Imagine sending your child to school and judging their progress as they complete three milestones: elementary, junior high and high school.
Reclamation is a complex subject. And in the absence of information, some might think that it’s not being done. For example, there is a common misconception that certification is the only means of measuring whether reclamation work has been done at all. In fact, significant reclamation work takes place long before this official end- result.
Helping explain the reclamation progress that’s already been made and what’s still to come, is a central feature of the Province of Alberta’s newly released reclamation reporting system (PDF).
Until now, the Province distinguished between three separate categories: disturbed lands, permanent reclamation of land and wetlands, and certified lands.
With the new system, eight milestones will now be used. Reports will be more frequent, helping stakeholders understand what reclamation commitments have been made, industry’s progress, and the steps necessary to complete before full reclamation.
The milestones in the new reclamation framework are:
- Cleared areas
- Disturbed areas
- Areas ready for reclamation
- Soils placed
- Temporary reclamation
- Permanent reclamation of terrestrial areas
- Permanent reclamation of wetland and aquatic areas
The system will also be much more transparent to the public as reclamation data will soon be made available through an interactive, map-based website.
So what does this all mean?
For stakeholders, it means better information, helping them understand the reclamation process and progress that’s been made. And for industry, it makes our reclamation efforts more visible – something that’s sure to motivate us to achieve even more going forward. For information on Suncor’s reclamation efforts and our environmental performance goal to increase reclamation of disturbed land by 100% by 2015, visit our website.
Like school report cards, progress reports need to be regularly issued in an easily understood format. We think the Province’s new framework is a significant step forward in helping to encourage reclamation progress and communicate results to stakeholders.
Suncor’s Wapisiw Lookout, formerly known as Pond 1, reflects Suncor’s ongoing commitment to reclamation of disturbed areas.