British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Guidance for reclamation planning to achieve multiple end land uses Piorecky, Melanie; Murphy, Stephanie; Straker, Justin


In the Athabasca oil sands region, large open-pit mining operations require reclamation to restore the landscape. Oil sand mine operators responsible for reclamation use a revegetation guidance manual, Guidelines for Reclamation to Forest Vegetation in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, 2nd Edition (the revegetation manual) (Alberta Environment 2010), which is a guidance document that is both a technical document and a planning tool. Operators use the revegetation manual in the development of revegetation plans for reclamation of terrestrial ecosystems, and are required to use the revegetation manual under their Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) approvals. Associated Environmental Consultants along with Integral Ecology Group worked with the Terrestrial Subgroup (TSG) of the Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA) to revise the revegetation manual in preparation for its third update in 2017. Our input focussed on techniques to establish upland forest ecosystems to support multiple end land uses, specifically commercial forestry, wildlife habitat, aboriginal traditional use, and recreation. The approach to changes to the guidance document involved multi-stakeholder collaboration and in the end it provided guidance on working with indigenous communities in reclamation planning. Recommended changes to the manual include: 1) alternative decision-flow charts to guide reclamation planning, and 2) detailed checklists to provide guidance and a way of tracking reclamation inputs towards specific end land uses.

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