Best Management Practices User Manual for Aggregate Operators

Best Management Practices User Manual for Aggregate Operators
Best Management Practices
User Manual For Aggregate Operators
On Public Land
Version 1
Disclaimer
The “Best Management Practices User Manual for Aggregate Operators on
Public Land” is written to guide operators in the planning, development,
operation and reclamation of their pit or quarry which is operating on
public land. As such, that person assumes full responsibility for any
consequences arising from the use of this manual.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the
information provided within this manual, users should use their best
judgement when applying any practices described in this manual. Alberta
Sustainable Resources Development (ASRD), all levels of government
represented in this manual as well as any organization or company that
have contributed to the development of this manual assume no liability or
responsibility for any consequences that may arise through the use of this
manual.
All items within this manual are ‘general considerations’ applied on a
broad scale, and may not be applicable in your local area or for a specific
location. Operators should contact their local ASRD office for further
details and clarifications. All sites should be evaluated and considered
for specific details related to their location on the landscape including
knowledge of local concerns or priorities.
Information and copies may be obtained from:
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development
Main Floor, Great West Life Building
9920 108 Street
Edmonton Alberta Canada T5K 2M4
Tel (Edmonton local): Tel: 780.427.3570
Toll Free: 1.877.944.0313
Fax: 780.427.4407
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.srd.gov.ab.ca/
Acknowledgements
The “Best Management Practices User Manual for Aggregate Operators
on Public Land” was written to support the “Guideline for Acquiring
Surface Material Dispositions on Public Land” by providing examples of
best management practices that can be included in the development
of the Conservation and Reclamation Business Plan, required in the
application for a Surface Materials Lease. The Information presented in
this document was based on the following government documents:
• Guidelines for Acquiring Surface Material Dispositions on Public Land.
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, 2007.
• Guide to the Code of Practice for Pits. Alberta Environment, 2004.
• Design Guidelines for Erosion and Sediment Control for Highways.
Alberta Transportation, 2003.
• Environmental Management Systems Manual (v.5). Alberta
Transportation, 2008.
Erosion and sediment control drawings were provided by:
• Bio Draw 2.0. J.A. McCullah, 2000.
• The final draft was developed with input from individuals from the
following:
• Alberta Sustainable Resource Development;
• Alberta Sand and Gravel Association; and
• Alberta Transportation.
The manual was written, compiled and reviewed by the following
Consultants at Golder Associates Ltd:
• Corissa Carveth, Rob Wesson, Dale Doram, Claire Classen, Nathan
Schmidt, David Hanratty and Cheryl Jacobs.
Table of Contents
1.0
Introduction
1
2.0
How To Use This Manual
3
2.1
Purpose of the Manual
3
2.2
Description
4
3.0
Alberta Aggregate Permitting Framework
5
3.1
Public Lands Act (ASRD)
5
4.0
Alberta Aggregate Regulatory Framework
9
4.1
Federal Requirements
9
4.1.1
The Fisheries Act
10
4.1.2
Migratory Birds Convention Act
12
4.2
Provincial Requirements
12
4.2.1
Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act
14
4.2.2
Water Act
15
4.2.3
Wildlife Act
15
4.2.3.1
Rare Species
16
4.2.4
Weed Control Act
16
4.2.5
Historical Resources Act
18
4.2.6
Municipal Requirements
18
4.2.7
Multiple Use
18
4.2.8
Continuous Improvement
19
5.0
Reclamation Planning
21
5.1
Reclamation Plan Development
21
5.2
Planning End Land Uses Up Front
22
5.2.1
Native Grasslands
22
5.2.2
Forested Lands
23
5.2.3
Wildlife Habitat
24
5.2.4
Wetlands
25
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6.0
Best Management Practices
27
6.1
Planning and Site Development
27
6.2
Vegetation
29
6.2.1
Clearing and Grubbing
29
6.2.2
Site Preparation
30
6.2.3
Salvage
32
6.2.4
Grubbing
32
6.2.5
Disposal
33
6.2.6
Revegetation
33
6.3
Weed Management
34
6.3.1
Prevention
35
6.3.2
Maintenance
36
6.4
Soil
36
6.4.1
What is Topsoil?
36
6.4.2
What is Subsoil?
37
6.4.3
What is Overburden?
37
6.4.4
How Can Soil Occur During an Operation?
37
6.4.5
Soil Salvage
38
6.4.6
Stripping
39
6.4.7
Soil Stockpiling
40
6.4.8
Soil Replacement
42
6.5
Stormwater Management
44
6.5.1
Stormwater Diversion
45
6.6
Erosion and Sediment Control
46
6.6.1
Erosion Control
46
6.6.2
Sediment Control
52
6.7
Pit Dewatering
58
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6.8
Road Construction and Maintenance
58
6.8.1
Construction
59
6.8.2
Maintenance
60
6.8.3
Watercourse Crossings
60
6.9
Hazardous Materials Management
60
6.10
By-Product Management
62
6.11
Noise, Dust and Visual Considerations
63
6.11.1
Noise
63
6.11.2
Dust
65
6.11.3
Visual Considerations
67
6.12
Pit Closure
68
7.0
Monitoring BMPs
71
8.0
References
73
9.0
Glossary
77
Tables
Table 1: Federal regulatory requirements that may apply on public
land.
10
Table 2: Primary provincial legislative requirements that may be
applicable to an aggregate operation on public land.
13
Table 3: Alberta listed restricted and noxious weed species.
17
Table 4: Possible end land-uses for each of the four natural regions
(adapted from Green et al 1992).
22
Table 5: Volumes of topsoil required for replacing various depths
(Source: BC Ministry of Energy and Mines).
43
Figures
Figure 1: Common dispositions for surface material extraction on
public land.
Figure 2: Sediment can smother eggs and prevent streamflow from
moving through streambed material (adapted from: BC
Ministry of Land and Water, 2004).
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11
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Figure 3: A riparain buffer can improve water quality, shade streams,
and provide habitat for many terrestrial and aquatic
species.
31
Figure 4: Topsoil, subsoil and overburden should be removed
separately.
39
Figure 5: Stormwater should be diverted around the site to help
prevent erosion and sedimentation onsite.
46
Figure 6: Mulch can be applied to a site after seeding.
49
Figure 7: ECBs can be used to protect steep slopes.
50
Figure 8: Rock outlets can control erosion at the downstream end of
a channel or a culvert.
51
Figure 9: A uniform layer of rock can be used to prevent erosion
within a constructed ditch or channel.
52
Figure 10: A fibre roll can temporarily reduce sedimentation.
53
Figure 11: Grass-lined swales are used when concentrated runoff has
the potential to cause erosion.
54
Figure 12: A check dam is a small, temporary dams constructed within
a ditch or a constructed channel.
55
Figure 13: Sediment basins collect run-off and promote settlement of
sediment.
56
Figure 14: Silt fences are commonly used to prevent sedimentation.
57
Figure 15: Berms can act as barriers for wind and noise.
63
Appendices
Appendix A
Government Contact Information
Appendix B
BMP Fact Sheets
Appendix C
Additional Literature
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1
Introduction
Alberta is known around the world for its natural beauty, diversity of
ecosystems and its rich natural resources. The mandate of Alberta
Sustainable Resource Development (ASRD) is to encourage balanced and
responsible use of Alberta’s natural resources through the application of
leading practices in management, science, and stewardship.
To achieve this mandate ASRD develops legislation, and policy,
regulations, guidelines and best management practices (BMPs) for
a variety of industries and activities. Such documents are based on
available science and user experience and are developed in a manner
that encourages stewardship of Alberta’s natural resources. This manual
provides examples of BMPs that can be applied during the operation of a
pit or quarry on public land.
Surface materials (sand, gravel, clay, marl) have served a vital role in
economic growth and development through the construction of new
roads, schools, hospitals, houses and businesses. These materials are
also key to the development of other resources such as steel, glass,
paper, pharmaceuticals, cement, insulation and fertilizers to name a
few. As producers and consumers, the Aggregate Industry contributes
to the growth of Alberta’s Oil and Gas, Construction, and Environmental
industries. Aggregates will continue to be an important resource as
population growth and infrastructure demands increase across the
province.
The demand for surface material (hereby referred to as aggregate)
extraction on public land has increased significantly in recent years
and allocation has become more complex as users compete for limited
resources. Statistics Canada reported an estimated 48,430,000 tonnes
of sand and gravel production worth $370 million in Alberta and $1 275
billion across Canada in 20061. In response to the increased demand
for the resource, ASRD developed the “Alberta Aggregate (Sand and
Gravel) Allocations Policy for Commercial Use on Public Land2” in 2006. In
2007, an operational guideline, “Guideline for Acquiring Surface Material
Dispositions on Public Land3” was completed to supplement the new
Aggregate Policy.
The extraction of aggregate resources on public land should not leave
an environmental burden for future generations to remedy. To ensure
the responsible extraction of this resource, ASRD has identified a need
to provide further clarity for operators on BMPs for site development,
planning, management and reclaiming sand and gravel pits and quarries.
The adoption of a combination of appropriate BMPs can help ensure
that aggregate extraction does not affect the long-term environmental
sustainability of public land.
1
2
3
Statistics Canada 2006
ASRD 2006
ASRD 2007
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Introduction
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In this manual, you will find information on:
• The regulatory framework required for extracting aggregates on
public land; and
• BMPs for managing environmental considerations during the planning,
development, management and reclamation phases of an aggregate
operation.
This manual applies to the mining of aggregate on public land and
addresses the primary processing of aggregate only. While some BMPs
may also apply, this manual does not address pits located on private land
or the mining of peat on public land. For more information about mining
peat or aggregate extraction on public land, contact the ASRD Edmonton
Office at:
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development
Main Floor, Great West Life Building
9920 108 Street
Edmonton Alberta Canada T5K 2M4
Tel (Edmonton local): Tel: 780.427.3570
Toll Free: 1.877.944.0313
Fax: 780.427.4407
Email: [email protected]
Introduction
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2
How To Use
This Manual
2.1 Purpose of the Manual
The “Best Management Practices User Manual for Aggregate Operators
on Public Land” (this document) was developed to provide Aggregate
Operators with a wide selection of best management practices (BMPs)
for mitigating environmental concerns associated with an aggregate
operation on public land. The BMPs presented in this manual are
examples of easily available practices that will help minimize any potential
effects to the surrounding land, surface water and air. This manual
covers BMPs applicable to planning and developing a site through to the
reclamation phase of a project.
The BMPs presented in this manual are some of the most effective
techniques for mitigating environmental concerns during an aggregate
operation; however, it is not a comprehensive document. Other
techniques may exist that may be as effective on a site and, where
applicable, they should be applied. The BMPs are not Codes of Practice,
regulations or laws, but guidelines; they are practices that have been
proven effective and in many cases economical when implemented in
aggregate operations across North America.
Aggregate Operators who are seeking permission to extract aggregate
from public land are encouraged to use this manual for selecting
mitigation techniques when developing a Conservation and Business
Reclamation Business Plan (CRBP; see section 3.1). It is the responsibility
of the applicant to determine which BMP’s are most suitable for their
proposed operation. Operators should contact their local ASRD office for
further details and clarifications regarding the development of site-specific
plans. All sites should be evaluated on an individual basis and operators
should consider site specific details related to their location on the
landscape, including knowledge of local concerns or when selecting BMP’s.
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2.2 Description
The following manual provides examples of BMPs for mitigating
environmental concerns when working on public land. The manual is
broken down into the following sections:
Section 3.0 provides background information on the permitting
framework for obtaining approvals to extract aggregate on
public land;
Section 4.0 describes regulatory framework that applied to an aggregate
operation on public land;
Section 5.0 describes possible end land-uses for reclaiming aggregate
pits on public land;
Section 6.0 provides examples of BMPs, used across North America,
which have been utilized as effective environmental
management practices; and
Section 7.0 describes BMP monitoring throughout the life of an
aggregate operation.
Government contact information is provided in Appendix A. Factsheets
are provided in Appendix B; the factsheets provide further details
about the implementation of specific BMPs presented in this document.
