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Reclamation of high-elevation wildlife habitat at Elk Valley Coal's Fording River and Greenhills Operations

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Title: Reclamation of high-elevation wildlife habitat at Elk Valley Coal's Fording River and Greenhills Operations
Author: Straker, Justin; Jones, Ron; Berdusco, Roger Joseph; O’Brien, B.; Woelk, S.; Jones, Carol Elizabeth, 1953-
Issue Date: 2004
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2009-06-04
Series/Report no. British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium 2004
Abstract: Reclamation research was initiated on the Fording River mine site in 1969, prior to commencement of mining operations, and has been an ongoing component of both Fording River and Greenhills Operations’ approach to sustainable development throughout mine life. This research has focussed on optimum techniques to return land disturbed by mining to equivalent productivity, and on specific challenges encountered on the sites. One of the primary challenges on both mine sites is the restoration through reclamation of high-value wildlife habitat. Wild ungulates, predominantly elk and bighorn sheep, are a major wildlife resource that reside year-round in the Fording River Valley. Mining at the Fording River and Greenhills Operations has disturbed habitat for these species, including some valuable winter range on south and southwest-facing slopes. To ensure the successful reclamation of this important high-elevation wildlife habitat, Fording River personnel initiated winter range-targeted reclamation research in 1985. This work has continued to date, with recent programs including: High-elevation conifer planting trials, to provide visual and thermal cover elements for wildlife habitat. Use of plant protectors to establish key preferred browse shrub species in climatically adverse conditions. Native grass species trials, to evaluate the potential of newly available forage species. Design and planning used to integrate research results into operational reclamation. This integrated research program has built on previous reclamation research undertaken at the mine sites, and has improved knowledge for these mines on species selection, establishment timing, and techniques to allow successful reclamation where more conventional approaches have not produced desired results. This increased knowledge will translate into better ability to re-create specific habitat elements, as more high-elevation areas on the mine sites become available for reclamation.
Affiliation: Applied Science, Faculty of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/8755
Peer Review Status:

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