British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Developing an effective native tree and shrub planting program at Teck Coal Ltd.'s Elkview Operations Przeczek, John E.; PRYZM Environmental Ltd.; Teck Coal Ltd.


The “20 Year Conceptual Reclamation Plan” (Przeczek 2003) for Teck Coal Ltd., Elkview Operations provides direction for promoting a range of habitats that will support a range of wildlife species over time. Creating these habitats requires consistently successful revegetation treatments including the establishment of native trees and shrubs. Tree and shrub establishment is critical to meeting target biological diversity objectives for species, spatial distribution and vertical structure set for the reclaimed environment at the mine. Successful implementation of planting programs requires optimizing seedling quality and carefully managing any situations that can negatively impact seedling physiology. Starting in 2008, Elkview Operations has made a concerted effort to identify and control as many of the links in the “reclamation chain” as possible. We have specifically focussed on: 1. Appropriate species selection; 2. High quality seed collection; 3. High quality planting stock (regular communication with nursery staff); 4. Effective site preparation; 5. High quality planting (close communication with tree planters); 6. Rigorous seedling handling procedures from the cold storage facility to the planting hole; 7. Planting as early in the spring as possible; 8. Fertilization at the time of planting; and, 9. Monitoring success through formal survival plots and regular walk-through assessments of past plantations to inform adaptive management programs. Plantation success has improved from 2008 – 2013 so that we are now comfortable prescribing the establishment of specific tree and shrub species plant communities. We currently focus on creating eight broad plant community types. Our program has expanded to include 4 coniferous tree species, 3 deciduous tree species, and 13 shrub species. We will continue to expand the list of species, minimize seedling physiological stress, and monitor success to ensure that the mosaic of planted vegetation types, in combination with areas seeded with agronomic grasses and legumes, will promote site level biological diversity objectives.

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