Diagram of the LEAP process

The LEAP Community

LEAP provides more than just a framework – it offers a community of like-minded companies interested in advancing environmental sustainability using sound methodologies. What began as a pilot program with the Oil Sands Leadership Initiative (OSLI) – now part of the larger group known as Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), has grown to include more areas and companies extending far beyond the oil sands.

Below are some examples of LEAP in action:

CASE STUDY 1: LEAP in Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance’s (COSIA) Algar Restoration Pilot Project

The Challenge

The six founding members of OSLI (Oil Sands Leadership Initiative) which are now part of the larger group known as COSIA, are working in an area slightly larger than Belgium which runs along the east side of the Athabasca River in Alberta between Cold Lake and Fort McMurray. They operate on public land and the citizens of Alberta own the oil sands resource. Land stewardship expectations are high – and the public’s expectations need to be met for these companies to maintain their social license to operate. With this imperative in mind, they are striving to make some big gains in environmental practices to:

  • Create innovative land stewardship tools and technologies
  • Address forest fragmentation
  • Protect ecological integrity
  • Reverse the decline of wildlife species of concern
  • Reduce our landscape footprint
  • Accelerate reclamation activities
Map of the restoration area

The Solution

An innovative, science-based instrument – LEAP (Landscape Ecological Assessment & Planning) – was developed. Using baseline land use and ecological data, LEAP applies geospatial modeling and optimization techniques to perform a number of functions:

  • Establish and compare the current and past forested ecological baseline condition
  • Develop and test landscape-level future ecological goals
  • Develop, analyze, and implement site-specific reclamation work plans
  • Provide insights as to how reclamation work undertaken today will contribute to the achievement of goals 5, 10, 20 and even 50 years into the future
  • Provide a platform for monitoring and visualizing future forest condition as the program develops
A map


The LEAP process for this project was designed, tested and operationally deployed. Future state scenarios were modeled to optimize reclamation efforts resulting in the establishment of a continuous field monitoring program to measure and report outcomes.

During the winters of 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015:

  • 340 km of seismic lines were treated
  • 161,700 trees were planted
  • Tree planting activities had up to a 95% survival rate
A seismic line
10 Years
A seismic line with recovering trees
50 Years
A seismic line with regrown trees

Next Steps

2014 Emerald Award Recipient

The results of using LEAP in this restoration project surpassed expectations. COSIA continues to push the boundaries and test innovative ideas to accomplish their goals. Most recently COSIA won a 2014 Emerald Award for their use of LEAP in this project.

CASE STUDY 2: LEAP in Northeast BC Shale Gas Leases

The Challenge

The producer is working in three separate shale gas basins located in Northeast British Columbia (NEBC) including the Horn River Basin which is one of the most prospective gas fields in North America. Each basin has its own unique landscape characteristics, from forest types to human footprint history and are home to different wildlife species of concern including Woodland Caribou and Wood Bison. These operations occur on public land and land stewardship expectations are high. Our client is striving to develop the NEBC shale gas resource while minimizing their impact to the environment.

Map of the restoration area

The Solution

LEAP is being utilized to:

  • Manage cumulative effects across the landscape
  • Measure planned developments and restoration activities against thresholds set by the BC Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) and other agencies
A flow chart about modeling

To Date

Baseline ecological conditions have been established for the current and past condition for each operating basin. A detailed growth and yield analysis has been completed for the region and modeling is underway to analyze landscape change and test various development and restoration strategies. Data outputs from the analysis to-date are already being leveraged in the development planning process. The spatial information is being made available in their Surface Development Management System (SDMS) so that operations teams can plan resource development with up-to-date environmental information.

Next Steps

New development projects are now being analyzed for their potential impact on landscape indicators and thresholds. Work is underway in developing a tactical plan for restoration activities to offset planned development. Following the completion of a tactical plan, areas selected for treatment will undergo field verification and an operational plan will be developed and submitted to government for approval.

Talk to us today about how LEAP can fit into your plan for environmental sustainability.

Contact Us

For more information on LEAP or to explore how LEAP can fit into your plan for environmental sustainability, contact us today at 780-462-3238 or use the contact form below.