Appendix C provides a list of current, available literature regarding
aggregate extraction and environmental mitigation.
How To Use This Manual
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What is a Conservation
and Reclamation Business
Plan?
3
A Conservation and
Reclamation Business
Plan (CRPB) is a detailed
plan describing how an
applicant proposes to
develop the aggregate
resources and resolve
any environmental and/
or land-use issues. The
CRBP must provide the
following:
The Public Lands Act applies to public land that is owned by the Crown
in right of Alberta and is administered by ASRD. The Public Lands Act
authorizes and regulates the allocation and use of public land. This
includes the beds and shores of all permanent and naturally occurring
bodies of water and all naturally occurring rivers, streams, watercourses
and lakes4. It is the main provincial statute governing surface material
extraction in the province of Alberta. It also applies to pits that
are located within, or affect, the bed and shore of a water body or
watercourse.
1.A brief description
of the project and
market conditions;
2.A description of the
aggregate resource
and proposed
operation;
3.Potential regulatory
requirements triggered
by the project;
4.Analysis of
biophysical and
land-use conditions
at the proposed
site and mitigation
measures; and
5.Sequential plans for
site development,
operation and
reclamation of the pit.
The BMPs presented
in this manual can be
incorporated into the
CRPB where applicable.
It is the responsibility
of the applicant to
determine which BMP’s
are most suitable for their
proposed operation.
4
Alberta Aggregate
Permitting Framework
3.1 Public Lands Act (ASRD)
The Disposition and Fees Regulation included in the Public Lands Act
grants approvals through an application, lease and licensing system. It
is important that applicants become familiar with the application process
before they apply. It is in the applicant’s best interest, to become familiar
with the regulations as the application process and land management
responsibilities can involve a significant investment of time and resources.
Increased knowledge of the application process will also help aggregate
operators prepare for the future development of their operation. It is
important to understand the process for a disposition application, as
more complex applications require longer review, processing and referral
periods. As well, an incomplete application may result in approval delays,
requiring revision and re-submission by the applicant.
Approvals through the Public Lands Act are granted for the following:
• Surface Material Lease (SML) – Granted for up to 10 years these are
designed for long-term use to extract large quantities of aggregate
on large tracts of land (pits up to 80 acres in size on individual
applications, and over 80 acres pending the “bonus bid” or public
advertising process).
• For an SML, a Surface Material Exploration (SME) program must be
conducted to define where the aggregate is present.
• The application for an SML requires a detailed Conservation and
Reclamation Business Plan (CRBP), which describes how the applicant
proposes to develop the aggregate resource, manage environmental
and/or land-use issues, and integrate the operation with other land
interests while meeting legislative requirements.
Alberta Transportation 2008
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• Applicants must identify other potential stakeholders ensuring that
any potential land use conflicts are identified and resolved. These
may include access restrictions, timber licences, trapping licences or
grazing leases as examples.
• Surface Material Licence (SMC) – These are designed for shortterm use (up to a maximum of one year) on small parcels of land
(maximum area is 5 acres or 2 ha) for a specific volume of material.
• The SMC must be supported by an SMC aggregate field report.
• Public Pit Licence (PPL) – These are typically issued for extraction
from government held extraction sites and are designed for quick
removal (valid for only one year) of a limited amount of material.
• In some cases a pit manager may be selected through a Request for
Proposal (RFP) process and will be responsible for operating the pit
and making aggregate available to other operators.
• A licence can be issued immediately at any ASRD office.
When seeking an
approval to operate
an aggregate pit on
public land the following
regulations apply:
1.Operators require
a Surface Material
Licence (SMC) or Lease
(SML) under the Public
Lands Act, regardless
of the size of the pit.
The operation of the pit
is subject to any terms
or conditions described
in the licence or lease.
2.All activities are subject
to enforcement under
the Public Lands Act
and the Environmental
Protection and
Enhancement Act
and are subject to
the Environmental
Protection Guidelines.
3.All pits require
a Reclamation
Certificate.
Reclamation
Certificates are
obtained from ASRD.
The liability of an
SML is effective
until the disposition
holder has obtained
their certificate.
4.Pits on private or public
land may require an
approval under the
Water Resources Act
if water is used (e.g.,
for gravel washing)
or diverted (e.g.,
for pit dewatering)
or if the pit is within
the floodplain of
a watercourse or
waterbody.
Source: Alberta
Environment 1996.
Figure 1: Common dispositions - surface material extraction on public
land.
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A detailed description of these common dispositions is available in the
“Guidelines for Acquiring Surface Material Dispositions on Public Land5”.
Application forms for an SML and SMC can be found on the ASRD
webpage under the maps and forms section (Lands Forms):
http://srd.alberta.ca/MapsFormsPublications/Forms/LandsForms/
Default.aspx
It should be noted that an approval under the Public Lands Act does not
guarantee the right to extract or operate, as other legislation may apply
and further additional approvals or authorizations under other regulations
may be required. A disposition issuance, unless otherwise stated, does
not provide the holder permission rights to any other resource extraction
or altered use of the land such as (but not limited to): removal of timber,
water, soil, or vegetation, unless specifically stated. The use of the land
is only for the purpose of extraction of the gravel resource and is subject
to any terms or conditions described in the SML as defined within the
parameters of the department approved CRBP or as temporarily approved
or amended under the issuance of a Temporary Field Authorization (TFA)
including applicable laws and regulations governing the province of
Alberta. Anything outside of these activities requires additional approvals
and should not occur on public land without them.
Operators should be aware of the following list of federal and provincial
departments and the corresponding Acts that may also require contact
and/or consultation in obtaining appropriate permits, licenses, etc.
when undertaking aggregate operations on public land. While this list
is provided to further assist the applicant; it should not be considered
comprehensive and is subject to changes in legislation and regulations.
It is the responsibility of the applicant/operator to ensure all relevant
approvals and authorities are obtained prior to commencing operations.
A key regulatory approval BMP is to meet with your local SRD
representative at an early stage of the process to clarify the regulatory
process for each individual operation.
5
ASRD 2007
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Alberta Aggregate Permitting Framework
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It is the responsibility
of the operator to
know and understand
the environmental
considerations associated
with an aggregate
operation.
1.Understand the natural
environment at the
proposed locations;
2.Recognize potential
effects of the operation
on fish and wildlife
habitat, fish and
wildlife populations,
water quality and
quantity, and longterm impacts to the
surrounding landscape;
3.Recognize and
address the need to
avoid, mitigate or
lessen any effects;
4.Understand the
federal, provincial and
municipal legislated
requirements for
conducting the
operations; and
5.Conduct the operation
in a manner that
complies with the
law and avoid,
mitigates, or reduces
potential effects to
the environment.
Source: BC Standards
and Best Practices for
Instream Works, 2004
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4
Alberta Aggregate
Regulatory Framework
The environmental obligations for an applicant seeking to operate a pit
or quarry on public lands are guided by legislation enacted by both the
federal and provincial governments. Many Canadian federal and provincial
Acts and regulations, as well as municipal bylaws, include provisions
designed to ensure public lands are developed within accepted practices
providing for environmental mitigation. The summary presented here
outlines some of the more common federal and provincial Acts and
regulations that an operator may encounter during the permitting and
operation of their site. Both the permitting and regulatory framework can
change over time. An awareness of current legislation and requirements
is essential for ensuring that the work is in compliance with all applicable
Acts, regulations and bylaws.
4.1 Federal Requirements
Several federal departments enforce Acts that will dictate the actions that
can be undertaken by aggregate operators on public lands. Key federal
Acts include: the Fisheries Act, and the Migratory Birds Convention Act,
which are described in section 4.1.1 and 4.1.2. Operators may also
need to consider the Species at Risk Act, which provides protection for
threatened and endangered species, the Navigable Waters Protection
Act (NWPA), which ensures Canadians the right to passage on Canadian
waterways, and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA),
which applies when an NWPA approval or Fisheries Act approval
Authorization is required or if federal funding is provided on the project.
CEAA can also apply when gravel pits are operating to support the
construction of all-season public highways greater than 50 km in length.
Key federal regulatory requirements that may apply to an aggregate
operation on public lands are described in Table 1. Government contact
information is presented in Appendix A.
9
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Table 1: Federal regulatory requirements that may apply on public land.
Act
Responsible Agency
Description
Fisheries Act
Fisheries & Oceans
Canada
Protects fish and their
habitat across Canada.
Fisheries Act
(Section 36(3))
Environment Canada
Prevents the deposition
of deleterious substances
into fish bearing waters.
Migratory Bird
Convention Act
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protects migratory birds,
their eggs and their nests
from harmful activities.
Species at Risk Act
Environment Canada
Provides protection
for the recovery
of threatened and
endangered species
and encourages the
management of all other
species to prevent them
from becoming at risk.
Navigable Waters
Protection Act
Transport Canada
Protects the publics’
right to navigation in all
navigable waters.
Canadian Environmental
Assessment Act
Environment Canada
Requires any federal
department to conduct
environmental
assessments for
prescribed projects
and activities before
providing federal
approval or financial
support.
4.1.1The Fisheries Act
The Fisheries Act, administered by the Department of Fisheries and
Oceans (DFO), prevents the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction
of fish and fish habitat. It is binding on federal, provincial and territorial
governments. The Act regulates the protection of fish habitat, pollution
prevention, the harvesting of fish, and the safe use of fish. Key provisions
of the Act include:
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• Section 30 requires that water intakes and conveyance structures
are equipped with guards or screens to exclude fish, and allows DFO
to specify screen size and maintenance requirements. Section 32 is a
general prohibition against destroying fish by any means other than
fishing except as authorized by the Minister or under regulations. This
could apply to the use of explosives near water, dewatering activities,
or any other means by which fish may be destroyed.
• Section 35 (1) prohibits any harmful alteration, disruption or
destruction of fish habitat (HADD). Simply stated, this means that an
operator cannot do anything to harm fish habitat. It applies to all fish
habitat in Canada.
• Section 35 (2) establishes that a HADD can occur without violating
Section 35 (1) if the works are authorized by the Minister of DFO.
An important distinction is that a HADD authorization authorizes the
HADD only, not the project6.
• Section 36 (3) prevents the deposition of deleterious substances.
Environment Canada is the lead agency on enforcement of Section 36
(3); however, ultimate authority lies with DFO. Aggregate operations
may require approvals for actions such as road crossings through
streams, or activities that will affect the streambank. Common
substances are silt (Figure 2), fertilizers, hazardous materials,
pesticides, or any other chemical or biological agent that may harm
fish.
Operators should consult DFO to determine if an authorization is required
(Appendix A).
Figure 2. Sediment can smother eggs and prevent streamflow from moving
through streambed material (adapted from: BC Ministry of Land and
Water, 2004).
5
Transportation Association
of Canada 2005
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4.1.2Migratory Birds Convention Act
The Migratory Birds Convention Act, administered by the Canadian
Wildlife Service, protects migratory birds, their eggs and their nests
from harmful activities. The Migratory Birds Convention Act will apply
throughout all stages of an aggregate operation but may be most
applicable during construction, as it is considered an offence to “disturb,
destroy or take a nest, egg, or nest shelter” of any migratory bird
(nesting period is generally early April to late August in most parts of
Canada). Through this Act, efforts are made to protect any site that has
nesting birds, including riparian areas, uplands and wetlands. In addition,
the Act also prevents a person from depositing oil or any other harmful
substance into waters or any area frequented by migratory birds.
Permits may be authorized for the following activities: migratory game
bird hunting, scientific activities, avicultural activities, airport collisions,
taxidermy, eiderdown and other special activities. There are no permits
authorized for disturbing, destroying or taking a nest, egg, or nest shelter
of a migratory bird except for scientific purposes. This legislation strictly
prohibits these activities.
Contact the Canadian Wildlife Service (Appendix A) to determine which
requirements apply to an aggregate operation.
