Lisa Warren: Championing reclamation & remediation
The "Us" in Cenovus
January 2022 – At Cenovus Energy, one of our five environmental, social and governance (ESG) focus areas is biodiversity, with a specific focus on reclaiming land and restoring habitat. But what exactly is reclamation?
“Reclamation is the process of contouring the landscape, replacing soils, and re-establishing vegetation to return the site to near equivalent land capability where it supports habitat, wildlife and ecosystem process,” explains Lisa Warren, Senior Manager of Reclamation & Remediation at Cenovus. “To accelerate the reclamation timetable when feasible, work is undertaken on lands no longer required for operations, even if the project is ongoing. Progressive reclamation allows for the land to be returned to productive capability sooner, shortening the timeframe to achieve closure.”
Lisa has always been passionate about the environment. Originally a biology major, she changed her focus to environmental sciences after an internship that involved conducting environmental site assessments.
“The summer after my first year of university I was fortunate to secure a job working in the field with a small environmental consulting company. I loved the work so much that I switched my major, and never looked back,” says Lisa.
Focused on efficiencies and innovation, Lisa’s team plays a key role in Cenovus’s land strategy and is responsible for conducting environmental site assessments to identify and address any land impacts as a result of our operational activities, and to progress sites through the reclamation process.
“At Cenovus, we strive to build efficiencies within our reclamation program to reduce our cycle time on site closures—getting the environment quickly restored,” says Lisa.
With an eye to Cenovus’s ESG targets, Lisa and her team work to support the ongoing caribou restoration work in the Cold Lake caribou range. Our target is to restore more habitat than used in the range by year-end 2030.
“The Cenovus Caribou Habitat Restoration Program is the largest project of its kind in the world, something I am proud to be a part of,” says Lisa. “So far, we’ve treated more than 800 kilometres of linear forest disturbances and planted over one million trees. We’re currently more than 40 percent of the way to achieving our 2030 target of restoring more habitat than we use in the Cold Lake caribou range. With ESG targets being in focus, measured and published annually, our industry can really start to demonstrate its commitment to sustainable development and environmental stewardship.”
Lisa also oversees Cenovus’s biodiversity target to reclaim 3,000 decommissioned well sites by year-end 2025. Since 2019, we have achieved regulatory site closure on 1,350 well sites and in 2021 have completed initial reclamation on more than 880 well sites.
“The 3,000 well sites represent approximately 70 percent of our existing reclamation inventory, which we will be actively progressing to regulatory closure by the end of 2025. This target demonstrates Cenovus’s continued commitment to being an industry leader in proactively managing the reclamation and restoration of the landscape in which we operate,” explains Lisa.