Frequently Asked Questions - Incorporating ABA in planning and applications

A comprehensive section on ABA is on the Commission’s website. The Commission has endeavored to provide all the documentation required to incorporate ABA in applications. We expect that the materials on this website will answer any questions or concerns. If you are unable to find the answer in the material available:

  • For comments/questions on the overall ABA program design and direction, next steps, permit conditions, planning considerations, and overall management please send an email to
  • For comments or questions about the data used, key assumptions, assessment methodology, discrepancies between the mapped data and field conditions, data errors, please send an email to

To make the most effective applications and avoid delays or returns, Industry should include ABA as an integral part of planning an oil or gas activity. ABA is about planning  oil and gas activities in a way that minimizes the footprint of activities, and reduces restoration / reclamation timeframes on environmental values.

  1. Review ABA Website
  2. Review the FAQs available on the ABA Website.
  3. Download the ABA Riparian Habitat dataset for use in development planning
  4. Download the ABA Old Forest dataset for use in development planning
  5. During the development planning process consider:
    • What is the current condition and status of Riparian Habitat in the development area?
    • What is the current condition and status of Old Forest in the development area?
    • How can I plan the activity to avoid Old Forest & Riparian Habitat?
  6. ​What can I do to minimize disturbance?
    • Use existing disturbance, unless doing so would result in a greater disturbance, greater safety risk, significant operational difficulty and/or negative environmental impacts
    • Consider low impact seismic techniques such as wireless technology and meandering lines
    • Use common access and shared corridors
    • Consider using winter access in old forest and riparian reserve zones
    • Leverage use of directional drilling and multiwell pads to minimize disturbance
    • Place auxiliary disturbance outside sensitive areas
    • Minimize new land disturbance
    • Implement strategies that will expedite reclamation
  7. During the development planning process review existing disturbance on the landscape and use this where possible to minimize impact on the ABA values 

Where ABA indicates that the condition of the riparian and old forest value do not exceed any triggers, existing regulatory requirements and associated guidance need be considered in relation to these values.

Where a trigger has been exceeded, the considerations identified above will be expected of industry as they prepare applications for submission, and additional permit and authorization conditions may be included to reduce the proposed impact.

As well, the Commission is actively:

  • Reviewing key data and assumptions in conjunction with the Ministry of Forests and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO), Specifically the two organizations are working together to:
    • Determine, for each type of disturbance, the relevance and impact of ecological succession, re-vegetation, reclamation, restoration and forest management on the riparian and old forest values
    • Establish a collaborative field program to understand the accuracy of the inventory and GIS-based assumptions relative to field conditions
  • Reviewing the existing plans (LRMP’s & SRMP’s) for additional guidance supporting the refinement of triggers
  • Reviewing the policy process that helped create the triggers

If the results are material, ABA will be re-run, if not the results will stand as-is.

  • Planning and Operational Measures (POMs) clarifies the Commissions expectations, and allows for a consistent review process for all applicants, POMS also reduce the requirements for a mitigation strategies, except in areas of escalated environmental concern. The EPMG provides guidance on interpretation of the EPMR. With the implementation of POMs the Commission has gone one step further by clarifying planning and operational expectations for oil and gas activities in areas of environmental value.
  • The POMs are provided to both applicants and Decision Makers. This provides for consistency in the review process and common understanding of objectives and expected actions for oil and gas activities. In areas under order with ABA Status normal, applications meeting the POMs negates the previous requirements for a Mitigation Strategy.