4.2 Provincial Requirements
The Province of Alberta has legislation in place to ensure the longterm viability of Alberta’s environmental interests. Several provincial
departments enforce legislation that will dictate the actions that can be
undertaken by aggregate operations on public land. A list of frequently
applicable provincial legislation is provided in Table 2. Some of the more
commonly used legislative requirements are discussed in sections 4.2.1
through 4.2.6. Aggregate Operators should be familiar with all legislation
which may be applicable to their operation. Government contact
information is provided in Appendix A.
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Table 2: Primary provincial legislative requirements that may be applicable to an aggregate operation on public
land.
Act
Public Lands Act
Responsible
Agency
ASRD
Description
Requires approvals for activities taking place on public land under the
administration of the Minister of ASRD, as well as the beds and shores
of all naturally occurring rivers, streams, watercourses and lakes, under
the administration of the Minister of ASRD.
The Disposition and Fees Regulation grants approvals to extract
aggregate on public land.
Water Act
AENV
Regulates the allocation, protection and conservation of water within
Alberta. The “Code of Practice for Watercourse Crossings” directs all
watercourse crossings and requires that notice be submitted to the
Minister prior to conducting any instream works.
Wildlife Act
ASRD
Prohibits the disturbance of wildlife habitation. The Wildlife Regulation
identifies the wildlife, areas and times of year to which the Act applies.
Forests Act
ASRD
Requires approval for any forest management activity (e.g. timber
harvest) which occurs on public land.
Environmental
Protection and
Enhancement Act
AENV
Requires a review of proposed projects that may cause an adverse
effect on the environment, and the reclamation and conservation of
land. Key regulations that may apply to the operation of pits on private
land include: Conservation and Reclamation Regulations and the
Pesticide Regulation.
The “Code of Practice for Pits” falls under the Conservation and
Reclamation Regulation. It applies to all pits on private land greater
than 5 hectares.
Soil Conservation
Act
Alberta Agriculture
and Rural
Development
Requires that landholders (the occupant or owner of the land) take
appropriate measures to prevent soil loss or deterioration or, if it is
occurring, stop the loss or deterioration from occurring on their land.
Weed Control Act
Alberta Agriculture
and Rural
Development
Governs the legislation of restricted, noxious and nuisance invasive
plant species or weeds.
Alberta Land
Stewardship Act
ASRD
Regional plans will consider the combined impact of all activities on the
land, air, water and biodiversity, and will be developed with advice from
Albertans.
Mines and
Minerals Act
ASRD and Alberta
Energy
Governs the management and disposition of rights in Crown owned
mines and minerals, including the levying and collecting of bonuses,
rentals and royalties.
Historical
Resources Act
Alberta Culture and Purpose is to preserve, protect, and present historical and
Community Spirit
archaeological resources of provincial, national and international
significance.
ERCB D-50
Directive – Water
Pump Off
ASRD
October 28, 2010
Requires that a Temporary Field Authorization be issued prior to
pumping pit water onto public land. Toxicology testing may be required
prior to obtaining a permit.
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4.2.1Environmental Protection
and Enhancement Act
The Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) was
developed to promote and support the protection, enhancement and
wise use of the environment. This Act is the key piece of environmental
protection in Alberta.
Section 60 and 61 prohibit anyone from commencing or continuing
an activity designated by the regulations as requiring an approval or
registration unless they hold the required approval or registration. Pits
less than 5 ha and pits on public land do not require an EPEA approval;
however, pits on public land would require an SML or an SMC under the
Public Lands Act (Section 3.1).
Sub-Sections 108 and 109 of the Act protect against the knowing
release or permit the release of a substance into the environment in
an amount or at a rate of release that is in excess of an approval or a
regulation; or may cause a significant adverse effect.
A substance can include any matter that is capable of becoming dispersed
into the environment, including soil particles from construction activities,
particulate emission, chemicals, or other airborne material. It is the
duty of the person undertaking the construction to provide remedial
activities through repairing or confining the source when a substance is
released into the environment that has caused, is causing, or may cause
an adverse effect. The situation must be rectified to the satisfaction of
Alberta Environment.
If a release does occur it must be reported in person or by telephone 780.427.2700 to Alberta Environment and be followed up by a written
report submitted within 7 days of the verbal report.
Part 6 of the EPEA deals with the conservation and reclamation of land.
Under Section 137 of EPEA, an Aggregate Operator is required to
conserve and reclaim specified land and obtain a reclamation certificate7.
This includes pit operations. Reclamation certificates for pits on public
land are issued by ASRD. The reclamation certification process is
described in the Conservation and Reclamation Regulation.
7
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14
The operator remains
liable for all conservation
and reclamation issues
until they receive a
Reclamation Certificate
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4.2.2Water Act
The Water Act is applicable when a shoreline, surface water and/or
groundwater resource may be affected. Operations on public land have
the potential to affect these resources both onsite (directly) and offsite
(indirectly) which may affect adjacent land and water users. For example,
the Water Act may apply to your operation if:
• water is diverted or removed from the site,
• water is retained, collected, or the pit location falls within a floodplain;
• structures are being proposed for construction on bed and shore for
streams, lakes or rivers; or
• the operation may potentially affect a stream or wetland.
Sections 36(2) and 49(1) of the Act prohibit anyone from carrying out
an activity, diversion of water or operation of a works that are subject to
a Code of Practice unless notice is provided to the director in accordance
with the regulations. This includes the Code of Practice for Watercourse
Crossings which will apply if watercourse crossings are required for site
access8.
In addition, a Water Act approval may be required if a surface waterbody
(such as a lake or pond) is planned as a final reclamation objective end
land-use. With a few exceptions, beds and shores of all permanent and
naturally occurring bodies of water as well as all naturally occurring rivers,
streams, watercourses and lakes are managed by the Crown under the
Public Lands Act9. Requirements under the Public Lands Act are described
in Section 3.1. Operators are encouraged to contact their local ASRD Land
Office as well as notify Alberta Environment for more information about
requirements and exemptions.
4.2.3Wildlife Act
The Wildlife Act protects wildlife and their habitat across Alberta. Under
Section 36 of the Wildlife Act, the disturbance of wildlife habitat is
prohibited. A person must not molest, disturb or destroy a house, nest
or den of any wildlife listed in Section 4 of the Wildlife Act – Wildlife
Regulation or a beaver dam in prescribed areas and at prescribed times,
unless the person is permitted to do so under the Agricultural Pests Act or
the Water Act, a licence authorizing the control of wildlife depredation or
the collection of wildlife, or regulations under the Act.
8
Alberta Transportation 2008
9
Alberta Transportation 2008
October 28, 2010
Section 96 of the Wildlife Act – Wildlife Regulation defines the wildlife,
areas and time of year to which Section 36 of the Act applies. Included
are all endangered wildlife, upland game birds, some migratory birds,
snakes, bats and beavers. For most of the wildlife species included in the
regulation, disturbing the habitat is prohibited across Alberta and for the
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most part of the year. Operators are encouraged to work with ASRD to
determine how this Act will influence the operation of their pit.
4.2.3.1
Rare Species
Rare species are native species that exist in low numbers or in very
restricted areas. Rare plant species and rare plant communities in Alberta
are listed in the Alberta Natural Heritage Information Centre (ANHIC)
tracking list10. The Alberta Natural Heritage Information Centre (ANHIC)
can be contacted to determine if any rare species have been detected
within the proposed project area (Appendix A). ASRD may require a
wildlife inventory to be completed prior to the issuance of a disposition.
Contacting ASRD prior to submitting an application will help identify these
requirements early in the application process. Wildlife inventories for
species at risk concerns are regularly a requirement in Southern Alberta.
4.2.4Weed Control Act
Within the Province of Alberta, the Weed Control Act governs the
legislation of restricted, noxious and nuisance invasive plant species or
weeds. Restricted weeds tend to be limited in distribution and abundance,
typically have not yet become established in the province, and are
required to be destroyed in order to prevent establishment. Noxious
weeds are more prevalent and are well-established in the province, and
as such, require control measures where found.
Section 31 of the Act, requires the occupant or owner of the land to
destroy all restricted weeds and control all noxious and nuisance weeds
to prevent the spread, growth, ripening or scattering of the weeds. A list
of restricted and noxious weeds is found in Table 3.
Section 35 of the Act prohibits the movement of machines or vehicles
that, if moved, would likely cause the spread of restricted, noxious or
nuisance weeds.
Under the current Act there are seven restricted weed species and
23 noxious weed species (Table 3), as well as an additional 36 weed
species classified as nuisance species. Municipalities and Counties within
the Province of Alberta may also upgrade the status of certain weeds
from nuisance to noxious and from noxious to restricted, depending
on the areas’ specific weed issues. Updates may be provided on the
Municipality’s website. Local weed inspectors may be contacted for more
information.
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ANHIC 2000
19 of 111
Cleavers
(Galium purium)
Restricted
Table 3: Alberta Listed Restricted and Noxious Weed Species.
Common Tansy
Leafy Spurge (Euphorbia esula)
Oxeye Daisy
(Chrysanthemum
leucanthemum)
Noxious
(Tanacetum vulgare)
Common Name
Scientific Name
red bartsia
Centaurea serotina
diffuse knapweed
Centaurea diffusa
spotted knapweed
Centaurea maculosa
nodding thistle
Carduus nutans
Eurasian water milfoil
Myriophyllum spicatum
dodder
Cuscuta spp.
yellow star thistle
Centaurea solstitialis
Russian knapweed
Centaurea repens
filed bindweed
Convolvulus arevensis
white cockle
Lychnis alba
bladder campion
Silene cucubalus
false cleavers
Galium aparine
cleavers
Galium spurium
hoary cress
Cardaria spp.
knawel
Scleranthus annuus
perennial sow-thistle
Sonchus arvensis
cypress spurge
Euphorbia esula
stork’s bill
Erodium cicutarium
creeping thistle
Cirsium arvense
toadflax
Linaria vulgaris
Persian darnel
Lolium persicum
scentless chamomile
Matricaria maritima
common tansy
Tanacetum vulgare
blueweed
Echium vulgare
spreading dogbane
Apocynum androsaemifolium
field scabious
Knautia arvensis
hound’s tongue
Cynoglossum officinale
oxeye daisy
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum
tall buttercup
Ranunculus acris
purple loostrife
Lythrum salicaria
Sow Thistle (Sonchus arvensis)
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Nuisance weeds are also defined under the Weed Act. These species can
be found throughout the province and, once introduced to a site, can be
very difficult to eliminate. These species as well as a many other nonnative species can create problems for local ecosystems. For this reason,
it is very important to prevent the introduction of any non-native species
at a site.
4.2.5Historical Resources Act
Historical Resources Act clearances may be required for proposed
aggregate operations if the parcel of land is listed in the Listing of
Significant Historical Sites and Areas and/or potential artefacts have been
observed on the land.
Applications for clearance under the Historical Resources Act must be
submitted to the Heritage Resources Management Branch of Alberta
Culture and Community Spirit. Site work must be conducted by qualified
professionals.
4.2.6Municipal Requirements
Municipal requirements, such as those identified under zoning and landuse bylaws, must be determined and subsequent municipal authority
obtained. Municipalities may require the operator to obtain and hold a
current valid Municipal Development and/or a Municipal Business License
to conduct operations within its’ municipal boundaries. Municipal landuse and zoning plans will identify any potential municipal development
limitations such as hours of operation, buffers, noise, dust, haul routes,
and traffic control. Permit applications are reviewed by the local municipal
planning commission under the authority of the Municipal Government
Act. Operations must be an approved activity within municipal zoning and
the current municipal land-use plans. Municipal bylaws may also provide
provisions intended to manage public safety, material transportation,
stormwater management, public safety public notification, etc. The
specified number of municipal regulatory requirements applicable to a
project must be reviewed and determined on a project by project basis.
The local municipality should be contacted for further information and
details.
