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

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Dietary biotransformation and bioaccumulation of cyclic siloxanes in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-11-29
Abstract: 

Cyclic volatile methyl siloxanes (cVMS) are commonly used down-the-drain manufactured substances that were assessed for their bioaccumulation (B) potential in Canada and the European Union, which resulted in different regulations. Discrepancies between regulations resulted in part from the unique intrinsic characteristics of cVMS, their log KOW values, which suggests that cVMS partition out of water and into lipids. Modeled simulations and laboratory-based bioconcentration (BCF) values exceed CEPA 1999 B criteria, while field-based analysis of biomagnification factors (BMFs) can produce values that are below CEPA 1999’s B threshold (BCF and/or BMF < 5000) and resulted in biodilution. The current research addressed discrepancies between B values by exploring in vivo dietary somatic biotransformation rate constants (kBM) of two cVMS, octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4) and decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5), in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). The kBMs were derived using a co-exposure of non-metabolized reference chemicals. Plotting the concentration of fish at time (CF) shows significant but slow somatic depuration rate constants (kBT, d-1) for D4 and D5 (0.045 ± 0.018 (SE); 0.042 ± 0.008 (SE)) and kBM (d-1) (0.039 ± 0.019 (SE); 0.037 ± 0.009 (SE)). The CF also produced significant, but relatively slow dietary uptake absorption efficiencies (ED) for D4 and D5 (0.322 ± 0.034 (SE); 0.079 ± 0.008 (SE)). CF was entered into an Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, and Excretion Fish Bioaccumulation Calculator (ADME-B) to predict the biotransformation rate constant in the gut (kGM,d-1), resulting in relatively fast rate constants of 1.26 ± 0.61 (SE) and 6.46 ± 1.12 (SE) d-1 for D4 and D5. Results indicate that the exposure route effects the proportional contribution of somatic (φBM) and gut (φGM) biotransformation rate constants on the depuration of D4 and D5. For instance, dietary uptake results in high φGMs for D4 and D5 (61.34 and 93.02%). Furthermore, the ADME-B calculator indicates that D4 and D5 BCF values are below B criteria (2864.6 ± 1112.1 (SE); 2289.6  532.5 (SE)). Results are consistent with measured environmental concentrations that show biodilution.

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

Citizen perceptions of electric vehicle policy in Canada: Examining awareness, support, trust, and regional differences

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-10-16
Abstract: 

This study examines citizens’ perceptions of five policies aimed at increasing electric vehicle (EV) uptake (carbon tax, purchase incentive and three regulations) and explores the role of citizen trust. Through a survey of Canadian citizens (n=1552), I assess: 1) awareness of EV policies, 2) support and opposition of policies, 3) trust in institutions (competence, integrity and value similarity), and 4) significant factors of support. I find that respondents are mostly unaware of EV policies, and are frequently confused about where policies are in place. Policy support varies considerably by policy type and stringency. The majority of respondents support incentives and most regulations, whereas support is considerably lower for a carbon tax. Regression analyses indicate that trust in the federal government’s competence is associated with support for all EV policies, whereas other forms of trust (integrity-based and value similarity), and trust in the provincial government, are not consistently significant.

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

Exploring the effectiveness of avalanche risk communication: A qualitative study of avalanche bulletin use among backcountry recreationists

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-09-26
Abstract: 

Warning backcountry recreationists about the risks from snow avalanches is a particularly challenging communication task due to the complexity of the phenomenon, the voluntary and repeated nature of the exposure, the diversity of recreational activities, the range in individual’s risk management skills, and the need for self-determined risk management decision-making in an environment with rare corrective feedback. To better understand the effectiveness of daily avalanche bulletins for improving recreationists’ safety in the backcountry, a research team conducted 46 semi-structured interviews with an inclusive sample of recreationists to shed light onto how travel decisions are made and how avalanche information is incorporated. The present study combines a qualitative applied thematic analysis with quantitative statistical techniques (topic models, simple correspondence analysis, and multinomial logistic regression) to detect, examine, and classify patterns in recreationists’ bulletin use into an Avalanche Bulletin User Typology. The resulting classification system establishes an evidence-based foundation for improving avalanche risk communication that offers actionable recommendations to enhance recreationists’ ability to conceptualize and manage avalanche risk with bulletin products.

