Cretaceous Ammonite (Plancenticeras;
40cm in diameter)
Fossils as public
paleontological resources have been recognized
as important elements in the historical and scientific endowment of the
people. Many governments are developing regulatory processes to guard
against the willful or negligent destruction or theft of fossils. The
Historical Resources Act of
Sites and Cultural Facilities Branch
Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology
present government contact for paleontological
resource management at the
In areas where
there is the risk of resource loss the government regulations requires
that a paleontologist
a palaeontological collection
permit within the
The following construction activities often encounter fossiliferous material
Mining, Pipelines, Petroleum well drilling, Excavations – borrow pits and foundations, Road Construction and improvements
Dr. Edward H. Davies - a qualified professional paleontologist at Branta Biostratigraphy Ltd. - has been involved in paleontological management of construction activities since 1993. His educational background in a Ph.D in Geology from the University of Toronto graduating in 1979. He has worked for oil exploration companies and has been a palaeontological research scientist for the Geological Survey of Canada for five years. Over the 24 years of post-doctoral work of which 14 years have been in biostratigraphic consulting services. He is a member of Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta.
The paleontologist can conduct in a number of duties which can expedite the construction process:
1. Paleontological Resource Overviews
2. Paleontological Resource Impact Assessments
3. Paleontological Resource Monitoring
4. Paleontological Resource Mitigation
5. Paleontological Resource Curation and Reporting
Prior to the submission of the construction permit application a paleontological overview of the potential impact on the paleontological resources can be made by the professional paleontologist. This process is being encouraged by the government as a proactive measure to ensure the design of the project is compatible with paleontological preservation and minimize potential delays in permit approval and construction. This activity has become quite popular with companies who cannot afford to have their development progress hindered by external events. Often this requires just the search on the paleontological site database and a quick review of existing paleontological literature, photographs and maps.
Paleontological Resource Impact Assessments (PRIA) Upon the review of an application for a construction permit Alberta Culture, Paleontological Resource Management may require a PRIA be performed before the development will be approved. The regulations require that a professional paleontologist review of existing paleontological literature, photographs and maps and examine the site.
The objectives of the assessments are:
As of August 1, 2002, an approved Mitigative Palaeontological Excavation Permit, must be issued by Alberta Community Development in order to perform the required field activities. A full report with maps and photographs of fossils and localities, assessments and mitigative recommendations is to be submitted to the government. This process may take several weeks for approval for construction.
Upon review of the PRIA Paleontological Resource Management of Alberta Community Development may require monitoring of the construction was performed to minimize impact to the fossils in sensitive areas in order to preserve and stabilize the palaeontological resources. The duties of the monitoring paleontologist are to minimize this impact through the conservation of the known palaeontological sites, the identification of new sites, the salvage of potentially lost fossils and the mediation of the construction company and the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in compliance with Section 33(2) of the Historical Resources Act and any specific requirements set out in the Historical Resources Impact Statementprior to construction approval by Alberta Community Development, Cultural Facilities and Historical Resources Division. As of August 1, 2002, an approved Mitigative Palaeontological Excavation Permit, must be issued by Alberta Community Development in order to perform the required field activities.
The objectives of palaeontological monitoring are:
All significant paleontological discoveries are to be reported to Resource Management immediately, the impacting construction should cease until permission is granted or approved mitigative steps are taken. Upon completion of the construction activity a report with maps and photographs of any palaeontological resources encountered and localities, assessments and recommendations is to be submitted to the government. Any recovered fossils must be identified, catalogued and submitted to the Tyrrell Museum for curation.
Paleontological Resource Mitigation In the event that significant paleontological forms are discovered Alberta Culture may require the fossils to be rescued and salvaged. Depending upon the significance of the discovery this may be performed by the qualified paleontologist or by the staff of the Tyrrell Museum. The construction may either cease in the area of the discovery or be modified as to minimize the impact of the palaeontological resource. In order to perform these field activities it is required, as of August 1, 2002 that a Mitigative Palaeontological Excavation Permit be approved by Alberta Community Development.
All fossils collected must be identified, photographed, catalogued and submitted to the Tyrrell Museum for curation subsequent to the construction program. Fossils are collected for two principal reasons:
Immediate collection of fossils are confined to specimens which were dislodged or at the surface and subject to weathering or destruction by the construction machinery. All significant fossils are referred to Resource Management staff at the Tyrrell Museum. The following Methodology of cataloguing and curation:
Each collection is labelled individually. Each collection is placed one or more boxes. For each site a RTMP locality sheet was filled out. For each collection a RTMP Specimen Data Sheet is filled out giving the pertinent data including the primary fossil species. All fossils are conserved at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. A dual digital camcorder/camera is utilized to take video and still photographs of the construction progress, paleontological sites and recovered fossils. Photographic montage may be made illustrating the general location on the roadcut exposure, a close up of the stratigraphic location and/or a selection of fossils found at the site. A representative photo was taken for each collection box of fossils. A detailed daily log is kept is kept on the progression of the construction and the presence of paleontological resources.
Alberta Culture Historical Resources Division
1982 PALAEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCES REGULATIONS, Historical Resources Act A.P.A.C. Chairman , Assistant Deputy Minister Alberta Culture ALBERTA REGULATION 77/82 Form C, The Queen's Printer for Alberta, (http://www.qp.gov.ab.ca/Documents/REGS/1982_077.CFM.
- Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology
© Branta Biostratigraphy Ltd.