4.2.7Multiple Use
The issuance of a disposition to extract aggregate from public land is
just that. A SML disposition issuance, unless otherwise stated, does not
provide the holder permission or rights to any other resource extraction
or altered use of the land. Further, it is the responsibility of the disposition
holder to determine if other dispositions exist for the area and obtain
written consent from the other disposition holder that may be affected
by the lease. These may include Forestry Management Agreement (FMA)
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holders, Commercial Timber Permits (CTP) holders, Grazing Leases
(GRLs) and Fur Management Licences (FMLs). Current and final land-uses
must be discussed with the disposition holder to ensure that they concur
with the plans.
4.2.8Continuous Improvement
It is the expectation of the Alberta Government that operations on
public land, and industry as a whole, will continuously review operating
practices and equipment with the purpose of improving environmental
performance11. Areas of focus for continuous improvement include:
• Minimizing the footprint of the development by applying BMPs;
• Minimizing disturbance to sensitive environments through the use of
buffers and setbacks;
• Minimizing disturbance to onsite vegetation by only clearing the areas
necessary for construction;
• Maximizing resource extraction and utilization through good project
planning;
• Minimizing water use through recycling water and proper planning;
• Reducing dust, noise and contamination to land and water;
• Improving effectiveness of soil handling equipment and processes;
• Maintaining the quality of topsoil through proper stockpiling
techniques;
• Maximizing direct placement of topsoil;
• Maximizing speed of progressive reclamation; and
• Reducing equipment emissions.
11
AENV 2004
October 28, 2010
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5
Reclamation Planning
5.1 Reclamation Plan Development
The objective of reclamation in Alberta is to return disturbed land to a
land capability that is equivalent to, or greater than what existed before.
End land-use must be identified in the CRPB, prior to receiving approval
for an SML. Reclamation is to conform to reclamation criteria of the day.
Anything that varies from criteria needs to be specifically agreed to in
the CRBP. Operators must also receive a Reclamation Certificate upon
completion of their operation. Operators remain liable for all conservation
and reclamation (including site clean-up) issues until a Reclamation
Certificate is received.
End land-uses are site specific and will depend primarily on the predisturbance condition. The choice of an end land-use will depend on the
following factors:
• Regional Limitations – The natural environment surrounding a site
will strongly influence the types of end land-uses that are attainable.
Climate, soil type, and landforms available in the region will influence
the plant types that can grow in the region. Vegetation on reclaimed
land must be self-sustaining under normal management, which
means plant communities becoming established and mature without
an ongoing, external source of nutrients, water, seeds or seedlings.
• Size and Depth of the Pit – In general, if a pit is less than 2
ha, it is recommended that any pit be returned to similar use as
adjacent lands where possible. Shallow pits less than three metres
deep should not be used for fish habitat. Specific information
regarding pit reclamation can be obtained from the “Guideline
for Acquiring Surface Material Dispositions on Public Land”.
• Surrounding Land Uses – The end land-use
should be compatible with adjacent lands.
• Costs – The overall cost may dictate the type of landuse. Applicants must work with ASRD prior to obtaining a
licence or lease to determine the final end land-use. Costs
for conservation and reclamation should be indentified in the
CRBP. It is not appropriate to re-evaluate costs at the end
of a pit life and determine that conservation and reclamation
plans are cost prohibitive. Pit end land-uses must be identified
in the CRBP and adhered to at the end of a pit life.
Table 4 provides a list of possible end land-uses based on the region
where the work is occurring.
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Wetland
Waterbody
Wildlife
Habitat
Forestry
Native
Grassland
Table 4: Possible end land-uses for each of the four natural regions (adapted from
Green et al 1992).
Grassland
P
P
Aspen Parkland
P
P
P
P
P
P
Boreal Forest
P
P
Foothills
P
P
P
Reclaimed sites must also be self-sustaining over the long-term and able
to recover from natural disturbances such as fire, floods or drought at
a rate similar to representative undisturbed land. The following section
describes three commonly used end land-uses.
5.2 Planning End Land Uses Up Front
5.2.1Native Grasslands
Native grasslands are defined as grasslands where the dominant
vegetation features comprise native grass species and associated forbs
and woody species, and occur in one of the natural subregions. In some
cases, native grasslands may be modified because of disturbance and
include a percentage of non-native species. The end-goal for native
grasslands is to be planned, protected, used, managed, reclaimed, and
monitored to ensure it is sustainable, healthy and functional native
grassland.
For native grasslands being disturbed and reclaimed using adapted and
representative native species or cultivars, the reclamation pathway and
end-goal is the same as above. The use of short-lived, agronomic species
(annuals and short-lived perennials) may be included to obtain quick
germination and establishment, and control erosion. These short-lived
species must not interfere with the long-term establishment of native
species. For example, long-lived native sod forming perennial grass
should be avoided as these would also interfere with establishment of
native species.
The reclamation assessment of native grassland requires knowledge
of the natural subregion in which the native grassland is located,
and it’s associated native plant communities, environmental and site
parameters. This knowledge and adjacent control information will guide
the reclamation assessment planning and decisions on reclamation
certification. In native grassland communities, the desired outcome is
almost always to return the land to pre-disturbance land-use.
Reclamation Planning
October 28, 2010
22
Factors Affecting
Grassland Restoration
•Plant selection
•Soil type
•Planting technique
(drill)
•Time of year
•Seeding rate
•Site preparation
•Seed quality
•Site Maintenance
•Soil Moisture
Source: Hays 2005
24 of 111
When selecting native seed mixes, contact the local ASRD representative.
The “Native Plant Revegetation Guidelines for Alberta12” and the
“Petroleum Industry Activity in Native Prairie and Parkland Areas
Guidelines for Minimizing Surface Disturbance13” are excellent publications
which can guide the restoration of native grasslands. There are now at
least four native seed dealers in Western Canada who supply native grass
and flower seed from Canadian locations14. Always insist on using native
genetic stock that is certified weed free. Some suppliers will package
seed that contains non-native species that can become established weed
species in Alberta.
5.2.2Forested Lands
Successful reclamation of forested landscapes assumes the establishment
of woody and herbaceous forest plant communities (forest trees and
plants). The goal is to develop the site to match pre-existing conditions.
Equivalent capability for forested landscapes is defined by ASRD as “the
condition in which ecosystem processes are functioning in a manner that
will support the production of ecosystem goods and services consistent in
quality and quantity as was present prior to disturbance”.
Forested land reclamation will involve management of three factors:
• Landscape: For forested lands, surface and subsurface
drainage should be consistent with the surrounding
landscape and the landscape of the reclaimed site must
not pose a negative impact to site capability.
• Soil: Topsoil conservation and replacement in reclamation is key
to providing nutrients for plant development and a foundation of
re-establishing a functioning ecosystem. Assurances that topsoil
has been conserved and redistributed satisfactorily is now required
in order for a Reclamation Certificate to be issued by ASRD.
12
Native Plant Working
Group 2001
13
Native Prairie Guidelines
Working Group 2002
14
Trottier 2002
15
Beckingham and
Archibald 1996
16
Bechingham et al 1996
17
Archibald et al 1996
October 28, 2010
• Vegetation: Revegetation must meet reclamation standards of
the day. Under the current standards, a properly reclaimed site
should contain the presence of both herbaceous and woody species
that are distributed across the site. The assemblage of woody
species should indicate development of an early successional
community for the target forest type as described the “Field
Guide to Ecosites of Northern Alberta15, West-Central Alberta16”
or “Southwestern Alberta17”. Restricted and noxious weeds must
be controlled as per current provincial and municipal weed control
regulations. Non-native species are to be used only where their
benefits to site properties are known and the species are part of a
plan to improve and/or stabilize a site. These species should not
be persistent and cannot be used to contribute to meeting the
vegetation goals. For example, the use of agronomic annuals for
early erosion control is an appropriate use of non-native species.
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5.2.3Wildlife Habitat
The relative value of a reclaimed site for wildlife habitat is determined by
the following:
• Its contribution to the overall food, cover, and space
requirements of indigenous wildlife species;
• The degree to which diverse and productive, pre-disturbance
natural vegetation communities and habitat types are reestablished, including wetlands and open waterbodies; and
• The degree to which pre-disturbance and special habitat features
are re-established, such as natural mineral licks, cliffs and caves.
In planning to re-establish wildlife habitat, the surrounding vegetation
types should be examined and the types of wildlife habitat that are in the
operating area should be discussed with the local ASRD representative.
The wildlife species and associated habitats of management concern
should be identified by referring to land use guidelines that have been
developed for selected wildlife species and key wildlife areas. ASRD has
a series of Wildlife Land Use Guideline publications for species such as
mountain goat, trumpeter swan and key ungulate areas to name a few18.
The following standards must be met during activities:
• Wildlife dens or nests should not be destroyed or disturbed,
particularly for endangered or at-risk species.
• All restrictions for wildlife control areas and seasonal sanctuaries
should be followed (i.e., surface access and specific types of
activities that are restricted during specific times of the year).
• All restrictions for surface access and specific types of activities
within habitat conservation areas should be followed (see
Wildlife Act and regulations, and associated management
plans for individual habitat conservation areas).
18
Reclamation Planning
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24
Guidelines may be
obtained from the
ASRD website
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5.2.4Wetlands
Most aggregate pits will have a large end pit that will remain at the end
of gravel extraction. In most cases, sufficient overburden will not be
available to fill in the pit. If gravel excavation has occurred below the
existing groundwater table, there may be an opportunity to create a small
pond or wetland.
Wetlands provide several important uses and functions:
• Water storage;
• Groundwater recharge;
• Flood control (by detention or depression storage);
• Storm runoff control;;
• Water treatment;
• Carbon storage;
• Trapping of fur-bearers;
• Fishing and waterfowl hunting; and
• Recreation.
The reclamation of gravel pits to wetlands requires an awareness of the
regulatory and planning policies of the region. These include legislated
obligations (Alberta Water Act, Alberta and Environmental Protection
and Enhancement Act), management strategies (i.e., the Water for Life
Strategy) and regional planning. The purpose of a wetlands restoration
is to create an initial condition for wetland establishment. A useful source
of information for creating wetlands in the boreal forest region is the
“Guideline for Wetland Establishment on Reclaimed Oil Sands Leased
Revised19”.
19
Harris 2007
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6
Best Management
Practices
Best management practices (BMPs) are non-regulatory management
and operational approaches based on past experiences. If followed,
they should allow the operator to not only meet the required standards,
and also prevent or mitigate any undesirable environmental effects or
unforeseen complications associated with aggregate extraction. The
underlying principle of BMPs is continual improvement. BMPs should be
used appropriately and under the right circumstances. They can be used
independently or in combination. It is up to the operator to use their
best judgement to determine when the application of a BMP is safe and
appropriate. Site operators are encouraged to use a combination of the
BMPs presented in this document, as appropriate for their operation, to
ensure a high level of protection for the community and the environment.
This section of the manual provides examples of BMPs that can be applied
to mitigate common environmental concerns associated with aggregate
extraction on Public Land. The BMPs presented in this manual are based
on four main principles:
Planning – Plan Ahead! Operations should be planned to efficiently
extract the resource and progressively reclaim the pit20. Utilize the BMPs
presented in the manual or other BMPs that may not be included in the
manual as applicable to plan activities during the development of the
CRBP.
Scheduling – Schedule activities so that they coincide with the optimal
period for undertaking the activity. For example, schedule site preparation
activities such as creating roads and ditches during dry periods.
Vegetation Management – Vegetation management is critical for
managing erosion and sedimentation on a site. It is a cost effective way
to manage noise, dust and visual concerns. Maintain as much vegetation
onsite as possible.
Soil Conservation – Use erosion and sediment control options to
conserve soil. Topsoil should never leave the site and should be stored
and managed properly onsite.
6.1 Planning and Site Development
Proper site planning is in everyone’s best interest. A well developed
CRBP will increase the efficiency and profitability of the operation. In
some cases, project planning is the most critical phase for developing
an operation. A well planned site will ensure that any disturbances
to adjacent lands are minimized, while hazards such as dust, water
contamination, and erosion will be mitigated or completely avoided.
20
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The first step in planning an operation involves collecting and reviewing
information that may be available concerning existing site conditions21.
