Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Certified through 2023
Kearl Seed Collection Program
About the Program
The ExxonMobil Imperial Oil Kearl site encompasses approximately 76 square miles and is located 43 miles northeast of Fort McMurry, Alberta, Canada. Active mining of oil sands began in April 2013. Forest reclamation is part of a regulatory requirement to reclaim lands to their pre-disturbed condition. The team collects tree, shrub, forb, wetland and aquatic species seed on an annual basis, and has exceeded regulation minimums in the types of seeds collected. These seeds are used to grow locally appropriate plants for use in reclamation efforts.
Practices and Impacts
- The Kearl team has employed techniques to enhance forest development such as not using grasses, incorporating coarse woody structure and using rough and loose mounding as a site preparation technique to enhance microclimates (wind shelter, moisture retention, etc.) for better seedling development.
- Imperial Oil is a member of the Oil Sands Vegetation Cooperative, established in 2009 to cooperatively ensure a steady supply of native, genetically appropriate seed and plants for use in Alberta reclamation efforts. The group also provides technical support through meetings for members.
- The cooperative forecasts collection needs on a yearly basis. Annual seed collection is targeted at supplying plant material for the next three to five years of reclamation activity. Seed collection location is recorded, seeds are cleaned and stored, and then given a unique identifier before being shipped for freezing and underground storage. Seed is divided among the cooperative members and can be requested for use in reclamation, including for seeding on the ground and for plant material grow out.
- The team at Imperial Oil went above and beyond by surveying for and collecting rare and aquatic plant species. These surveys will help ensure the future diversity of reclamation sites, and will help to preserve rare species.
- Imperial has partnered with other oil companies to focus on growing out several target native tree species, such as willow and yellow spruce. The propagated plants will be shared among companies for future reclamation efforts
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