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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Reclamation in the Highland Valley : the classification of disturbed areas for evaluation and planning Lloyd, Cecilia Jane


The Highland Valley has the greatest concentration of open-pit hardrock mines in Western Canada. It is anticipated that the reclamation of 8,000 ha of disturbed land will eventually be necessary. This study was undertaken to evaluate existing reclamation methods and objectives and to predict the effects of reclamation upon land-use in the area. Physical characteristics of disturbed materials and the effect of aspect on moisture conditions in disturbed materials were investigated. Natural vegetation, natural revegetation and land-use were surveyed. Reclamation trials were assessed. Disturbed materials differed significantly in texture. Aspect did not affect moisture conditions in disturbed materials but sites exposed to wind were significantly drier than sheltered sites. The factors texture, exposure, topography and elevation were used to classify disturbed areas into 13 reclamation site-types. Each reclamation site-type had characteristic reclamation requirements. Existing and anticipated reclamation site-types were delineated on maps. Information acquired from surveys and from assessment of reclamation trials and results of reclamation research in other regions were used to propose suitable reclamation techniques and land-use objectives for each reclamation site-type. A plan of the predicted land-use of the Highland Valley resulting from adoption of these techniques and objectives was compiled. Methods of reclaiming two of the reclamation site-types have been developed in the Highland Valley but reclamation trials have not been located in the disturbed areas which present more difficult conditions for plant establishment and growth. Future research should be directed towards solving the problems caused by steep slopes, exposure and the peculiar characteristics of tailings. The potential impact of reclamation on land-use is large. The amount of rangeland in the Highland Valley could be increased by 4400 ha. An over-abundance of wildlife may result from temporary increases in the amount of habitat available.

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