A toolkit for the assessment of padded wellsites and access roads for Boreal Forest peatland reclamation.

In 2018, the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (PTAC) initiated a multi-stage project on the reclamation certification process for wellsites and access roads that were constructed with imported mineral soil in peatlands (padded). The goal was to ensure that decisions made during the reclamation certification process resulted in the best possible ecological outcome (i.e., net environmental benefit) for these sites and surrounding areas. The specific question was whether to remove mineral soil pads established at wellsites in peatlands or leave them in place and certify the site as reclaimed.

In 2020, a draft report, Certification of Mineral Soil Pads in the Boreal Region – Decision Framework and Support Tools, was released to provide opportunities for industry, practitioners, and government to review and comment on the document and to set the stage for a field verification trial of the Decision Framework and Support Tools (DST). 

The DST provides recommendations that assist the industry in determining appropriate end land use for these sites. Additionally, the DST supports the regulator by providing consistent approaches with clear expectations for supporting rationale and streamlining processes, while continuing to assist management with restoration and reclamation outcomes.  

Certification of Mineral Soil Pads in the Boreal Region – Decision Framework and Support Tools

Current Status

The initial draft of the DST was revised in 2022 to incorporate the feedback and field verification trial, and was updated in 2022, 2023 and 2024. Alberta Environment and Protected Areas (AEPA) endorsed the project in 2023 as part of an interim directive.

In June 2024, InnoTech Alberta, Vertex and PTAC presented a virtual training session dedicated to the DST with Susan McGillivray (Alberta Environment and Protected Areas), Bonnie Drozdowski (InnoTech Alberta), Chris Powter (Enviro Q&A Services) and Dean Mackenzie (Vertex) presenting. The training session was attended by 183 participants including the government, industry professionals and stakeholders interested in responsible resource development in Alberta. The session provided an opportunity to gain the knowledge and tools needed to assess if padded wellsites and access roads on public land in the Boreal Forest should be retained or reclaimed to peatland. 

Interim Directive

Certification of Mineral Soil Pads in the Boreal Region – Decision Framework and Support Tools: 2024 Update

DST Training Session (June 2024)

Frequently Asked Questions


Chibuike Chigbo, PhD.
Experienced Researcher, Environmental Impacts