Forests of the future
November 2022 – Sweat, soil and hundreds of tree seedlings brought together Cenovus Energy environmental professionals this fall planting trees for a unique interim reclamation initiative at our Christina Lake oil sands operations.
“Interim reclamation involves planting trees natural to the northern boreal forest in areas we’ve disturbed as part of the install of new infrastructure, like well pads or temporary working spaces, that aren’t required for long-term operations,” says Scott MacDonald, Senior Coordinator, Environmental Operations at Cenovus. “This helps encourage regrowth of wooded species and managing areas adjacent to our operations effectively until our operations are complete and we can conduct final reclamation work.”
Interim reclamation is also an effective way to reduce erosion, keep the soil healthy, establish and promote a viable seed bank for natural regrowth of native plants, control weeds and promote overall ecosystem biodiversity.
Since 2014, more than 75,000 trees have been planted covering at least 64 hectares of land as part of the initiative at our Christina Lake site.
During a teambuilding event this fall, environment and regulatory staff from Calgary and our Sunrise, Foster Creek and Christina Lake operations planted 1,800 trees on soil stockpiles and other cleared areas adjacent to a newly constructed road and pipeline corridor.
For the soil and air scientists, biologists, engineers, hydrogeologists and other staff who took part in the activity, it was an opportunity to come together as a team and contribute to Cenovus’s overall biodiversity efforts in the region.
“This is right up our alley as environmental professionals – to do what we can to promote a healthy environment around our operations today and set ourselves up for effective final reclamation. It was also a great opportunity to get together in the field and help contribute directly to Cenovus’s sustainability goals,” says Scott.
In addition to interim reclamation, Cenovus does final reclamation of areas that are no longer needed as part of current or future operations, such as borrow pit reclamation and well site reclamation, as well as annual tree planting as part of our Caribou Habitat Restoration Project, the largest project of its kind in the world and which focuses primarily on old seismic lines and linear features.
Since 2016, we have planted more than 3.2 million trees as part of our reclamation and restoration programs and targets as we continue to demonstrate our commitment to restoring forest cover.