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

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Indigenous planning off-reserve: Navigating jurisdiction and collaboration for off-reserve housing in Metlakatla Territory

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-09-21
Abstract: 

This report details my research on the housing value of the Metlakatla First Nation’s Cumulative Effects Management Program. The program is designed to protect Metlakatla community values, such as housing, from the effects of industrial development and other activities in Metlakatla Territory (which includes the city of Prince Rupert, BC). Many Metlakatla renters in Prince Rupert are unable to meet their housing needs. My study investigated the potential for collaboration between the Metlakatla Nation and external stakeholders to address this housing problem. Through focus groups, semi-structured interviews, and a multi-stakeholder workshop, I developed recommendations to help the Metlakatla improve both off-reserve rental housing and collaboration with the City of Prince Rupert and other stakeholders. I found that building collaborative relationships and implementing housing actions are inter-related and should be pursued concurrently. In addition, there are non-collaborative actions through which the Metlakatla can advance their housing and planning goals off-reserve.

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

Evaluating the impact of variable en route mortality on spatially varying harvest strategies for Fraser River sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka)

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-03-29
Abstract: 

Single stock terminal fisheries for Fraser River sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) have been proposed as an alternative to lower-river mixed-stock fisheries to avoid weak stocks and support terminal allocation objectives. However, increasing natural mortality rates during the upriver migration (en route mortality) have been overlooked when evaluating alternative harvest strategies. I used a spatially explicit, individual based model of sockeye migration and fisheries to examine how fishery location options affect management performance under variable en route mortality scenarios and a fixed total catch objective. Under all scenarios tested, re-distributing a fixed total harvest from lower-river mixed-stock to multiple upper-river single stock terminal fisheries resulted in increased en route mortality, decreased spawner abundance, and, in most cases, reduced total catch. While lower-river mixed-stock fisheries performed better at meeting a fixed catch objective under the scenarios in my analysis, single stock terminal fisheries may be preferable for meeting other objectives.

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

Insights into designing fiscal regimes for impact benefit agreements

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-12-09
Abstract: 

Impact benefit agreements have become a popular tool to manage and mitigate the impacts of resource development activities, and share the monetary and/or non-monetary benefits from development activities with impacted communities. The largely confidential nature of these agreements has made it difficult for communities to learn from past agreements and associated outcomes. This report provides practical recommendations for designing equitable fiscal regimes in IBAs. This report identifies, describes, and qualitatively assesses fiscal instruments and systems for extractive industries using a set of potential community objectives. Then, a method to quantitatively evaluate alternative fiscal regimes is employed for the base metal mining sector, using a modified discounted cash flow model of a representative base metal mine. The results suggest that more aggressive fiscal regimes could be negotiated for IBAs in the base metal mining sector while still ensuring that a given resource project is economically viable. The study also suggests that combining a few fiscal instruments can help to balance between the inherent trade-offs of a given fiscal instrument.

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

Modeling policy pathways to carbon neutrality in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-27
Abstract: 

The Canadian government has made commitments to transition Canada to a carbon neutral economy by 2050, but to date have yet to announce a policy pathway to achieve its goal. This study uses the CIMS energy-economy model to assess two policy packages that could help Canada achieve carbon neutrality by 2050: one focusing on carbon pricing and the other on flexibly designed regulations. Each were modeled in two scenarios, which represented different levels of global climate action. Both policy packages are likely to achieve significant emissions reductions, though reductions will likely come from different sectors of the Canadian economy depending on how aggressively the rest of the world acts on climate change.

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

Access to transportation and food for users of non-profit food hubs in the City of Vancouver before and during the COVID-19 crisis

Date created: 
2021-04-09
Abstract: 

Food that is available yet inaccessible cannot ensure urban food security. This study involved an online survey (n=84) and semi-structured follow-up key informant interviews (n=10) with individuals at least 19 years old who accessed food at a non-profit food hub located in the City of Vancouver more than once before and during the COVID-19 crisis. Data from the survey and interviews highlight which individuals and families access non-profit food hubs in the City of Vancouver, how they access them, and what barriers they face to access them. Drawing from the findings, a few recommendations are provided in terms of potential ways to increase the accessibility of food at non-profit food hubs in the City of Vancouver. This study emphasizes how the current two-tier food system perpetuates stigma and harms the well-being of marginalized populations in the City of Vancouver in their journey to obtain food.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Tammara Soma
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Treatment wetlands for industrial wastewaters: A study of science, policy, and management

Date created: 
2020-07-16
Abstract: 