Prior to applying for an SML, evidence of surface material type and
quantity must be verified. To properly outline and describe the resource,
a Surface Exploration Permit (or SME) is strongly recommended. The SME
should delineate the aggregate reserve and other important subsurface
parameters. More information regarding the developing the SME is
available in the “Guidelines for Acquiring Surface Material Dispositions on
Public Land22”. The SME should identify the groundwater conditions at the
site. If aggregate is to be mined below the water table, then an approval
may be required under the Water Act. A Temporary Field Authorization
(TFA) may also be required if pit water has to be discharged outside the
operating area. Field investigations will be required to obtain the data for
the SME.
Information is also required for the land use investigation, which
identifies land-use dispositions, municipal zoning restrictions and other
land-use activities. Examples include timber permits and First Nations
considerations. Information regarding the biophysical resources within the
project area must also be presented. Any SML and CRBP submission must
provide information about the environmental resources in the project
area and identify any positive or negative changes that the operation may
have on the resources. Environmental resources include:
• Fish and wildlife habitat;
• Vegetation and soil;
• Groundwater and surface water features; and
• Historical, archaeological and paleontological features.
In many cases, changes to the environmental resource can be
addressed through the application of mitigation measures. Applicants
are encouraged to apply the BMPs presented in this manual to address
mitigation of environmental resources.
• Location of the Pit – This will be determined by the location of
the deposit and any sensitive environmental features such as a
watercourse.
• Size, Shape and Depth – Overburden distribution and groundwater
depth will largely determine the size and depth of the operation.
• Buffer Zones – Undisturbed buffer zones must be incorporated
into the site plan along property boundaries, road allowances and to
protect sensitive areas. Buffers are typically required around property
boundaries and sensitive areas. These buffers will be determined by
ASRD based on the sensitivity of the feature. For example, a 100 m
buffer may be required by ASRD around any sensitive waterways.
Site specific conditions will define appropriate buffer size. Buffers are
discussed further in Section 6.2.2 and Appendix B.
Best Management Practices
October 28, 2010
28
21
Green et al 1992
22
ASRD 2007
29 of 111
• Stockpile Sites – Stockpile sites should be identified before clearing
and extraction begins. Long-term storage of topsoil should minimize
the number of times the stockpile is moved (See Section 6.3.6 for
more tips on topsoil stockpiling). Topsoil and subsoil should be stored
separately to reduce the chance for soils to be mixed (topsoil is
valuable reclamation material!). The total area required for stockpiling
can be determined using soil depth data and can occur during the
planning stage.
• Site Drainage – The goal of a good site drainage plan is to divert the
water around the site to minimize the amount of water in the pit. A
drainage management plan may involve the construction of ditches
and sediment ponds (see Erosion and Sediment Control discussion
in Section 6.6). These must be identified up front. A licence will be
required from Alberta Environment to discharge any water into a
natural watercourse or waterbody. A Temporary Field Authorization
may be required to discharge onto adjacent land.
• Progressive Reclamation – Progressive reclamation practices must
be applied to all sites. Progressive reclamation practices will reduce
double handling of soil and maintain the viability of topsoil stockpiles.
• Native Vegetation – Native vegetation must be used during
all reclamation and revegetation activities. Work with an ASRD
representative to determine the best source for weed-free seed.
• Work with your Local ASRD Representative – Most issues related
to material extraction, potential land-use conflicts and environmental
considerations are site specific. It is important to contact your local
ASRD representative up-front to identify any potential issues as well
as discuss potential mitigation for environmental considerations.
Working with ASRD from the beginning can reduce the amount of
time required to process a permit.
6.2 Vegetation
6.2.1Clearing and Grubbing
Timber salvage and grubbing occurs as a first step for developing a
site. Trees and vegetation are salvaged and grubbed to allow for the
development of roads, buildings, stockpiling sites and the pit. Applicants
should contact the Alberta Natural Heritage Information Centre (ANHIC)
to determine whether any rare plants occur within the site area. Any
timing restrictions (i.e., migratory birds or species at risk restrictions)
must be identified up front and salvage and grubbing activities should
take place around those restrictions.
All merchantable timber should be salvaged. SML holders are required to
determine ownership or rights to the timber resource before proceeding
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with timber removal. If an existing timber licence or permit authority does
not exist within the SML boundary, the SML holder must contact ASRD to
obtain one of the following:
• Obtain a Permit - A Local Timber Permit (LTP) or Commercial
Timber Permit (CTP); or
• Request a Waiver - Request a waiver of the timber resource
by ASRD. A waiver can be obtained if the timber is either nonmerchantable or insufficient economic volume of merchantable timber
for waiver consideration.
If a licence for the timber resource does exist, then the timber rights
holder must be contacted by the SML holder to coordinate the timber
harvest with the development of the gravel operation. A consultation
should occur between the SML holder and timber license holder including
harvesting entity, where log decks shall be placed, transport and removal
of logs, etc. The SML may also be required to pay the timber licence
holder for the loss of timber prior to development of the site. The timber
planning component phase should be completed prior to commencement
of SML field operations. It is in the best interest of the SML holder to
coordinate timber operations with the timber rights holder, ensuring
operational compatibility for both disposition holders.
It is recommended that timber be put to some beneficial use or that
operators dispose of it by sale or gift23. Timber may be retained for
another stage of the operation and large woody debris is sometimes
used as fish habitat when the proposed end land-use is a waterbody24. If
the lease holder wishes to burn the excess roots and stumps, then they
may require a burn permit from ASRD. Unburned grubbing should never
be buried, as decomposing material can create a void which can cause
serious problems in the future.
The following are examples of BMPs that can be used during the clearing
and grubbing stage of an operation.
6.2.2Site Preparation
• All surveyed dispositions legal boundaries should be clearly marked
and visible.
• The CRBP should identify which areas will be cleared, the location and
extent of any buffers and setbacks, as well as how grubbing material
can be used onsite.
• Awareness of buffer and setback locations can prevent any
unnecessary disturbance within these areas. Identify buffers and
setbacks on a map or flag these areas prior to development. Maps
can be provided to machine operators or reviewed during tailgate
meetings.
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23
Stated in section
150 of the Timber
Management Regulations
of the Forest Act.
24
Waterbodies as end
land-uses require
approval from AENV.
31 of 111
Buffers
What is a Riparian Buffer?
Riparian buffer zones
are strips of permanent
vegetation adjacent to
stream, rivers and lakes.
They are transitional
areas between aquatic
ecosystems and upland
ecosystems.
Why are Riparian Buffers
so Important?
• The final width of the buffer will be determined by ASRD and in
some cases can be as wide as 200 metres, depending on the type
of waterbody. Buffers may be required around wildlife corridors
and other sensitive areas. Site specific conditions will define the
appropriate buffer size.
• A three metre wide buffer is required around the property boundary.
Wind
Sun
•Improve water
quality by filtering
out sediment
and pollutants
•Maintain cool water
by shading streams
and rivers. This is
critical for many fish
species in Alberta.
Cover
Shade
•Roots of vegetation
will stabilize banks
and prevent erosion.
•Provide habitat for
a large variety of
plant and animal
species both on land
and in the water.
How wide should it be?
The appropriate buffer
width will depend on the
region and the plants
and animals that inhabit
the area. For example,
a study by Darveau et al
(1995) determined that
50 metre wide buffers
were for forest dwelling
bird species. Buffer strips
of at least 30 metre wide
allowed for the normal
development of salmonids
eggs by reducing
sedimentation.
Source: Fisher and
Fieschenich 2000
25
AENV 2004
26
ASRD 2007
October 28, 2010
Wildlife
migration
Large woody
debris
Figure 3: A riparian buffer can improve water quality, shade streams, and
provide habitat for many terrestrial and aquatic species.
Setbacks
• Extraction setbacks may be recommended to further protect buffer
zones. The extraction setback should be equal to the average depth
of the pit multiplied by 1.5 for property boundaries where a 3:1
slope is to be established. Further guidance on extraction setbacks
is available in the “Code of Practice for Pits25” and the “Guidelines for
Acquiring Surface Material Dispositions on Public Land26”.
• Extraction setbacks may be required around sensitive features such
as waterbodies, riparian buffers, wetlands, coulees, river valleys, rare
landforms, rare plants and sensitive or important wildlife areas. ASRD
wildlife and fisheries biologists will determine where setbacks are
necessary and how large they will be.
31
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Erosion and Sediment Control
• Proper erosion and sediment control techniques should be used to
minimize soil loss during clearing and grubbing (see Section 6.6 for
more information on erosion and sediment management). Clearing
vegetation and timber exposes soil, making it more susceptible to
erosion.
Clearing
• Clearing and grubbing should only occur where absolutely necessary.
Standing vegetation and ground cover is useful for filtering surface
runoff sediment, blocking noise and wind, camouflaging activities and
maintaining a visually appealing site. Dead trees and snags can act as
important wildlife habitat and should not be cleared unless necessary.
• In some instances (e.g., rough fescue prairie), native plant
communities are difficult to re-establish. Leaving as much vegetation
on site as possible will reduce reclamation costs and improve
reclamation success.
6.2.3 Salvage
• Determine ahead of time how, and by whom, timber should be
salvaged. It is the responsibility of the lease holder to know whether
there is an existing timber licence or FMA holder for the project area.
• Lease holders are encouraged to work with their local ASRD
representative to determine the proper use for salvaged timber.
6.2.4Grubbing
• Depending on the region, grubbing may be required after the timber
salvage is complete. Large diameter material (>2.5 cm) should be
removed by grubbing prior to soil salvage.
• Grubbing is typically not required in grass dominated landscapes,
as large diameter woody material is not present on these sites. Any
small woody debris can be salvaged with topsoil at grassy sites.
• Grubbing should be done in frozen or dry conditions, so as not to
compact top soil.
• Avoid grubbing within 2 m of any standing timber to prevent damage
to remaining root systems.
• Consider future use of grubbed material. Grubbing material can
be used as access restricting roll back, and can provide assistance
with stabilizing soils and slopes, moisture retention, developing
wildlife micro-sites, building site bio-mass, and nutrient recycling
during reclamation. In some instances it is not desirable to maintain
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grubbing material onsite. Work with an ASRD representative to
determine the best use for these materials.
6.2.5Disposal
• ASRD encourages all disposition holders to maintain all grubbing
materials onsite to be stored for later use during reclamation or
disposed of onsite.
• Some operators mulch/slash non-merchantable timber into coarse
mulched material or coarse wood chips. Alberta Sustainable
Resources Development (ASRD) has published a directive called
“Management of Wood Chips on Public Land (2009)”. Please refer to
this directive for additional direction on how to manage wood chips on
public land.
• Operators may choose to burn grubbing materials. Municipal and
provincial restrictions may apply throughout the year. A provincial
burning permit is required within the green zone between April 1
and October 30. It is important to check with a local ASRD office for
restrictions, prior to burning.
• Long-term onsite storage may be an option and should be identified
in the CRBP. Long-term storage sites must meet the fire protection
standards for wildfire hazard abatement in the Forest and Prairie
Protection Regulations Parts 1 & 2, under the Forest and Prairie
Protection Act.
• Cleared and grubbed materials should remain away from drainage
areas so as to not block drainage.
6.2.6Revegetation
Once the site has been contoured and soils have been replaced,
vegetation should be established as soon as possible. Depending on the
end land use, efforts must be made to cover exposed soil with native
vegetation to eliminate future erosion and sedimentation issues.
Planning
• It is important to consider establishment rates for different species.
• A revegetation plan must be identified in the CRBP. Applicants must
review the “Native Plant Revegetation Guidelines for Alberta27” when
developing a revegetation plan.
Timing
27
Native Plant Working
Group 2001
October 28, 2010
• Revegetation of disturbed areas should be phased to limit exposed
soil areas at any one time.
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Seed Source
• Seed and stock for grasses, legumes, shrubs and trees should also be
obtained from local sources whenever practical.
• Store bought seed sources should be certified weed free to avoid
introducing weeds to the area.
