The Landscape Design Subgroup – a technical subgroup under Cumulative Environmental Management Association’s (CEMA) Reclamation Working Group (RWG) – created the Landscape Design Checklist. The checklist is a concise and comprehensive checklist of design objectives for creation (design, construction, reclamation, and maintenance) of landforms and landscapes in the Athabasca oil sands region.
It is our intention that this checklist provides the overall framework for design and assessment of all reclaimed landscapes and landforms in the region. Multidisciplinary landscape design teams (specialists in geotechnical engineering, mine planning, surface and groundwater hydrology, geology, soils, vegetation, wildlife and traditional environmental knowledge) will use their skills and professional judgement to satisfy the design items in the checklist with due diligence.
To develop the checklist, subgroup members considered all kinds of oil sands mining landforms as identified in the Virtual Mine and the many issues and desired performances. The checklist was improved through a formal review process through 2003.
By way of definition, landforms are typically at the one to ten kilometre scale and include things like overburden dumps, tailings dykes and settling basins, lakes, wetlands, and rivers. Landscapes are at the ten to 100 kilometre scale. They include all that one can see from a particular vantage point, are typically thought of as oil sand leases and adjacent areas, typically consist of ten to twenty landforms and are usually designed through the closure planning process.
The oil sands region is at the 100 kilometre scale and contains all the oil sand leases (and disturbed landscapes) and their cumulative effects. This checklist is primarily aimed at the landform scale but has applicability at all three scales. It is primarily targeted at landforms yet to be constructed.