training for decision-makers in administering good decision-making practices.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Thomas Gunton
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Evaluation of the Regulatory Review Process for Pipeline Expansion in Canada: A Case Study of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-25
Abstract: 

A good review process ensures government agencies approve projects which are in the public's interest and reject those that are not. Recently, the Canadian review process for pipelines has undergone scrutiny with numerous studies pointing to major flaws. This report presents a case study evaluation of the regulatory review and approval process for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. The Project review process led by the National Energy Board is evaluated relative to nine best practices based on a survey of intervenors in the hearings. The main conclusion is that the review process does not meet any of the best practices and is deficient. Even so, intervenors largely agreed on how it could be improved. The results are also compared to a similar study evaluating the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Process, and the conclusions attained were similar. This report aims to contribute to improving the Canadian review process.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Thomas Gunton
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Cultural Values in Cumulative Effects Management: A Case Study with the Metlakatla First Nation

Date created: 
2017-08-28
Abstract: 

Conventional approaches to environmental impact assessment and cumulative effects assessment (CEA) have largely failed to incorporate the cultural values of Aboriginal communities and have inadequately addressed the negative impacts of development on these values. The main objective of this study is to develop and demonstrate an improved methodology for identifying and assessing cultural values to inform CEA and other decision-making processes. After reviewing the major weaknesses and recommendations discussed in the literature on CEA and cultural values, I describe the new method and demonstrate its application as part of an innovative cumulative effects management program instituted by the Metlakatla First Nation for their traditional territory in northwestern British Columbia. I compare my results with the results of a recent conventional assessment conducted for the Pacific NorthWest LNG Project in Metlakatla territory. The new method provides useful information to support Metlakatla efforts to maintain their culture, language, and practices.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Murray Rutherford
Tom Gunton
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

"Now we learn to live with it": Katzie cultural resilience and the Golden Ears Bridge.

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-23
Abstract: 

Despite 150 years of transformative environmental, social, and economic change Aboriginal Peoples in Canada maintain their distinctive identities and cultures. The perseverance of indigenous peoples is of particular interest to scholars studying resilience. Defined variously as a process, trait, or outcome, resilience is a malleable concept used to help explain how individuals, communities, or interlinked social-ecological systems respond to change. I use mental health and ecology-based resilience models to examine how the q́íćəý (Katzie) First Nation of southwestern British Columbia responded to changes imposed by the Golden Ears Bridge—a six-lane bridge built through the centre of their traditional fishing grounds. I conclude that Katzie responses to change, including those imposed by the Golden Ears Bridge, illustrate how Katzie cultural values serve as resilience pivots. These resilience pivots act as the stable core of Katzie culture, helping to perpetuate Katzie identity despite historical and ongoing physical, social, and economic transformations. I expand resilience discourse concerning power and agency via a critical analysis of the Golden Ears Bridge Benefit Agreement negotiation. I conclude that despite the power imbalances that influenced the outcomes of Golden Ears Bridge Benefit Agreement negotiation, Katzie agency continues to influence power dynamics at grassroots and at broader sociopolitical scales, albeit slowly and incrementally. As Katzie and other First Nations achieve greater decision-making power they challenge ideological imperatives that prioritize a prevailing definition of progress as economic growth and urban expansion.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John R. Welch
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Vancouver stream restoration practices: Piloting a community-based monitoring framework along Still Creek

Date created: 
2017-12-01
Abstract: 

The number of urban stream restoration projects implemented by local governments has expanded exponentially; however, these projects are rarely monitored to assess effectiveness. Community-based monitoring can overcome monitoring challenges, and build community capacity. Still Creek located in Vancouver, BC, provides a case study for creating a community-based monitoring framework and protocol to collect information relevant to local government. The indicator framework is composed of three indicators: (1) Benthic invertebrate diversity, (2) Visual habitat assessment, and (3) Riparian terrestrial biodiversity. Volunteers for data collection were recruited through Meetup.com. Community-based monitoring comes with practical concerns and limitations; however, the data collected can inform continued adaptive management of urban stream restoration projects. Recommendations for Still Creek include establishing a maintenance schedule, with associated roles and budget; further education and awareness initiatives within the community; continued community-engagement; and continued watershed-wide and reach-scale restoration efforts.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Sean Markey
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Food Sovereignty and Community Development: Shellfish Aquaculture in the Nanwakolas First Nations

Date created: 
2017-06-19
Abstract: 

Aquaculture is promoted by governments and industry as a solution to the impending crisis of a growing and hungry world population, although technological solutions to food shortages have historically had social consequences. In partnership with the Nanwakolas Council, we researched the social and economic impacts of land-based aquaculture development with a focus on a potential shellfish hatchery. The two aims of the project were 1) to develop a Sustainability Assessment tool that the community could use to assess such projects and 2) to investigate the likely impacts of a potential shellfish hatchery in relation to food systems. First, we found that the Nanwakolas’ existing Community Wellbeing Wheel could be developed into a Sustainability Assessment framework by testing it with a community dialogue about a potential shellfish hatchery. We identified gaps in the first iteration of the framework as recommended improvements in several sustainability dimensions, along with the proposed new sustainability dimension of Community Capacity. Next, we explored a shellfish hatchery from the perspective of food sovereignty using the Nyéléni conference principles as an analytical framework to analyze interview and dialogue responses. We isolated some of the strengths and weaknesses of a shellfish hatchery for Nanwakolas food sovereignty, particularly highlighting ways in which this non-traditional method of food production might build sovereignty and resource governance capacity. Additionally, our results indicate that a discussion between consumption vs. commodification of community food resources over-simplifies the possible paths to food sovereignty, as defining production can itself help build food sovereignty. Lastly, we found Community Capacity to be an underlying limit to food sovereignty, but also something that the Community Wellbeing Wheel could specifically address through future community dialogue.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Mark Roseland
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Assessing Canada-British Columbia climate policy design and interaction

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-10-04
Abstract: 

This study tests alternative climate policy scenarios to provide useful information to decision-makers. The first component of this project evaluates how Canada, when viewed from a national perspective, can best achieve a greenhouse gas target. This was done by using the hybrid energy-economy model CIMS to simulate and compare policy approaches. For the second component, I modeled British Columbia to explore policy designs for integrating provincial climate policy with the broader national targets and efforts. Special emphasis was placed on designing policies that could gradually align initiatives by all regions and all levels of government in Canada with a similar, nation-wide marginal cost of emissions reduction. To account for the uncertainty of future natural gas production, I incorporate a sensitivity analysis by modeling each scenario in British Columbia twice, either under the assumption that liquefied natural gas is developed or absent in the province.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Mark Jaccard
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)