Erosion and Sediment Control
• An initial cover of barley, rye or flax in conjunction with an ASRD
approved grass/forb mix should be planted immediately for erosion
control and long-term stability. Trees and shrubs can be planted as
needed.
• Temporary revegetation should be considered to minimize erosion
along road cuts and ditches. Lining ditches with grass can reduce
water velocities and filter sediment (Section 6.6 and Appendix B).
Weed Management
• Noxious and restricted weed control should be undertaken as
required.
• Efforts should be made to ensure that non-native species are not
introduced to the site.
6.3 Weed Management
Weed management is a serious concern within the province of Alberta.
The Weed Control Act of Alberta governs the legislation of restricted,
noxious and nuisance invasive plant species or weeds. A list of noxious
and nuisance weeds is presented in Section 4.2.4. Aggregate operations
are particularly susceptible to weed establishment, as disturbed soils
are often left exposed. Exposed soils offer excellent conditions for weed
establishment. Weeds can be transported to aggregate sites as equipment
is brought in from other sites. Weeds can be introduced on-site through
the use of seed mixes to stabilize soils. These products should always be
certified weed free.
An SML provides the lease holder the authority to operate on public land.
With this authority the lease holder accepts the legal responsibility to
control weeds within the project area. This responsibility includes:
• Destroy, Control and Prevent – The lease holder must destroy all
restricted weeds, control all noxious weeds (Table 3), and prevent the
spread of nuisance weeds.
• Prevent the Introduction – The lease holder must not introduce
any weeds to a site through the use of seed or by way of equipment.
• Weed-Free Seed – The lease holder must use first class seed that is
free of weeds.
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The following BMPs can help prevent the spread or establishment of
weeds during the course of an operation.
• Any weed species at, or near, the site should be documented and
reported in the CRBP. Photographs should be taken of any weed
species.
• If possible, check for weed species on adjacent lands to determine
weed species presence. This can become important if conflicts arise
about the introduction of a weed species.
• Municipalities can upgrade the status of a weed species. Check with
the Municipality for any changes to the weed list.
• Operators can contact the local weed inspector to determine which
weed species are present in the area.
6.3.1Prevention
Limit Disturbance
• Attempts can be made to limit disturbance to soil wherever possible.
Weeds will often establish in disturbed soils.
Equipment
• All equipment working on the site should be cleaned of mud and
vegetation (via steam cleaning or high-pressure power washing) prior
to moving onto the work area or moving to another site, to avoid
transferring or introducing non-native or undesirable species and
organisms to the site. Should an area of high weed infestation be
encountered, re-clean construction vehicles and equipment prior to
advancing to a weed-free area.
Topsoil
• Seed subsoil and overburden stockpiles can prevent weed invasion;
however, seeding topsoil in forested areas may limit the opportunity
for native species to establish on stockpiles. Seeding should not
be the first option for upland surface soils. Topsoil should be left to
revegetate naturally.
• Do not bring topsoil from another site. Manage topsoil throughout the
life of an operation so that it can be used during reclamation.
Weed-Free Seed Mixes
• Certified weed-free seed mixes and mulch should be used to seed
stockpiles and stabilize soils after disturbance. Retain the analysis
certificate in case a dispute arises concerning weeds.
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Revegetation
• By implementing revegetation of disturbed areas as soon as possible
following construction, operators will minimize the amount of time
soil is left exposed and reduce the chances that weeds become
established.
6.3.2Maintenance
• A weed maintenance program throughout the life of the pit can
reduce the spread of existing weed species. More information
regarding controlling the spread of invasive weeds can be found
at the Government of Alberta’s Agriculture and Rural Development
website http://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/
Mowing
• Mowing weeds prior to flowering can prevent them from spreading.
• Do not apply fertilizer to reclaimed areas with known weed
infestations, because nutrients can enhance the growth of weeds.
6.4 Soil
Conservation of soil is necessary for restoring ecological structure to
a site during reclamation. The conservation of topsoil is also required
by law; topsoil conservation is required under the Conservation and
Reclamation Regulation under EPEA and the Soil Conservation Act. For
this reason, salvage and subsequent storage of the soil requires planning
and commitment. The ultimate goal during soil salvage and stockpiling is
to preserve the original quantity and quality of the topsoil so that land can
be restored to a productive state for future use.
6.4.1What is Topsoil?
Topsoil is the uppermost layer of the soil. It is defined as the “A horizon”
under the “Canadian System of Soil Classification28”. Topsoil is generally
much darker and has a much higher organic content than the deeper
subsoil. Topsoil is the most fertile portion of soil, as it is nutrient rich and
contains microorganisms and seeds which are really important factors
for vegetation growth. It takes approximately 500 years, under natural
conditions, to produce an inch of topsoil and for this reason it must be
considered a very valuable resource. In forested areas, topsoil includes
the forest floor, the organic or duff layer. The organic layer also known as
the “O horizon” is the organic materials that occur from the accumulation
of leaves, twigs, and woody materials which overlies a mineral soil.
28
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October 28, 2010
36
Agriculture and AgriFood Canada. 1998
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6.4.2What is Subsoil?
The subsoil, or “B horizon”, as defined by the “Canadian System of Soil
Classification29” is a mineral layer which is formed as minerals are leached
from the topsoil layer. Subsoil is located beneath the topsoil but above
the overburden or bedrock. Plant roots may penetrate through this layer;
however, it is much less productive but much deeper than the topsoil.
Subsoil is typically brownish or red in colour because of the clay and iron
oxides that wash down from the topsoil layer. In the prairie regions of
Alberta, subsoil can vary in colour and is often indistinguishable from the
topsoil by colour.
6.4.3What is Overburden?
The overburden layer is located below the subsoil layer but above the
aggregate deposit. This layer may contain large clusters of un-weathered
cobble and boulders and is often described as “waste” rock. Overburden
materials can be useful as fill and a contouring material during
reclamation.
6.4.4How Can Soil Loss Occur
During an Operation?
Before aggregates are extracted from the earth, the soil and overburden
are removed and stored onsite for future use. During the removal and
storage of the soil, there is potential for topsoil loss to occur. Topsoil
losses can occur through:
• poor or incomplete salvage;
• mixing topsoil and less productive subsoils or overburden during the
salvage;
• erosion of topsoil piles throughout the operation by wind or water;
• missing topsoil piles as they can become buried under aggregate
stockpiles;
• missing topsoil piles as locations are not mapped and location
information is lost;
• theft of topsoil from the site; and
• contamination of topsoil by oil from machinery or aggregate byproducts. This may include human created contaminants or natural
contaminants such as sulphides or salts.
29
Agriculture and AgriFood Canada. 1998
October 28, 2010
Soil must be properly managed throughout the operation and should be
returned to the disturbed land once the operation is complete. Properly
managing soil throughout the life of an operation will improve the chances
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of successfully reclaiming the land. Without proper topsoil salvage and
storage, operators may find themselves with a shortage for covering
regraded areas during reclamation.
The following BMPs can be used to maintain the quality of topsoil at
a site. Remember that not all BMPs will apply and it is the job of the
operator to determine which ones will work best at a site.
6.4.5Soil Salvage
Soil Assessment and Mapping
• A soil assessment will describe the kind, extent, depth, location, and
quality of topsoil, subsoil and the overburden within the proposed
operation area. Topsoil texture should be described using “The
System of Soil Classification for Canada, Third Edition30”. Depths of
soil types, including topsoil, subsoil and overburden, will determine
salvage depths. The soil type and quality will also help determine the
end-use for the site.
• Topsoil “depth variability checks” is a useful tool for planning soil
salvage depth in areas where soil may be unusually thick or thin.
These are completed by taking several auger cores in a 3 metre circle
regular pattern throughout the site.
• The volumes of topsoil and subsoil can be estimated through a soil
pre-site assessment and will assist in determining the best methods
for removing and storing soil. The volume of soil will determine
where it is stored (i.e., how much area will be needed).
• The soil assessment and soil map should be created by a qualified
soil specialist, someone who has experience working with soils31. The
specialist should:
• Use an appropriate inspection density as outlined in the “Soil Quality
Criteria Relative to Disturbance and Reclamation (Revised)32”;
• Conduct inventory at the proper time (e.g. avoid frozen conditions, do
not survey in the dark); and
• Use soil descriptions and classifications as outlined in “The System of
Soil Classification for Canada, Third Edition33”.
• The extent of overburden and aggregate deposit should be
determined using auger drilling, backhoe test pitting, or both.
The CRBP should contain information regarding thickness of topsoil,
subsoil, overburden and aggregate. This information should be used to
direct soil salvage and storage needs. This information will also be used to
set reclamation goals.
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38
30
Agriculture and AgriFood Canada, 1998
31
AENV 1999
32
Alberta Soils Advisory
Committee, 1993
33
Agriculture and AgriFood Canada, 1998
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Figure 4: Topsoil, subsoil and overburden should be removed separately.
Timing
• It is best not to carry out topsoil salvage when the soil contains
excessive moisture. Generally, if the soil sticks to the equipment, it
is too wet to salvage. In wet areas, where the soil is permanently
saturated, soil should generally be salvaged when it is under frozen
conditions.
• In dry areas with dry soils, topsoil salvage is most effectively carried
out when the ground is not frozen. It is much more difficult to salvage
topsoil separately from the underlying subsoil when the surface is
frozen.
6.4.6Stripping
• Soil must only be stripped from areas that will be disturbed by the
operation such as the pit area, roads, and storage areas.
• If the topsoil layer is less than 15 cm thick, then a minimum of 15
cm of material should be salvaged unless part of the material is not
suitable for use during reclamation (e.g., bedrock or gravel).
• In forested areas, topsoil can be salvaged with the organic or “duff”
layer of material on the forest floor.
• Topsoil, subsoil and overburden must be salvaged and stored
separately. Mixing the layers will affect the quality of the topsoil and
your reclamation success.
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• Topsoil salvage depths should be determined prior to stripping.
Topsoil salvage depths will vary depending on where the operation is
located across the province. For example, mountainous areas may
have very little topsoil.
• A test trench can be dug prior to salvage to visually assess the depth
of the topsoil and subsoil layers. Pedestals, which are small islands of
topsoil, can be left throughout the salvage area to verify soil removal
depth.
• Topsoil should be salvaged at least 5 metres ahead of all pit faces;
subsoil should be salvaged 3 metres ahead of all pit faces. This
buffered area will ensure that topsoil does not slough into the pit.
Salvage distance around the pit should be greater than 5 metres if
the pit face is unstable or rapidly advancing.
• Pit walls should be sloped as approved in the CRBP as soon as
possible to minimize the amount of time they are left at a vertical
drop.
• On-site supervision, by technically qualified soil personnel, during
topsoil salvage operations can improve the identification of the soil
layers (topsoil vs. subsoil) and improve stripping control.
• Stripping should be discontinued if groundwater is encountered and
was not anticipated and identified in the CRBP. ASRD and AENV
should be notified as permits may be required under the Water Act.
6.4.7Soil Stockpiling
Using the soil assessment results and SME test data, estimate ahead of
time how much topsoil, subsoil and overburden are present at the site.
The volumes of topsoil and subsoil can be determined through a soil
assessment and will assist in determining the best methods for removing
and storing soil. The volume of soil will dictate where it is stored based
on the space required (assume maximum 5m soil stockpile height).
Drainage
• When stripping a surface for the soil stockpile, create a smooth,
slightly sloped area to promote drainage. Soil stockpiles are best
situated on level or gently sloped ground <5% which will encourage
drainage from the piles.
Location
• Piling soil in a windrow formation (as opposed to a conical mass) will
reduce soil compaction, slope failure hazards and promote wildlife
movement. Conical piling is appropriate for overburden piles.
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• Breaks within the windrows at 100 m intervals are sufficient for
providing surface drainage and exit routes.
• It is recommended that no more than 50% of the perimeter contain
continuous berm.
• When choosing a location to store your soil, look for areas without
merchantable aggregate. This will avoid having to move the
stockpiles twice and reduce the chance of soils becoming compacted.
