Removing the Wellsite Footprint, Phase II: Wetland Reclamation

Terry Osko, University of Alberta
GL 13-AU-ERPC-06

Our work is a collaborative research program addressing construction and reclamation of wellsites and associated facilities in boreal Alberta. We are presently engaged in Phase II of our program, which focuses on facilities constructed in wetlands. Reclamation in wetlands is an emerging issue and little research has been completed to support regulatory guidelines. Improved construction methods can reduce future reclamation needs. Proactive research by industry will ensure regulatory guidelines are based on sound knowledge and will facilitate collaboration with regulators in implementing effective practices.

We have previously completed an investigation and compilation of present knowledge regarding wetland reclamation, including past, presently ongoing, and anticipated research. We have also identified and prioritized gaps in this knowledge and have implemented a research program to address these gaps and accelerate the development and use of construction and reclamation practices leading to restoration of wetland ecosystem function. The major gaps identified were classified into the following categories:

Practical techniques for construction and restoration of roads and well pads, effects analysis and documentation to more clearly define the hydrologic and ecologic effects of roads and pads so that construction and reclamation practices are more effective at minimizing these impacts, landscape assessment and planning that addresses issues of cumulative effects and how to manage for them. In addition, such an assessment should be used to set landscape-scale goals and to tailor individual construction or reclamation projects to a broader landscape picture rather than having uniform targets for all individual projects.

Policy Issue
Reclamation, Habitat Restoration

Knowledge Gap
Reclamation effectiveness of wetlands following a range of disturbance types.

Reports

Report- Jacos Road 2012 report

2009 Presentation

Best Practice Documents

2016 Revegetation Strategies and Ecohydrologic Considerations for Well Pad and Road Reclamation in Fen Peatland

Published papers

2015 Ecohydrology paper