Mounding of Seismic lines at Evergreen Centre

December 5, 2018

Background

In 2017, the Canadian Forest Service initiated efforts to conduct research with the objective of improving critical caribou habitat. To that end, a call for proposals was initiated and resulted in the funding of several projects that look at ways to increase critical habitat and therefore support caribou populations.

One of the proposals did not focus on new research, but rather on sharing existing best practices in restoration techniques to improve critical caribou habitat. This project, which aimed to the development of an online database of best practices and the establishment of demonstration sites in Northern Alberta to be monitored over time, received full funding. In addition to the aforementioned project components, additional funding was obtained through Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) to create virtual tours.

Proposed Study

In order to contribute to decreasing costs and improving restoration techniques, we will assess the success rate of mounds of two different sizes, established in both frozen and un-frozen conditions (if enough lines are available. A previous COSIA – funded study also looked at unfrozen conditions, need to find study to ensure we don’t duplicate. We aim to evaluate growth and survival of planted and naturally regenerated tree seedlings. As smaller mounds can be applied more quickly and with lighter equipment, there is a potential benefit in decreasing costs and starting restoration work before grounds are frozen; however, knowledge about the effectiveness of these smaller mounds in enhancing regeneration and seedling survival, as well as biodiversity responses, is scarce.

The key purpose of this study is to determine ideal mound size that supports either natural or artificial regeneration, while looking at timing, costs and speed of application. In addition, we propose to evaluate biodiversity (vascular and non vascular plants, and ground invertebrates) responses to mound size and timing in relation to undisturbed adjacent forests to assess recovery trajectories and potential restoration success.

Some key experimental questions that we propose to explore with this study are:

  • What is the planted tree growth response to alternative mound size;
  • What are the patterns and growth rate of volunteer ingress in response to mounding;
  • What are the changes in element fate in response to mounding;
  • Can smaller equipment be used in unfrozen conditions.
  • What are the responses in species composition to mounding and to mound size

Team Members:

  • Katalijn MacAfee (NRCan) – Project Lead
  • Jaime Pinzon (NRCan) – Scientific Lead
  • Doug Kulba (Evergreen Learning and Innovation Society) – Project Advisor
  • Dave Larsen (Global Restoration) – Mounding Expert responsible for restoration work
  • Lindsay Wadsworth (iiNorth) – Seismic Line establishment
  • Matthew Pyper (Fuse Consulting) – 360 Footage
  • Michael Cody (Cenovus Energy) – Industry Representative