Reclamation stories

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Glacier National Park
British Columbia

The CP Rail Roger's Pass Project created a new rail line through the heart of Glacier National Park. Restoration was a major part of the impact mitigation plan developed for the project.  Restoration work entailed the establishment of a suitable growth media (soil), a cover of seeded grasses and legumes to control erosion and the planting of woody species.  Sitka alder was used as an initial woody species cover with later successional conifers planted underneath.  These are now starting to overtop the alder and form the dominant cover.
Photos: Polster Environmental Services


Québec Copper Mines
Bolton, Québec

These are before and after aerial views of the former orphan mine tailings of Québec Copper Mines in Québec’s Eastern Townships. The 6 hectare area of accumulated acid generating mine residue was permanently remediated by GSI Environnement over a period of three years (2002-2004) without incurring any cost to the client.  Mining residues were first neutralized with alcaline by-products and a low permeability membrane made of compacted deinking residue was installed. Unsorted till was then placed on top of the membrane as a protective layer, and compost was mixed with the till as an amendment and support for grass species implanted the first year after completion. Various shallow root tree species were planted the second year.
Photos: Englobe Corp, Sherbrooke, Québec


Nanaimo Lakes
British Columbia

Forest landslides such as this one in the Nanaimo Lakes area can severely impact aquatic and terrestrial resources.  Restoration of the steep slope of this slide required the use of soil bioengineering (wattle fences) to allow the slope to support vegetation.  A cover of seeded species (see hydroseeder, hose and worker in centre photo) was applied to control erosion while a planting of pioneering shrubs (Sitka alder) was used to initiate the natural successional processes that will eventually result in the re-establishment of forest species on this slope.
Photos: Polster Environmental Services


Coal Creek North Pit 7 Mine, NB Coal Limited
Minto, New Brunswick

Coal Creek North Pit 7 operated as a surface coal mining operation between 1989 and 1991. The goal of reclamation for the site was to return it to wildlife habitat. During mining, a stream had to be diverted around the operations. During reclamation in 2000, a stream 'channel' was excavated back across the site through an area that was being used as an unauthorized construction waste dump site. The banks of the channel were graded and stabilized for erosion control with hay. Because of the remote location, limited access to the site, and late summer application time, the weediest hay was procured for this task. To speed up the establishment of shoreline vegetation, seeds from cattails and reeds in adjacent wetlands were cast just above the waterline of the wider stream sections. To accelerate the growth of taller plants for shade, 30 cm long sections of alder.
Photo: Michele Coleman, New Brunwick Coal


Westville Surface Coal Mining Site
Nova Scotia

The pre-reclamation photo at left was taken in 1996. The photo on the right, following reclamation of the site, was taken in 1999. The surface has been restored and revegetated with an initial grass mix. Footpaths to a small park can be seen in the foreground (of the reclaimed area) which was provided by the mine operator for the Town as part of the reclamation plan.  A future land use plan was developed by the mine operator in cooperation with the Town of Westville. Once the area has settled and compacted this site will be available for new development including residential, commercial and industrial areas.
Photo: Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources

Sabiston Horse Farm
Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario

The photo on the left was taken in June 1982. It shows extraction of sand and gravel below the water table using a shovel. The site was operated by J. Sabiston Ltd. in the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville northeast of Toronto. Extraction was finished in 1983. The Sabiston pit was rehabilitated for use as a horse farm in the late 1980s. The photograph on the right was taken in 2000.
Photos: S.E. Yundt

Don Valley Brick Works Quarry
Toronto, Ontario

The photograph at left of the Don Valley Brick Works was taken in August 1982 just before it ceased operations. It shows the different lifts of extraction in the clay quarry. The quarry was originally opened in 1882, and for over 100 years high quality clay bricks were produced on the site, located within the Don Rover Valley and floodplain in the City of Toronto. In 1984 a development company purchased the site for residential use, and they started to fill the property. A public outcry stopped the development of the site, and the property was put into public ownership (Toronto Region Conservation Authority). The photo on the right was taken in 2000 when the Aggregate Producers’ Association of Ontario presented a bronze plaque for the outstanding rehabilitation of the site. The site has been transformed to a natural environment and cultural heritage park. The quarry face in the background is considered an internationally significant geologic site, and it has been preserved for study purposes. The rehabilitation includes gardens, wetlands, a boardwalk, a wildflower meadow, and the brick making buildings and kiln chimney have been restored. More information about the Don Valley Brick Works Park is given in the Canadian Reclamation Fall 2002 issue.
Photos: S.E. Yundt

