RRRC 1801 – Reclamation Practices on Upland and Peatland Well Sites

PTAC is seeking a project proposal to review current reclamation practices for well sites on upland forested locations and borrowed fill clay pads on peatlands.

Many leases have naturally re-established vegetation and minimum disturbance may be the best approach to obtain equivalent land use capability. This approach will take less effort and financial resources by leaving a portion, or the entire pad in place. However, further understanding is required to standardize specific targets for reclamation outcomes and reduce regulatory uncertainty under current acceptable practices that defines equivalent functional land use capability. Environmental consulting companies and industry are pre-emptively discussing strategies for these locations on a site by site basis. A review of current practices may help to evaluate whether management actions at individual sites are effective at developing a regional solution for site closure in defining what constitutes equivalent land use capability.

Project Scope
The intent of the project is to document the basis for the current industry practice, assess the feasibility of establishing equivalent ecosystem based on current science, and development of new guidelines or best management practices.

The objective of this project is to develop recommended guidelines, to define acceptable conditions for a reclamation certificate application without further disturbance. The guideline will aid in the understanding and provide guidance for streamlining site closure approvals. The final document will also supplement any provisions of the Reclamation Guidelines currently being developed.

The project will trigger discussion with industry and regulatory agencies for a new guidance document or best management practice. Establishment of consistent (and in some cases raised) expectations with clear and specific communication between companies and agencies is desirable. The outcome should be based on what is achievable in terms of best practice, as opposed to expectations required by the environmental regulator at that given time. Analysis of how to implement a new guidance document must be completed in consultation with PTAC and the respective government agencies.

The content of this proposal will provide ideas for initial actions and discussion points for milestones which should be done through a Staged approach as defined below. Project progress will be reviewed at the end of each Stage by the PTAC committee, which includes AEP and AER representatives.

Stage 1:

  • Review of current guidelines, literature, and case studies for potential benefits and impacts to land capability.
  • Develop a survey to be distributed amongst key industry, consultants, regulators and local forestry public land officers.
    • Survey Question Examples:
      • What information from the Forestry Inspectors is important in rendering site specific decisions?
      • How do you evaluate a functioning ecosystem? What assurances are required to assess or demonstrate that there is no adverse effect to a functioning ecosystem?
      • What would be useful as a case study basis to apply regionally, recognizing ease of work flow for a site specific basis?
      • What is the appropriate distance to constituent local study area or a buffer to evaluate land forms and a functional ecosystem?
      • What constitutes appropriate trajectory for the vegetation?
      • How should we manage transitional well sites?
  • Summarize the existing framework for accepted and rejected decisions to leave pads in place.

Stage 2:

  • Develop a small steering committee for on-site field assessments to explore site specific opportunities and limitations.
  • Call from industry with specific site case examples and inventory to conduct field tours.
  • Review of inventory to conduct field assessments. Consider cost savings to use past site reports, drones and UVA’s in lieu of site visits.
  • Determine site specific, local study, and regional factors that are most influential for the natural regeneration on well sites. (Note that construction practices are out of scope for this proposal but any outcomes may lead to recommended practices for construction.)
  • Identify trends to the soils and terrain that could lower the baseline land capability for forest ecosystems in an area:
    • Erosion due to water or wind
    • Drainage
    • Compaction and loss of structure of mineral soils
    • Loss of soil, or salvaged soil degradation
    • Contamination
    • Potential for loss of, or changes to, landforms (e.g., bog/fen)
    • Vegetation inventory and reclamation status
    • Terrain instability (e.g., cut and fill)
    • Associated disturbances (log decks, remote sumps, campsites, borrow sites, etc.)
  • Propose a realistic environmental program and cost considering the environmental sensitivities, concerns and opportunities identified during the on-site field assessments.

Stage 3:

  • Review in collaboration with a technical steering committee and PTAC.
  • Outline appropriate practices that are suitably targeted to applications within local study areas rather than applying practices universally to types of sites with mixed success.
  • Prepare final recommendations and outcome document.
  • Check list for the qualified professional (upland, consistent landforms, undulating topography, drainage, vegetation trajectory, soil surveys, and adequate woody debris).

It is anticipated that there will be ongoing informal communication with the PTAC and the technical steering committee throughout the project. The proposal should include components for each stage with milestones, the project schedule, proposed costs and relevant expertise of the research team.

RFP Schedule

July 23, 2018                   RFP issued
August 21, 2018              Deadline for submission to PTAC
September 10, 2018       Proposal selected by RRRC.

Selection Process
PTAC has formed a Steering Committee for this project composed of industry stakeholders with relevant expertise pertaining to cement integrity assessment. PTAC will facilitate Steering Committee proceedings but will not be a decision-maker.

All submitted proposals will be provided to the Steering Committee for review. The Steering Committee will determine if proposals meet the requirements herein and provide an overall ranking based on Contractor qualifications and on proposal quality. The Steering Committee will make the final decision.
Once a selection of the best proposal according to the Steering Committee has been made, all submission contacts will be notified by email of the regarding the outcome of their individual proposal. The project final report will be shared on the PTAC website upon completion of the project.

Contact Information
Proposals should be submitted online using the following form: http://auprf.ptac.org/2018-letter-of-intent-step-2/

Lorie Mayes
Tel.: 403-218-7707
Email: [email protected]

Tannis Such
Tel.: 403-218-7703
Email: [email protected]