Bitumen extraction in Alberta’s oil sands region generates large volumes of oil sands process-affected waters (OSPW) that pose environmental and human health risks. Currently, few feasible options for managing these large and growing volumes of polluted waters exist. The primary objective of this research is to investigate the feasibility, effectiveness, and safety of treatment wetlands as a treatment option for the oil sands industry. To do this, a mechanistic model of the fate and toxicity of OSPW contaminants in treatments wetlands was developed and tested in field studies at the Kearl Treatment Wetland – a free water surface flow wetland in northern Alberta. Measuring concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and naphthenic acids (NAs) in influent and effluent of the Kearl Treatment Wetland showed that the combined total mass of all detected PAHs and NA reduced by 54 to 83% and 7.5 to 69%, respectively, as a result of treatment. Concentrations of PAHs and NAs in the aqueous phase of the wetland were measured using polyethylene (PE) and Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Samplers (POCIS), respectively. The model is shown to be in good agreement with the experimental observations and required only minimal calibration. Application of the model shows that evapotranspiration is not likely to significantly contribute to the removal of OSPW contaminants. Chemical removal relies mainly on transformation in wetland rooting media due to high microbial activity in wetland biofilm. Higher rates of transformation result in greater removal efficiencies for most chemicals. However, highly hydrophobic substances experience low removal efficiencies and appear to be unaffected by changes in transformation rates in the wetland suggesting wetland treatment is not suitable for these substances. Treatment efficiency is sensitive to wetland surface area and flow rate of water through the wetland suggesting intentional wetland design and operation can improve treatment efficiency. Trade-offs in wetland design and operation can be informed by the model.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Frank Gobas
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Natural asset management and market-based conservation in Indigenous contexts

Date created: 
2021-04-20
Abstract: 

This research consists of two parts. The first part provides an extended critique of market-based conservation as exemplary of neo-liberal ideology. Natural asset management, an example of market-based conservation, is described as a form of "progressive neo-liberalism," a political formation that consists of a neo-liberal economic practice and a progressive politics of recognition. Market-based conservation is shown to conflict with Indigenous ways of knowing and Indigenous life practices, posing a potential challenge to the capacity of Indigenous and Settler communities to imagine non-capitalist futures and to realize what Leanne Betasamosake Simpson calls "Indigenous resurgence." The second part of the thesis addresses the challenges faced by the Municipal Natural Asset Initiative in engaging with Indigenous Knowledge in their future work and puts forth multiple recommendations for doing so respectfully, effectively, and ethically.

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

Creating safer cities for salmon: A policy analysis of the Lower Fraser Watershed

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-22
Abstract: 

Rapid urbanization in the Lower Fraser Watershed (LFW) of British Columbia (BC) directly and indirectly degrades the health of aquatic ecosystems that are home to the ecologically, culturally, socially, and economically significant Pacific Salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.). Using the scientific standards of the Salmon-Safe BC urban program as an evaluative framework, this study undertakes a comparative review of government policies and offers a series of recommendations that could facilitate the use of green infrastructure (GI) to mitigate adverse impacts on wild salmon. During consultations with LFW experts, the disparities in policy objectives and requirements were cited as a major barrier to their effective implementation. Addressing these gaps in policy requires development of well-defined statutory foundations and enforcement, and awareness-raising among developers, the public, and politicians to understand GI solutions. This approach can garner the support needed for the use of GI systems to protect wild salmon and ensure long-term watershed health.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Zafar Adeel
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Mercury loss from gold rush era placer mines in the Fraser Basin

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-01-18
Abstract: 

Gold-rush era mercury loss at mine sites in the Fraser Basin was investigated. 109 soil and sediment samples were collected from suspected hotspots on 15 legacy placer mine sites and tested for total mercury. 89% of sites that had clearly discernable signs of mining had at least one test sample that exceeded all control samples taken during the study, suggesting that mercury use was widespread during B.C.’s Fraser and Cariboo gold rushes. An estimated 17,768 to 247,665 kg was lost in the Fraser Basin between 1858 and 1910, calculated by relating mercury loss to different records of gold extraction. Historical records show that 26,749 kg of mercury was shipped to B.C. from California between 1860 and 1883, and mercury imports into Canada between 1882 and 1899 exceeded expected mercury needs for gold amalgamation practices.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Cliff Atleo
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Sustainable community development through the conceptual lens of productivity

Date created: 
2021-04-27
Abstract: 

Achieving global sustainability requires addressing urban systems since more than two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. Fundamental changes are needed in local decision-making, urban sustainability planning, implementation, and assessment, and citizen mobilization to move from current piecemeal approaches toward long-lasting and successful implementation of local and global sustainability goals. This research explores the potential of holistic community/urban productivity: “How can the concept, principles, and practices of community productivity help address local sustainability planning, implementation, and assessment, and contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals?” In response, I engaged in critical review of the literature on sustainable community development, urban sustainability, and holistic productivity, developed a conceptual framework for holistic urban productivity, and conducted in-depth case studies with two Canadian cities. While cities are often considered as a component of Anthropocene problems, they also offer unique opportunities and solutions: they have enormous potential not only in terms of economic and labor productivity (diverse and inclusive economy, fostering innovation), but also of social productivity (hubs of research, learning, and sharing) and ecological productivity (ecological function regeneration and efficient use of resources). Holistic urban productivity posits that transforming cities into well-functioning and sustainable systems is possible through inclusive co-production of the commons, resource circularity and regeneration, natural systems restoration, and systemic decision-making. This dissertation contributes to sustainable community development conceptually and empirically by substantiating existing literature and by proposing a new framework with principles, goals, and metrics grounded in long-term whole-systems thinking and regeneration of urban assets and resources. The research findings helped enhance the holistic Urban Productivity Framework and the development of recommendations for municipalities in Canada and beyond and for further research. Cities need to welcome visioning, networking, learning, and connectedness tools for balanced and synergistic optimization of all community elements.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Mark Roseland
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.