• Consider storing topsoil on the leeward side of the active pit, or where
possible to avoid wind erosion.
• Practice progressive reclamation. Re-spreading is easier and more
economical when topsoil is stockpiled in small stockpiles close to the
area where it will be used.
• Select stockpile locations that are away from construction areas, high
traffic areas, slope, natural drainage areas and out of the wind. Wind
and water can erode the storage piles and result in a loss of soil. High
traffic areas can create wind and cause erosion.
• Prevent traffic from driving over soil stockpiles. Loaders should load
and unload from the bottom of the pile. The weight of the vehicles
on the stockpile will increase compaction of the soil and reduce the
overall quality of the soil.
• Keep soil stockpiled within the permitted area.
• Topsoil, subsoil and overburden must be stored separately. Mixing
the layers will affect the quality of the topsoil and your reclamation
success.
Identification
• Identify soil stockpile locations in the site plan. Make sure to clearly
identify topsoil sites separately from subsoil and overburden piles.
• Stock piles should be clearly labeled with signs on site as well.
Height
• Thin, vegetated soil stockpiles up to 5 metres are recommended
for maintaining topsoil quality. Stockpiles 1.5 metres high will stay
healthy for up to a year; after that the structure and chemical
composition can gradually deteriorate It is best to minimize the
amount of time that topsoil remains stockpiled.
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Erosion Protection
• Subsoil and overburden stockpiles should be seeded to stabilize
the pile. Vegetating stockpile will help maintain the viability of the
soil. Soil stockpiles should be seeded, if possible, within 30 days
of forming the stockpile. Upland surface soils (i.e. forest floor plus
topsoil) should be allowed to naturally revegetate.
• If storing soil stockpiles for short periods of time (i.e. < than 1 year)
use an annual cover crop for seeding. Contact ASRD to determine
which seed type is best suited for the region.
• If storing soil stockpiles for a longer period of time (i.e. > than 1
year), seed stockpiles with an approved final reclamation species that
can establish for longer periods of time. ASRD staff can assist with
choosing appropriate seed types.
• Tarpaulins can be used to temporarily protect stockpiles.
• If erosion will be a potential issue, use sediment barriers to prevent
the topsoil from leaving the site. Silt fences, mulches, tarpaulins, can
all be used to prevent erosion. The goal is to minimize the loss of soil
through erosion and prevent soil from leaving the site. Erosion control
is explained in further detail in Section 6.6.
6.4.8Soil Replacement
• Soil should be replaced in a manner that creates a reconstructed
soil of equal or greater productive capacity than the pre-disturbance
condition.
Timing
• Avoid moving soil during adverse or wet periods. Moving soil when
it is wet can cause unnecessary compaction and reduce reclamation
success.
Site Preparation
• Grade the surface as needed to prepare the site.
• Loosen the earth, by scarifying to a depth of 50 - 150 mm before
covering with the next layer, which will reduce compaction and
hardening.
• Decompacting the subsoil (i.e. overburden or subsoil) by ripping prior
to topsoil replacement will increase infiltration of surface water, and
creating a better root zone to improve reclamation success.
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Soil Replacement
• Ensure that subsoil and topsoil are replaced in the reverse order that
they were removed (e.g. poor quality overburden, reject material and
fine sediment should be placed directly in the pit and can be used
around the site for grading and contouring). Topsoil should always go
on top.
• All salvage soils and overburden must be replaced. At least 0.5 - 1
metres of better quality material (higher quality overburden, subsoil
or topsoil) should be placed above the poor quality material (gravel)
to ensure the establishment of a suitable root zone.
• Equipment operators should be aware of compaction issues. Loading
from the base of the stockpile, when using tracked or wheeled
loaders, will reduce compaction.
• Using the soil map as a guide, redistribute soil uniformly to predisturbance thickness.
• Use the following Table 5 to determine the volume of topsoil required
to various depths.
Table 5: Volumes of topsoil required for replacing various depths
(Source: BC Ministry of Energy and Mines)
Depth (mm)
Cubic Metres per 100
square metres
Cubic Metres per
Hectare
25
2.5
250
50
5.0
500
75
7.5
750
100
10.0
1000
125
12.5
1250
150
15.0
1500
• Rough features such as stumps, roots, lumps of sod or rock can be
incorporated into the surface landscape to increase roughness.
• The topsoil layer (8 – 10 cm) should be left rough, with some
variability in soil depth which will trap moisture and seeds, creating
a more diverse plant community. This applies to both forested and
grassland ecosystems34.
• In agricultural areas, the subsoil should be worked to break up lumps
and to level ridges prior to topsoil replacement35.
• Contouring will help establish site drainage. Replaced soil should be
integrated into local drainage patterns and topography.
34
MuCullah 2009
35
AENV 2004
October 28, 2010
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• In agricultural areas, topsoil should be replaced as evenly as possible
across the site but not below the water table.
• If a waterbody is the desired final land end-use, a thin layer of topsoil
can be applied within the littoral zone which will help establish aquatic
vegetation36.
Decompaction
• Replacing overburden in thick (one metre) lifts should help to reduce
compaction on a site.
• Subsoilers can be used to relieve compaction in the subsoil after the
topsoil has been replaced. Experienced personnel should be present
to monitor and supervise the work and make adjustments as deemed
necessary37.
Maintenance
• Keeping haulage roads well-defined will ensure that vehicles do
not run over recently placed topsoil or subsoil, which will prevent
compaction.
6.5 Stormwater Management
Stormwater is rainfall or snowmelt that does not infiltrate into the ground
and flows across a site. As it moves across a site, stormwater can cause
erosion and collect sediment and pollutants.
Stormwater management involves planning for, and controlling,
stormwater runoff for the purpose of reducing erosion, improving water
quality and controlling flooding. Stormwater management is necessary
onsite to prevent erosion and sedimentation as well as to keep the site
safe for operation. The goal of stormwater management is to:
• Control the flow of water across a site through the use of dykes,
swales, ditches, curbs or berms;
• Control erosion by stormwater at a site through construction and
maintenance of erosion control measures;
• Manage sedimentation caused by stormwater at a site through the
use of sediment basins, sediment traps and other BMPs; and
• Ensure that any discharge from the site is free of pollutants or
sediment.
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36
AENV 2004
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AENV 2004
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Stormwater management is regulated under the Wastewater and
Storm Drainage Regulation of EPEA. Through these regulations, the
responsibility is placed on the operator to ensure that any discharge from
a site is free of pollution or sediment. Because erosion control measures
will be site specific, lease holders are encouraged to retain professionals
to develop stormwater management plans, design and construct
channels.
The BMPs presented in this section are intended to prevent erosion and
enhance the amount of water infiltrated into the soil during stormwater
events, to minimize flooding of water in nearby watercourses, and to
reduce suspended sediment and pollutant concentrations by minimizing
the amount of water leaving an operation area. The first step in
stormwater management is to reduce the amount of stormwater entering
a site. Further onsite erosion and sediment control is required to prevent
loss of soil from the site.
6.5.1Stormwater Diversion
Ditches, swales, berms and retention areas are often used to control
stormwater but the best and first option should be to divert stormwater
around a site and back into the natural drainage system. A stormwater
management plan is a useful tool for identifying key sources of water
flowing on the site. Natural drainage on a site can be observed prior
to disturbance. Natural drainage patterns can be incorporated into the
stormwater management plan. Once natural inputs are identified, then
structures such as grass-lined ditches (See Appendix B) can be used to
divert water around the site.
Pit floors should be maintained at a gradual slope (i.e. 3 to 5%) during
excavation to move surface water to one end of the pit. The bottom slope
should be on the downslope side of topography if possible. In some cases
this is not possible. Pits should not be allowed to accumulate water and
water should be routinely disposed of. This will reduce the chances for
water to become contaminated. ASRD may require a water toxicology
test to verify that water is within acceptable limits prior to the issuance of
a Temporary Field Authorization (TFA) for water disposal.
Seasonal variance in rain and snow should be considered during planning
of stockpile locations, wash operations and access routes to the pits.
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Figure 5: Stormwater should be diverted around the site to help prevent
erosion and sedimentation onsite.
6.6 Erosion and Sediment Control
6.6.1Erosion Control
Erosion prevention protects the soil surface and prevents the soil
particles from being detached by rainfall, runoff, or wind. Natural causes
are typically the primary cause of erosion; however, erosion can be
accelerated through human activities that expose soil such as removing
vegetation, and building roads and parking lots. There are three types of
erosion that may occur within a project area:
1.Raindrop (Splash) Erosion - Raindrop erosion is caused by the
movement of soil particles caused by the direct impact of raindrops
on unprotected exposed soil surfaces.
2.Sheet Erosion - Sheet erosion is the movement of soil particles
caused by runoff flowing over the ground surface. Erosion is caused
by shear stresses associated with water flow.
3.Rill and Gully Erosion – Rill and gully erosion are the removal of
soil along concentrated drainage paths by surface water runoff. Once
initiated rills may join, further concentrating flows and eventually
developing into gullies. These will continue to erode, side walls will
slump and sediment will be transported downstream, unless steps are
taken to stabilise the disturbance.
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Erosion prevention is generally more effective than sediment control and
should be the first line of defence. Erosion prevention BMPs are intended
to keep soil in place. When implementing erosion control on a site the
following principles should be considered38:
• Use the natural topography and vegetation onsite;
• Minimize disturbance to the natural vegetation onsite by clearing only
where necessary;
• Minimize the amount of exposed soil at any one time through the use
of progressive reclamation;
• Vegetate exposed soils as soon as possible;
• Vegetate temporary soil stockpiles;
• Minimize concentrated flows and divert runoff away from slopes or
critical areas;
• Minimize slope steepness and slope length;
• Use temporary drainage structures, such as ditches, to divert
upstream water around a site; and
• Use channel linings and other control features, such as check dams,
to reduce velocities in temporary drainage structures39.
Proper timing can also reduce erosion. If constructing ditches or berms, it
is best to undertake construction activities in the dry season.
The following BMPs can be used to minimize erosion on-site. As erosion
control measures will be site specific lease holders are encouraged to
retain professionals to develop stormwater management plans, design
and construct channels.
Scheduling
Developing a proper schedule is important to ensure that the work is
done in a logical sequence. For example, clearing and stripping for later
phases of the project should be done just before it is necessary. While
that is occurring, re-vegetation of earlier phases should be underway40.
Ideally, work should be scheduled when rainfall or spring snowmelt runoff
is not expected.
38
State of Alaska 2006
39
Do not install check
dams or divert flows
in natural waterways
without approval.
40
City of Edmonton 2005
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Maintain Existing Vegetation
Whenever possible, existing vegetation should be left standing. Existing
vegetation acts as an effective vegetative buffer strip as a form of erosion
and sediment control by both slowing down the flow of water, to enhance
sediment settling, and by allowing sediment filtration to occur. Existing
dense vegetation may be more effective than man-made structures
or devices for sediment or erosion control. However, additional forms
of erosion and sediment control measures will likely be required at
aggregate extraction sites.
Any removal of vegetation along steep valley slopes with highly erodible
soil will be detrimental and may create long-term erosion problems. It
is important to only strip necessary areas immediately required within
the areas of extraction. A buffer is mandatory along river valley slopes
and along the edge corridor of waterbodies. ASRD will designate the
appropriate buffer size based on the sensitivity of the waterway. Keep
in mind that very careful planning is required to work around preserved
riparian zones. These areas should be flagged and identified on a map
prior to clearing.
Timing of Clearing, Grading and Stripping
Areas should be cleared, graded and stripped only as needed for
immediate activities. Practicing progressive reclamation will allow natural
cover and vegetation to remain in place for as long as possible, possibly
minimizing the length of time soil is exposed and the amount of erosion
that may occur. Restoration and reclamation of ground cover should be
done as soon as possible following extraction or other activities in the
area.
Seeding
Seeding is performed to establish vegetative cover in an area, which
will in turn stabilize the area. It provides erosion protection through
development of a shallow root structure from seed germination and plant
growth. Seeding can be either permanent or temporary. Seeding helps
prevent erosion and sedimentation, and also enhances terrestrial and
aquatic habitat vegetation.
