Effect of topsoil replacement depth and amendments on wellsite reclamation success in northeastern Alberta
Topsoil is vital to the revegetation success of land affected by oil and gas wellsites and borrow pits. Therefore, the Government of Alberta’s guidelines require that 80% of the topsoil is replaced during revegetation. However, finding topsoil to meet the guidelines is challenging in cases where topsoil was not salvaged during excavation and where salvaged topsoil has been lost during storage and handling. This study examines the use of organic amendments (peat and biochar) to restore soil quality to its pre-disturbance equivalence and achieve revegetation success when the required 80% topsoil replacement depth is not attainable. Soil chemical and physical properties and vegetation growth and biomass yields will be modeled as functions of combinations of amendment and topsoil replacement depth on a borrow pit previously reclaimed using 50% topsoil replacement depth. Check (no amendment) treatments in which topsoil replacement depths are 50% and 80% of adjacent undisturbed (control) sites will be included for comparison.