Alberta Oil Sands Monitoring Program

As we commence this program to support water quality monitoring for Indigenous communities in the oil sands regions, it is essential to recognize that the lands we are working on are Treaty 6 and 8 Territory. These are the traditional and ancestral lands that have been cared for by the Cree, Dene, Blackfoot, Saulteaux and Nakota Sioux First Nations of both past and present. We acknowledge that these lands are home to the Métis Settlements and Métis Territories of Lesser Slave Lake, Lower Athabasca and North Saskatchewan River. We express our gratitude to the traditional Knowledge Keepers and Elders, both who are still with us today and those who have gone before us. We make this acknowledgement as a gesture of respect and a sincere commitment to fostering strong partnerships with the communities on whose territories we live and visit. ALMS is dedicated to supporting First Nation and Métis communities in achieving their water monitoring objectives.



What is the Oil Sands Monitoring Program?

The Oil Sands Monitoring (OSM) Program was an initiative established in 2012, that was led by both the Alberta provincial and federal governments to work alongside the oil sands industries, to monitor and assess cumulative impacts oil sands development has on Alberta’s northern boreal habitat. This program involves environmental data collection and assessment through multiple partners and stakeholders from industry, NGO’s, regulators and Indigenous communities.

What is the Indigenous Community Based Monitoring Program?

The Indigenous Community-Based Monitoring (ICBM) Program is funded through the Oil Sands Monitoring Program, and was designed to encourage and support Indigenous led environmental monitoring projects within the oil sands regions of Alberta. Through this program, ALMS will focus on providing training, monitoring equipment, sample processing and technical advice for water quality sampling on lakes chosen by the participating communities.

If a community is interested in joining the program, a work plan must be submitted and will be reviewed by the OSM Governance Committees. The plan will describe key components the proposed project will address, such as actions towards environmental protection and conservation, opportunities for outreach and community engagement, a budget estimate and a data management plan to store and share data collected.

Field Equipment:

Participating communities in the ICBM Program will be provided with the following sampling equipment:

  • A YSI ProSolo probe
  • Nutrient sample bottles
  • Microcystin sample bottle
  • Isotopes sample bottle
  • Routine chemistry sample bottle
  • Metals sample bottle
  • Mercury sample bottle(s)
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) sample bottle(s)
  • Chlorophyll-a sample bottle
  • Chlorophyll-a filtering kit
  • Field sheets
  • Instruction guide
  • Sampling gloves
  • Sample preservatives
  • Tape and Weight
  • Hot water bottle
  • Secchi disk

Shipping Information:

Samples are delivered back to the Alberta Lake Management Society office in Edmonton for analysis and reporting. Samples may be shipped to the office, or hand delivered. Below is a list of available couriers (not limited to though) participating communities can use to ship samples back to our office:


It is important to keep samples cold with ice packs and to tape the coolers shut when shipping back to the office. Our shipping address is 4816 89 St, Edmonton, AB, T6E 5K1.

Data Reporting:


The 2023 summer sampling season has wrapped up! Winter sampling will run through December-March:

Additional Resources for Communities:

INSTRUCTION GUIDE: Communities can find the Winter Sampling Manual here, in order to review and understand the sampling protocol.

SUMMER FIELD SHEETS: Participants can print additional field sheets if needed, but they will also be provided in the sampling kits.
WINTER FIELD SHEETS: Participants can print additional field sheets if needed, but they will also be provided in the sampling kits.

SECCHI DISK TUTORIAL: In 2022, the Pigeon Lake Watershed Association collaborated with ALMS to develop a training video on how to measure secchi depth on a lake.

ALMS BOAT SAFETY GEAR LIST: A lot of this gear is optional but highly recommended to have on your vessel. Please contact ALMS if your community would like us to order any additional gear.

ALMS ICE SAFETY GEAR LIST: This is some common gear ALMS uses when going onto the ice. Please contact ALMS if your community would like us to order any additional gear.
ALMS ICE SAFETY GUIDE: Participants are welcome to review some ice safety steps but not required.
PRESERVATIVE MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEETS (MSDS): This file contains the MSDS information for the preservatives used for the G2-preserved bottle (sulfuric acid) and the metals (nitric acid)

Training Videos:

Nov 1st, 2023: OSM ICBM 2023/2024 Winter Lake Training Webinar

On May 24th, 2023 ALMS hosted an ICBM Summer Information Session! The session reviews some additional sampling protocol for summer and additional shipping logistics. If you were unable to attend or would like to watch the presentation again, click on the link below:

On November 28th, 2022 ALMS hosted the first ICBM Winter Information Session! The session did a review of operating field equipment, calibration protocol, sampling on the lake, chlorophyll-a filtering procedure and shipping logistics in order to prepare for the 2022-2023 winter monitoring season. If you were unable to attend or would like to watch the presentation again, click on this link:

YSI Pro Solo:

More information about the YSI Pro Solo probe can be found here.

GPS Guide:

Need help finding your GPS coordinates? Follow these directions:

  • Go to https://www.google.com/maps
  • Search your lake’s name, or drag the map to find your lake.
  • Using your mouse, right click on the location of the lake where you collected your sample.
  • Choose “What’s Here?”
  • The GPS coordinates will appear at the bottom of your screen in the format of 55.217876, -113.252806.
  • You can record these coordinates on your field sheet.

If you still need assistance – please phone ALMS for help at 780-702-2567 or email kurstyn.cappis@alms.ca.

The Indigenous Community-Based Monitoring Program is supported with funding from:

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