Table 2.

Summary of baseline vegetation cover within the development (DA) or local study areas (LSA) of mines with approval to operate granted by March, 2011

Horizon mineMildred Lake and expansionSuncor BasemineMuskeg and expansionJackpine mine– phase 1Kearl mineSuncor Steepbank and Millenium minesFort Hills mineAurora North mine
Unitsha in LSAha in LSAha in LSAha in LSAha in DAha in LSAha in DAha in DAha in LSA
Terrestrial vegetation17,04014,66216,7452,7754,40815,4162,8063,35017,733
Riparian communities2,60070801,2161,4347,8041001,012199
Graminoid marsh31800365231196435
Shallow open water3321756161214280249
Wetlands subtotal8,6052,75316,8744,3881,97917,8336,5491,76920,597
Lakes and rivers26717561431,35956100580
Disturbed land1,8749091,3005,2703820604191,197
% wetland311548352552703251
% terrestrial617948225745306044
  • The west bank is typically drier and supports more upland habitat relative to the east bank, which supports more wetland habitat. As a part of their environmental impact assessments (EIAs), mine operators designate DAs, which represent the footprint of all facilities directly associated with mining, i.e., mine pits, tailings storage, bitumen recovery plants, etc., and LSAs, which include both the DA and a buffer around the DA that is intended to accommodate any potential indirect effects of the proposed development. Baseline conditions are typically presented for either the DA or LSA, but not for both. The vegetation cover values were obtained through a review of baseline studies in EIAs and the most recently updated reclamation, conservation, and closure plans (see SI Text for references).