Feb 23, 2012
Fort McMurray, Alberta - The Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA) releases the 2011 annual report of the Reclamation Working Group (RWG). The RWG is CEMA’s largest working group and undertook $2.7 million in oil sands reclamation research last year. The annual report describes the RWG and its Terrestrial and Aquatics sub-group activities, its terms of reference and budget. In 2011, the RWG significantly advanced its mandate with 56 projects initiated or completed while advancing knowledge in the following:
- Establishing forest vegetation, riparian, wetland and aquatic habitats, and biodiversity in reclamation areas;
- Defining best management practices for conservation of reclamation materials in the mineable oil sands region;
- Establishing end pit lakes;
- Evaluating monitoring protocols to develop recommendations for assessing reclamation areas; and
- Developing a reclamation criteria and indicators framework for reclamation certification.
“The RWG prides itself on producing a comprehensive annual report on our projects over the year and this is the 5th annual report that we have delivered,” stated Tanya Richens, RWG Co-Chair. “The work that the RWG does is very important to how the oil sands mines plan and operate during initial construction through to final reclamation. The guidance documents that RWG has developed related to reclamation material salvage and placement, revegetation, and wetlands have been well received by the regulators and they play a key role in the return of a self-sustaining, locally common boreal forest after development."
In 2011, RWG completed the Best Management Practices for Conservation of Reclamation Materials in the Mineable Oil Sands Region of Alberta, the Alberta Regeneration Standards for the Mineable Oil Sands: Data Collection Field Protocols, and the Ecosite Area Summary Table. These were forwarded to provincial regulators as recommendations and accepted by the Government of Alberta.
The mandate of the Reclamation Working Group (RWG) is to produce and maintain guidance documents that provide recommendations and best practices to ensure that reclaimed landscapes within the Athabasca Oil Sands Region meet regulatory requirements, satisfy the needs and values of stakeholders, and are environmentally sustainable.
CEMA is a multi-stakeholder society that is a key advisor to the provincial and federal governments committed to respectful, inclusive dialogue to make recommendations to manage the cumulative environmental effects of regional development on air, land, water and biodiversity.
For a copy of the RWG annual report please visit www.cemaonline.ca