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Allen Curry will direct a team from the Canadian Rivers Institute at the University of New Brunswick to study baseline water conditions in areas of New Brunswick where shale gas development would likely take place. (University of New Brunswick)

The New Brunswick Energy Institute has selected the Canadian Rivers Institute to study surface water conditions in areas of New Brunswick with the highest potential for shale gas development.

"This baseline information will improve our ability to assess potential changes to surface water during or after development and it will address some important questions New Brunswickers have about shale gas exploration," said David Besner, institute chair.

The research team will also map inflows of groundwater to streams and develop and test methods to monitor potential contaminants, such as methane, said a release.

The study will cost approximately $350,000.

"It’s the second study award CRI has received from NBEI and confirms that New Brunswick is home to some of the most qualified scientists in Canada when it comes to understanding potential impacts of natural 
resource development on our waters," said Dr. Allen Curry, the lead researcher on the CRI team.

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Potential contaminants of shale gas development include methane. (CBC)

Three members of the energy institute recused themselves from choosing the research team because of their affiliation with the University of New Brunswick, where CRI is located, said Besner.

The research will begin next month, with most of the field study to be done in 2015 and results to be published in 2016, according to the energy institute release.

Scientists on the research team include Allen Curry, Kerry MacQuarrie, Wendy Monk, David Armanini and Olivier Clarisse.

They will be joined by UNB and First Nations students.

Meanwhile, the energy institute has announced three new members.

David Besner

David Besner, chair of the New Brunswick Energy Institute, said the study will address important questions New Brunswickers have about shale gas exploration. (Radio-Canada)

Jatin Nathwani and Stephen Tomblin will join its panel of research fellows.

Nathwani holds the Ontario Research Chair in Public Policy for Sustainable Energy Management, established by the Ontario Council of Universities, as well as a long list of professional accomplishments in the field of cleaner energy solutions.

He is a Professor in the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Environment at the University of 
Waterloo and Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy.

Tomblin, of Memorial University of Newfoundland's political science department, has published widely on the issue of regional integration and taken part in various collaborative and interdisciplinary research projects. 

He has been a frequent media contributor and produced discussion papers for the Romanow Commission and the 
Newfoundland and Labrador Royal Commission on Renewing and Strengthening Our Place in 
Canada. 

Environmental economist and forestry scientist Van Lantz will become a member of the institute's scientific advisory council.

Lantz is acting dean of forestry and environmental management at UNB.

He holds a BA in Economics from Carleton University, an MA in Economics from Dalhousie University and a PhD in Economics, specialized in Environmental Economics, from Simon Fraser University. 

He joined the UNB faculty in 2000 and now holds joint appointment with the Faculty of Forestry & Environmental Management and Department of Economics, as well as a position as Adjunct 
Professor, Faculty of Forestry at the University of Toronto, in addition to his role as Acting Dean.