Assessing Peatland Restoration Success to Meet Alberta’s Peatland Reclamation Criteria

Bin Xu
Melanie Bird
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We conducted a full peatland assessment using the new criteria on a restored well pad near Peace River,
Alberta. In 2012, mineral overburden was removed along with geo-textile and the buried peat was fluffed
and gently packed to the surrounding peatland elevation, followed by donor moss transfer. We found that
after three years post revegetation, the average peatland species cover is close to 60% for all grids
surveyed. Landscape assessment showed no presence of open water or upland features although areas
near the main entrance are seasonally flooded and remained wetter than the remainder of the pad
throughout the seasons. Vegetation assessment found greater undesirable species cover in these wetter
areas where no donor moss material was transferred, leaving the site open to invasion by undesirable
species such as cattail. These areas also failed the woody species criterion without tree establishment due
to wetness. However, only 1 out of the 9 grids failed the undesirable cover criterion (27%; where 20% =
fail). Out of a possible 45 parameter points, our site scored 40 points, exceeding the 36 required to pass.

We discuss the process for the site evaluation based on the methods outlined in the criteria and our
assessment of the methodology in terms of clarity, scientific rigor, and most importantly, ease of use.
Three new peatland reclamation trials have been initiated since 2015 using modified approaches from the
first trial. We will discuss how we developed our reclamation approaches to address key areas in the
criteria to meet the certification requirements in the future. Survey templates and technical notes for
practitioners are also included as part of this final report.