Denison Mine and Mill
Elliot Lake, Ontario

These are before and after photos of the Denison Mine/Mill in Elliot Lake. Mine/mill complex in the foreground and tailings in top and middle right. Quirk Lake is in background at top left. Uranium tailings were reclaimed via a water cover to control acid mine drainage and release of radionuclides. Tailings impoundments now support a variety of aquatic life.
Photos: Denison Environmental Services

Denison Mine
Elliot Lake, Ontario

Denison Mine, Elliot Lake. Pond A is an elevated pond between Tailings Management Areas 1 and 2. The area was covered in tailings, which were removed as part of the TMA-2 monitoring project in 1996. While “biosoil” was applied to a small area of the shoreline and surrounding land was fertilized and seeded, cattails and other aquatic plants invaded naturally.
Photos: Denison Environmental Services

Kerncliff Park
Burlington, Ontario

This was an abandoned quarry operated by several companies over the years. Rehabilitation started in the 1960s, and the end use was passive recreation and interpretation. The City of Burlington has integrated the site into the city park system. It is one of the best examples of natural regeneration in Ontario. The site incorporates cliff faces, wetlands, vegetated faces, a diversity of plants and wildlife and tall grass prairie. The Bruce Trail is located along the top of the face. The face was scaled by hand from the top for safety. Many partners were involved in the rehabilitation.
Photo: S.E. Yundt

St. Marys Swimming Quarry
St. Marys, Ontario

The Thames Quarry Company opened this limestone quarry in the mid-1880s and ceased operations in 1930. Between 1930 and 1935 the quarry filled with water. In 1945 the Town of St. Marys bought the quarry and turned it into a swimming facility. Former Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, dove off the high diving board while visiting St. Marys in 1968 during his term as Prime Minister. In 1983 the Aggregate Producers’ Association of Ontario presented a prestigious bronze plaque to the Town of St. Marys and St. Marys Cement Limited for outstanding rehabilitation to recreational use.
Photos: S.E. Yundt

Sherkston Shores
Port Colborne, Ontario

This quarry operated between 1890 and 1917 and has been rehabilitated to a multi-use vacation resort with cabins, RV sites and rental homes on Lake Erie at Sherkston in the Niagara Peninsula. Recreational facilities include scuba diving, a beach with a giant water slide, go carts, golf, sailing and motor boating and water skiing.
Photo: S.E. Yundt

Norton Place Park
Brampton, Ontario

J.C. Duff Ltd. and Armstrong Brothers Co. Ltd. extracted sand and gravel from this site between 1949 and 1966. It was rehabilitated to an attractive lake and recreation area surrounded by apartment buildings, condominiums and businesses, called Norton Place Park.
Photo: S.E. Yundt

Pronto Waste Management Area
Elliot Lake, Ontario

Rio Algom's (now Billiton) Pronto Waste Management Area near Elliot Lake, taken in 1998, is at left. The photo on the right was taken in 2002, and shows successful reclamation of these acidic, fine grained copper tailings through the use of papermill sludge from St. Marys Paper Ltd. in Sault St. Marie, Ontario. The gray area on the right side of the 2002 photo is fresh sludge that had just been applied.
Photos: B. Tisch, Natural Resources Canada

Milton Quarry
Region of Halton, Ontario

Dufferin Aggregates has operated the Milton Quarry behind the brow of the Niagara Escarpment in the Region of Halton since 1962. The next landscape will feature extensive naturalized water bodies with varying shorelines, wetlands, wooded upland margins and slopes, open space and many kms of cliff face. The rehabilitation design promotes a diversity of habitats with many plant and animal communities. The site is already used by many species of birds and other wildlife including over 40 species of breeding birds and 34 species of butterflies. With the help of Scouts Canada more than 41,000 tree and shrub seedlings were planted. Two lookout points on site are part of the Bruce Trail Association trail system. They provide a view of the quarry operation and a view of the developing naturalized landscape. This photo taken in 2002 shows the developing 42 ha wetland and landforms created in the previous six years.
Photo: Dufferin Aggregates

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