Co-managed with the Fort McKay First Nation, the Beaver Creek Wood Bison Ranch has helped to assess the viability and impact of large mammals on reclaimed land. The ranch celebrated 25 years of operations in 2018.
To date, we’ve permanently reclaimed over 3,800 hectares of land, with an additional 1,000 hectares capped with soil and ready for revegetation. As part of our reclamation activities, we’ve planted over 8.5 million tree and shrub seedlings.
Syncrude is the first oil sands operator to receive government certification for reclaimed land.
Syncrude is the first oil sands operator to receive government certification for a 104-hectare area of reclaimed land. Called Gateway Hill, it was reclaimed in the early 1980s and received certification in 2008. As part of the certification process, wildlife surveys were conducted which revealed the presence of a number of species, including snowshoe hare, marten, deer, squirrel, beaver, coyote and various songbirds, raptors and grouse.
Government certification takes many years from the time that reclamation activities are complete, as the subject area must demonstrate a self-sustaining ecosystem and habitat capability. We have not sought certification for some reclaimed areas, as they are adjacent to land where there is still industrial activity, restricting our ability to release the land back to the Crown. We anticipate our next certification submission will be for the South Bison Hills area which was reclaimed in the 1990s.