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

How ENGOs in British Columbia navigate Indigenous rights and title: A look at the past and a present day case study

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-09-16
Abstract: 

The past decade across Turtle Island (North America) has seen a powerful overarching movement I will refer to as pipeline resistance. Environmental and Indigenous groups have been networking and volunteering vast resources to halt the development of oil pipelines that threaten Indigenous lands and waters—areas that Settlers care about too. Through a literature review, I look at how environmental activism, Indigenous rights and litigation have intersected over time—with a specific focus on British Columbia. I explore how environmental activists have treated Indigenous groups in the past and investigate if colonial courts have begun recognizing Indigenous rights more—giving Indigenous Peoples some legal ability to halt problematic projects. Since it has been implied by pipeline advocates that such ability is the only reason environmentalists have been trying to partner with Indigenous Nations in the anti-pipeline fight, my research investigates if these accusations have merit. To analyze how environmentalists navigate collaboration with Indigenous groups in the pipeline resistance movement, I surveyed 16 Settler employees of environmental groups (ENGOs) opposing the Trans Mountain pipeline project expansion (TMX) in BC. Survey participants were asked about their motives, perceptions, views on decolonization and ENGO protocols for engaging with local Indigenous communities. I also drew upon my own experience in the anti-pipeline movement. What I have found is that, while some organizations do attempt to partner with Indigenous groups in the anti-TMX movement for strategic reasons, the collaboration brought on by pipeline resistance appears to be teaching Settler activists about various Indigenous Nations, their rights and title, colonialism and more. This education appears to be far deeper than anything taught in schools and is perhaps fostering a heightened respect for Indigenous Peoples among Settler activists.

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

Paleoecological indicators and carbon dynamics in lake sediments in western Canada and potential implications for protected area carbon management in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-10-10
Abstract: 

Lake sediment from 18 lakes across western Canada was studied in regards to carbon accumulation rate over the last 150 years. Carbon (C) accumulation rate was found to be 3.8 times greater on average in the modern time period (1980-2010) when compared to the historical time period (1830-1860). The largest C accumulation rate change was found in the Boreal Plains ecozone. Maximum lake depth, lake geometry ratio, and temperature related climate variables (e.g., number of ice free days) were significantly correlated to C accumulation rate. There was not a statistically significant difference between lake C accumulation rate between protected and non-protected lakes. To better understand how climate controlled millennial forces of vegetation composition and fire related to carbon accumulation, paleo proxies of pollen and charcoal were investigated on two longer sediment cores in adjacent biogeoclimatic zones of the Kootenay Valley of British Columbia. Broad-scale climatic controls are interpreted as the major influence on high fire frequency and carbon accumulation rate in the dry and hot xerothermic period (11,500-8,000 cal. yrs BP). The Kootenay Valley is expected to return to xerothermic-like climate conditions within the next century. The conversation pertaining to how protected areas would manage for carbon in the future began with a workshop exploring how to frame carbon management. Experts were then interviewed and ecological integrity measures were determined to be the best place for carbon to act as either a co-benefit or as a separate ecological integrity measure. A survey of protected area manager perspectives on the importance of each ecological integrity measure to carbon management was created. Vegetation-related ecological integrity measures were found to have the most importance to co-benefit carbon management. Active management in protected areas should use paleo proxies to find reference biogeoclimatic zones and restoration efforts should focus on retaining carbon on the landscape through maintenance of vegetation-related ecological integrity measures like prescribed burning.

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

Breaking down barriers: Building a gender diverse mining workforce in the Columbia Basin-Boundary region

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-09-19
Abstract: 

In the Columbia Basin-Boundary region of British Columbia (BC), mining has historically been a male dominated sector. Resource communities, such as those found in the Columbia Basin-Boundary region, have traditionally lacked employment opportunities for women. Women choosing to pursue careers in the mining sector can face numerous challenges. This research focussed on ways to break down barriers and build a more gender diverse mining workforce in the Columbia Basin-Boundary region. It also investigated the opportunities available to women in rural resource communities and the challenges they faced if they wanted to work in the mining sector. The research methods included semi-structured interviews, a literature review, and a document analysis. Results showed that in the Kootenay region there may be a shift in mining company culture. More progressive policies and respectful workplace culture seem to be creating a more gender inclusive mining sector. The results also showed significant challenges associated with community supports for women who wanted to enter the Kootenay mining workforce. These community supports included the lack of child care spots, high rental and real estate prices, and the lack of opportunities for further education.

