Monitoring Ecological Recovery of Reclaimed Wellsites: Protocols for Quantifying Recovery on Forested Lands

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Anne McIntosh
Bonnie Drozdowski
Dani Degenhardt
Chris Powter
Christina Small
John Begg
Dan Farr
Arnold Janz
Randi Lupardus
Delinda Ryerson
Jim Schiek
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We developed a scientifically robust and financially sustainable monitoring protocol to enable a consistent assessment of ecological recovery of physical, chemical, and biological indicators at certified reclaimed industrial wellsites in forested lands in northeastern Alberta. Using the developed protocols, data can be generated from measurement of soil, vegetation, and landscape indicators at reclaimed wellsites and adjacent reference sites. We selected the appropriate vegetation, soil, and habitat indicators for a long-term reclamation monitoring program and have provided sampling protocols for the selected indicators here. The protocols may be used to identify and prioritize indicators of reduced ecosystem health and to track ecological recovery of reclaimed sites over time.The development of these integrated monitoring protocols is a first step towards successful and consistent long-term monitoring to assess ecological recovery of certified wellsites in Alberta. These protocols can be applied to wellsites and other similar sized disturbances in other forested regions too