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Some interesting information on the new Peatland Reclamation Criteria!

- General

The Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC) Resource Access & Ecological Issues Forum was held on November 23rd, 2015 in Calgary Alberta.  Some interesting data was reported during the Forum related to the Alberta Governments newly released:  Reclamation Criteria for Wellsites and Associated Facilities for Peatlands  (http://aep.alberta.ca/lands-forests/land-industrial/programs-and-services/reclamation-and-remediation/upstream-oil-and-gas-reclamation-and-remediation-program/documents/ReclamationCriteriaPeatlands-Oct2015.pdf)

Researchers at the NAIT Boreal Research Institute used a restored wellsite in the Peace River region to assess the new Peatland Reclamation Criteria.  The wellsite was originally padded over a deep organic soil during construction activities.  During the reclamation activities performed by NAIT the peatland was restored using 4 different treatments involving complete pad removal and partial pad removal.  Following the pad treatment peat donor material was harvested from adjacent lands and transferred for the re-vegetation of the wellsite.  A technical note on donor material harvesting and transfer was created by NAIT in 2012:  http://www.nait.ca/docs/1_Donor_Site_Harvesting_and_Moss_Transfer.pdf

Three years post-donor transfer (2015) the wellsite was assessed for reclamation success using the new Peatland Reclamation Criteria (link above).  The wellsite reclamation was a success and passed the new Criteria! 

In their assessment of the new Reclamation Criteria, the NAIT Boreal Research Institute discussed some of the challenges working with the new Criteria and offered suggestions for improvement and clarity going forward.  A couple key suggestions were:

  •          Improve the chemistry assessment component of the reclamation criteria for EC/pH & provide some clarity and guidance on the methodology. 
  •          1 m2 quadrants for the bryophyte canopy cover, and 10 m2 grid for the vascular plant plots may be functionally too large.

Additionally, one of the upcoming challenges with successfully implementing the new Peatland Reclamation Criteria will be the assessors knowledge of bryophyte identification.  Solstice is very pleased to have several experienced Byrophyte and Carex specialists on staff to support our clients peatland reclamation efforts.

For details on the research objectives conducted by the NAIT Boreal Research Institute on the new Peatland Reclamation Criteria:  http://auprf.ptac.org/ecological-2/assessing-peatland-restoration-success-to-meet-albertas-peatland-reclamation-criteria/

Michelle Cotton, BSc, PAg

President / Sr. Environmental Scientist

Solstice Canada Corp.

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