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)

Biodiversity-led green infrastructure in a changing climate

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-26
Abstract: 

The south coast region of British Columbia, and the neighboring Pacific Northwest US states, Oregon and Washington, are dominated by coastal, marine, freshwater, high alpine, and forest ecosystems. This rich biodiversity has significant social, environmental, and economic value, and includes a unique range of flora and fauna. Development of ecological networks at the regional scale is being globally advocated for as a strategy to responding to growing concern regarding the declining biodiversity while building resilience to climate change. The purpose of this report is to investigate the intersection of the global loss of biodiversity and climate change adaptation planning, and specifically answer the question; what is the best management practice for developing green infrastructure networks as a climate change response that also benefits biodiversity? The research is based on publications on green infrastructure and the growing body of work on advancing nature-based solutions to climate change; it was also guided by the expert opinion provided by an interdisciplinary panel with expertise in the field of green infrastructure. The report provides case-study analyses at various scales, the Yellowstone to Yukon initiative, Chicago Metropolitan area, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineering With Nature program. These case studies highlight ways of identifying and effectively communicating the benefits to biodiversity of green infrastructure implementation, when using an ecosystem and biodiversity perspective. The findings from this study are synthesized into five broad recommendations for governments in the Pacific Northwest region, particularly highlighting the benefits to be achieved through interdisciplinary engagement and coordinated policy-formulation among various governmental agencies.

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)

Bioaccumulation of PCBs in Southern Resident Killer Whales in the Salish Sea

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-14
Abstract: 

Chemical contaminants are a threat to Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW). The contribution of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in local sediments to the bioaccumulation of PCBs in SRKW was investigated. The temporal and spatial trends of concentrations of PCBs in sediment, Chinook salmon and SRKW were assessed. The half – lives of PCBs were estimated using a food web bioaccumulation model and the concentrations of PCBs in Chinook salmon and SRKW were estimated using Biota Sediment Accumulation Factors. There were no significant temporal declines in the concentrations of PCBs in sediment, Chinook salmon or SRKW as would be expected given the half – lives. The concentrations of PCBs in sediment could bioaccumulate to the levels observed in SRKW. Some similarities in the PCB congener composition were observed in sediment, salmon and SRKW. The results suggest that local environmental sources of PCBs in the Salish Sea could contribute to the PCBs observed in SRKW.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Frank Gobas
Juan José Alava
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M.

Comparing costs of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Carbon Tax for decarbonizing the Canadian transportation sector

Date created: 
2019-07-26
Abstract: 

Economists agree that a uniform, economy-wide carbon tax is the lowest cost policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There is less agreement on the comparative cost of the most likely efficient regulatory alternative to the carbon tax, that being the low carbon fuel standard (LCFS). This study used the energy-economy-environment model gTech to compare the economic efficiency of the carbon tax and LCFS to decarbonize the Canadian transportation sector. My results suggest the economic efficiency of a carbon tax is about 25% better than the LCFS and that a carbon tax would need to rise to $198/tonne CO2 eq. by 2050 for Canada to achieve a 65% reduction in transportation emissions from 2005 levels by 2050. Considering the likely political difficulty in implementing a high carbon price, a flexible regulation approach might offer an alternative that is slightly less economically efficient but may have a better chance of being implemented.

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.

Quantitative examination of terrain perception and its effect on ski run choices in expert heli-ski guides

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-12
Abstract: 

Terrain selection is the primary tool for managing avalanche risk during backcountry travel. While some research has examined revealed preferences in professional ski guides to better understand terrain-use choices, the exclusive focus on physical terrain characteristics pertaining to avalanche hazard has offered an incomplete perspective. I present a new framework that comprehensively captures all decision- relevant terrain characteristics and links these features to decision-making in heli-ski guides. Using survey data from two operations, I employed ordinal logistic regression models to quantitatively describe the relationship between specific terrain features and guide perceptions of accessibility, skiing experience, hazard potential, and “guideability.” A Poisson regression model linking these perceptions to terrain use at one operation clearly illustrates how guide decisions are trade-offs between hazards and operational benefits. The framework provides researchers interested in terrain preferences with a structured approach to describe terrain more completely, and it offers practical benefits to heli-ski operations and guides.

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