Aboriginal Environment Commitment

A unique partnership between Syncrude and the Fort McKay First Nation, the Beaver Creek Wood Bison Ranch celebrates 25 years of operation in 2018.

Environment and Consultation

Syncrude operates on the traditional lands of five First Nations. Since our earliest days, we have, where possible, accommodated the interests of the local First Nations and Métis Locals. We endeavour to earn support through relationship building and formal agreements that are aligned with our mutual interests, mitigate concerns, provide benefit to affected communities, and are in accord with Canadian law.

Our engagement with those affected by our operations is ongoing, and in specific cases is also triggered by regulatory applications that fall under the following laws and for which Syncrude may have a delegated duty to consult as directed by the government:

  • Oil Sands Conservation Act;
  • Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, including Closure and Reclamation Plan renewals;
  • Alberta Water Act;
  • Federal government approvals or amendments (e.g.: Fisheries Act or Canadian Environmental Assessment Act); and
  • Licenses or permits that fall outside of existing Mineral Surface Leases (e.g.: winter exploratory drilling programs).

At the same time, we recognize Indigenous people are important stakeholders regarding our environmental commitments and we work with them on such matters as end-land use, air quality and major project plans.

Beaver Creek Wood Bison Ranch

In 1993, Syncrude introduced a herd of wood bison into a reclaimed area to assess the capability of the landscape to support large mammals such as ungulates. Today, approximately 300 wood bison graze on 300 hectares of land at the Beaver Creek Wood Bison Ranch. The herd is managed cooperatively with the Fort McKay First Nation.

The health of the animals is monitored through annual veterinarian examinations. Due to the herd’s excellent health and disease-free status, it has become part of a genetic preservation project headed by scientists from the Universities of Calgary and Saskatchewan, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Parks Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Calgary Zoo.

The herd continues to be recognized with livestock awards at regional and national competitions.