Revegetation and Land Reclamation at Groundbirch
Before we break ground on any new natural gas project, we put plans in place for how to return the land back to its previous state.
A key way we have been able to undertake final reclamation activities is by working with Twin Sisters Nursery; a successful Indigenous-owned business that is a partnership between the Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations in Northeast British Columbia. Including this year, we will have planted more than 200,000 native plant plugs since we started working with Twin Sisters in 2014, revegetating nearly 150 acres of land.
Twin Sisters Nursery supports the improvement of restoration and reclamation work in Northeast B.C. through seed propagation and native plant distribution. Their primary focus is on ecological restoration and the remediation of impacts on traditional lands from mining and other industrial projects.
Shell helped the nursery expand with a second greenhouse a few years ago, further supporting reclamation activities for our operations and other companies in the area. Over 30 sites of our sites have had interim reclamation completed since 2015 using plants from the nursery.
The growth of Twin Sisters Nursery’s second greenhouse has allowed us to reclaim natural landscapes at Groundbirch using both local traditional knowledge and native plant species while helping employ community members. Developing local businesses in collaboration with Treaty 8 communities contributes to the long-term ecological and social health of British Columbia and Shell’s reconciliation journey with Indigenous Peoples.
Native plant re-vegetation is used to re-establish disturbed area with ecologically and culturally important plants. Historical re-vegetation practices used non-native seeds, but switching to native plant re-vegetation is important for restoring a habitat biodiversity best suited for maintaining local wildlife populations.
In 2014, we started what’s called interim reclamation at our Groundbirch natural gas operations in Northeast British Columbia. Interim reclamation – which goes beyond regulatory requirements and is considered best practice – re-establishes some of the land around our well pads in the years they are producing natural gas. It also reduces the amount of surface land that is disturbed and minimizes soil erosion. Once a well pad stops producing, interim reclamation is replaced with final reclamation which recontours the land back to its original state using native plants.