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TitleNovel wetland reclamation design: The Suncor pilot fen and Wapisiw wetland
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsDaly, C., Atkinson J., Birkham T., Chapman D., Ciborowski J., McKenna G., O'Kane M., Price J., Rochefort L., & Russell B.
Date Published10/2010
Place PublishedToronto, ON
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsaquatic vegetation, field, reclamation methodology, Suncor, wetlands

Wetlands covered about half of Suncor Energy Inc. (Suncor)'s lease prior to disturbance by oil sands mining. Fens were the dominant wetland type. Significant efforts have focused on recreating wetland ecosystems, mainly marshes, in Suncor's reclaimed landscape since the 1980s. Despite their prevalence, however, little effort has focused on recreating fen ecosystems until recently. The Suncor Pilot Fen will be one of the first ever constructed in the world. Fens are beneficial to reclaimed landscape because they support a variety of aquatic plant communities and wildlife and have large carbon and water storage capacities. The Suncor Pilot Fen program examines the feasibility of constructing a fen watershed on a former oil sands mine using tailings. The program includes: research—determining fen plant species tolerant to tailings and saline conditions—and site investigation, design, construction and monitoring. Another innovative program, the Wapisiw Wetland Program, will evaluate whether new habitat features will increase floral and faunal diversity and abundance in a newly constructed marsh built on a former tailings pond, Wapisiw Lookout (Pond 1) – the first reclaimed oil sands tailings pond. Some of the new aquatic habitat features include: Canadian toad (Bufo hemiophrys) hibernacula, bird and bat nesting boxes, riparian revegetation techniques, and floating ratroot (Acorus americanus) islands. An overview of these two innovative wetland reclamation programs will be provided. Knowledge from these programs will help shape future reclamation efforts of Suncor and other oil sands producers striving to return sustainable ecosystems that existed before disturbance to mined landscapes.


IN: Proceedings of the 37th Annual Aquatic Toxicity Workshop October 3-62010 Toronto Ontario. Fletcher T. D. Holdway D. Simmons M. Dutton and L.E. Burridge (Eds). Fisheries and Oceans Canada St. Andrews New Brunswick. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries

Locational Keywords

Alberta oil sands



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