For seeding to be successful, careful planning is critical. A good
knowledge of the soil characteristics is essential and appropriate seed
mixes should be selected. Planting should occur at the appropriate
time for the particular seed being used, and continued watering and
maintenance is essential. More details on seeding are provided in
Appendix B.
State of Alaska 2006
38
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39
Do not install check
dams or divert flows
in natural waterways
without approval.
40
City of Edmonton 2005
49 of 111
Mulching
Mulching is the application of organic material or other normally
biodegradable substances as a protective layer to the soil surface to:
• Minimize raindrop/runoff erosion and conserve soil moisture for plant
growth, and/or
• Promote seed germination and plant growth.
Mulches conserve soil moisture, reduce runoff velocities and surface
erosion, control weeds, help establish plant cover, and protect seeds from
predators, raindrop impact, and wind/water erosion.
Mulches can be both temporary and permanent erosion control measures.
They can be used as an organic cover or growth medium for seeds
where topsoil is not readily available. This is a relatively cheap method of
promoting plan growth and slope protection. Hydro-mulching is preferred
on very steep or rocky/gravelly slopes. Additional details on mulching are
provided in Appendix B.
It must be noted that too much mulch applied to a site can adversely
affect a site by preventing plant growth by acting as a physical barrier
or even result in prolonged frozen soil conditions which in turn can affect
vegetation growth. Mulch depth should not exceed 5cm. Too much mulch
at a site can also become a fire hazard. For additional information and
direction on how to manage wood chips on public land refer to ASRD’s
“Management of Wood Chips on Public Land (2009)” directive.
Figure 6. Mulch can be applied to a site after seeding.
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Erosion Control Blankets
Steep slopes with slow re-vegetation and high erosion potential benefit
from erosion control blankets (ECBs). ECBs are good for use in areas
where flow velocity may wash out new vegetation. They also help
vegetation establishment in grassy channels. Similar to mulching, they
protect the soil from raindrop impact and compaction. They increase
filtration, conserve soil moisture, and stabilize soil surfaces. They are
often made of bio- or photo-degradable netting, and are classified as a
Rolled Erosion Control Product (RECP).
It is important to use the correct product for your particular site.
Additionally, blankets should be placed within 24 hours of seeding at your
site. Additional information regarding ECBs is provided in Appendix B.
Figure 7: ECBs can be used to protect steep slopes.
Erosion Control Netting
Erosion control netting can be used where erosion control blankets are
not suitable. For example, netting can be placed over loose mulch or
freshly placed sod. It is important to be aware that erosion control
netting may not be as effective as erosion control blankets.
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Rock Outlet
Livestock and Land, 2010
http://www.livestockandland.org/Demonstration_Sites/pilot_site.html
A rock outlet is a protective device that is designed to control erosion
at the downstream end of a channel or culvert. It is composed of rock,
riprap, or concrete rubble and is placed at the outlet/downstream end.
By reducing velocity of water flowing through the end of the channel,
the rock outlet helps to decrease scour and downstream erosion. More
information about rock outlets is provided in Appendix B.
Figure 8: Rock outlets can control erosion at the downstream end of a
channel or a culvert.
A rock lining (or riprap) may also be used within a constructed ditch or a
channel to protect the sides and bottom from erosion. The size of the rock
use will depend on the flow and depth; however, rock should be laid to
create a uniform surface to ensure that rock does not get displaced.
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McCullah 2000.
Figure 9: A uniform layer of rock can be used to prevent erosion within a
constructed ditch or channel.
6.6.2Sediment Control
Sedimentation is the deposition of soil particles previously held in
suspension by a fluid, usually flowing water. Soil particles may be
mobilized as water travels across bare soil, and then settle out as flow
velocities subside. Sediment control involves any practice that settles
or traps the soil particles after they have been detached and moved by
wind or water. Sediment can be controlled at the source, through erosion
prevention, or can be managed by capturing surface water in sediment
basins, sediment traps, or other sediment control measures. The
following BMPs are designed to control sediment.
Fibre Rolls
Fibre rolls consist of bundled sticks, or natural fibre, wrapped in photodegradable open weave plastic netting that is staked into the soil along
slope contours as a grade break. They are porous, allowing for capture of
sediment, organic matter, and seeds carried by runoff.
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McCullah 2000.
Fibre rolls are a temporary measure against sedimentation to reduce
conveyance of sediment by flowing water. They may be used on slopes
that are stable enough to support vegetation. They may also be installed
along long slopes as a grade break to shorten the slope length between
lines of fibre rolls at different contour elevations. They also help to reduce
overland flow velocities.
Figure 10: A fibre roll can temporarily reduce sedimentation.
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Grass-Lined Swales
Backyard Conservation, US Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service, April 1998.
A grass-lined swale is constructed to handle concentrated runoff while
preventing erosion and sedimentation. A grassed swale is vegetation
lining placed in a ditch to stabilize a channel and protect it from erosion.
Grass-lined channels are generally used in stable areas with slopes
less than 15% in ephemeral drainages. Further details are provided in
Appendix B.
Figure 11: Grass-lined swales are used when concentrated runoff has the
potential to c ause erosion.
Brush or Rock Filters
These are temporary barriers of brush wrapped in filter fabric and secured
in place, or rock anchored in place, to intercept and filter sediment laden
stormwater runoff from disturbed areas, retain sediment and release
water as sheet flow. They are often used as a perimeter control and
installed near the toe of slopes that are subjected to sheet flow and rill
erosion. They are also installed along the crest or tops of stream and
channel banks, as well as around drain inlets. They have the potential to
be as effective as silt fences.
Check Dam
A check dam is a small, temporary dam that is constructed within a ditch
or channel and is used to divert runoff to a desired location (Appendix B).
The purpose of a check dam is to reduce the gradient of a ditch, thereby
slowing the flow of water and reducing the potential for erosion and
sedimentation. As water flow slows, sediment is more likely to settle out.
Check dams are not suitable for natural watercourses, or any watercourse
that contains fish as they may create a barrier to fish passage.
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Figure 12: A check dam is a small, temporary dams constructed within a
ditch or a constructed channel.
Sediment Basin
Sediment basins are sediment control measures that collect sediment
run-off and promote settlement of sediment. They can be temporary or
exist for the life of a project, and can be used at terminal or selective
intermediate points of concentrated runoff. The basins result in
impoundment of runoff and sedimentation of silt prior to release of
treated runoff downstream. They are also used as control measures
at the perimeter of sites, where sediment laden runoff may enter
watercourses, storm drains, or other sensitive areas. Sediment basins
are used for disturbed drainage areas greater than 2.0 ha. They must be
periodically maintained to remove sediment, and larger basins are often
equipped with forebays where coarse sediment settles out and where
more frequent cleaning is required. By-product such as sediment fines
may be reused during reclamation. Further information is provided in
Appendix B.
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Figure 13: Sediment basins collect run-off and promote settlement of
sediment.
Sediment basins can be used to collect water from wash sites. Retention
time will depend on the type and load of sediment being removed from
the aggregate. Wash sites should be located within the pit excavation
hole, in an area of natural water collection. These areas can provide
settling areas for wash water as well as a collection basin for surface
water. If the pit collects large amounts of surface water then two separate
ponds can be created or the two areas can be separated by a berm. Using
two ponds will reduce the amount of water accumulating at the bottom
of the pit. Surface runoff will be less turbid than the wash water and will
therefore require less time to settle.
Sediment Traps
Sediment traps are temporary devices used to contain sediment
laden runoff, but they are smaller than sediment basins. They may be
constructed by excavating ponds and/or placing embankments above
grade. Sediment traps are used for disturbed drainage areas of 2.0 ha or
less. They must also be periodically maintained to remove sediment.
Sediment Barriers
Sediment barriers are a barrier used to trap sediment from sheet flow
runoff. They can be made using silt fences, straw bales, berms, inlet
protection, etc. They are often used for areas with drainage of less than
2 ha. It is critical that sediment barriers be installed properly because,
if not, they can worsen the situation by concentrating flows and causing
erosion. As such, regular maintenance is required.
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Silt Fences
Silt fences are permeable fabric barriers installed vertically on support
posts along contours to collect and/or filter sediment laden sheet flow
runoff. They entrap and minimize coarse sediment from sheet flow or
overland flow from entering waterbodies. If installed properly, they can
be very effective at preventing sedimentation.
Water ponds behind silt fences, allowing sediment to settle out as
water filters through fabric, therefore they should not be installed on
a slope. Silt fences must be properly anchored in soil to prevent flow
from being conveyed underneath, and should be placed in a “smile” or
“J-hook” shape to allow water to be temporarily ponded behind the fence.
Contributing drainage areas must be small enough that the ponded water
can force flow through the silt fence without backing up far enough to
outflank the fence or cause it to fail due to hydrostatic forces.
Figure 14: Silt fences are commonly used to prevent sedimentation.
Inlet Protection Measures
Inlet protection measures are considered the “last line of defence”. They
are a type of sediment trap consisting of a permeable barrier installed
around a drainage inlet, to prevent or reduce sediment from leaving a
work site. They are only appropriate on sites where underground drainage
infrastructure has been installed, and may include drop inlet sediment
barriers or catch basin inlet barriers.
Inlet protection measures should only be used in areas with a maximum
drainage of 0.5 ha. Regular inspection, sediment removal and
maintenance are required.
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6.7 Pit Dewatering
Pit dewatering typically takes place in operations where the excavation
is at, or below, the water table. Groundwater is the mandate of Alberta
Environment. Authorizations to work below the groundwater table should
be obtained from Alberta Environment.
Drainage within the pit can be maintained by sloping the pit bottom
so that any excess water entering the pit through surface runoff or
groundwater seepage can be collected at the deeper end. Settling ponds
can be built within the excavation area to provide containment and
settling time for any suspended solids within pit water. Settling ponds
should be located away from any natural waterways or areas with high
surface flows. All hazardous materials stored onsite should be stored
away from settling ponds. Settling ponds should be constructed so that
they are of an adequate size to handle the volume of water coming into
the excavation.
Discharge of pit water may be required via natural drainage or
discharging off-site through the use of pumps and pipes. The CRBP should
contain any plans describing water conveyance around a site or plans
to move water offsite. The “Code of Practice for Pits41” requires that pit
water being discharged must be collected and analyzed for pH and total
suspended solids. Presence of hydrocarbons such as oil and gas must
also be assessed. It is important to retain copies of the analyses. Alberta
Environment will dictate the type of sampling, frequency and location
when a permit is obtained. For more information about working with
groundwater, contact a local Alberta Environment representative.
The discharge of water offsite will require a Temporary Field Authorization
(TFA) from ASRD. The lease holder is responsible for ensuring that their
discharge will not cause adverse effects on any receiving waterbody.
6.8 Road Construction and Maintenance
Roads are an important part of site development. Roads are used to
access sites, transport equipment to sites, and transport materials from
sites. Roads can be temporary or permanent, based on the size of the
operations and adjacent infrastructure. In many cases, road access is
already available to a site, and an applicant may be required to obtain a
permit to use the road. Applicants should attempt to use existing roads
where feasible.
41
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AENV 2004
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When new roads are to be constructed, applicants may be requested
to present information regarding the proposed route and any alternate
routes. Locations for access roads should be well designed to mitigate
environmental concerns. Access roads should be maintained while they
are in use. Regular maintenance through activities such as grading, ditch
and culvert clearing and resurfacing can be mitigation for reducing an
operation’s environmental footprint. Road oiling must not occur.
The following are examples of BMPs for constructing and maintaining
roads.
6.8.1Construction
Planning
• Roads should be identified in the CRBP. Consider what type of
road will be needed, how much traffic will use it and what kind of
vehicles will use it. Unplanned road construction can result in higher
maintenance and reconstruction costs.
Location
• Natural topography can be used to mitigate noise, dust and visual
concerns. Natural topography can hide roads and eliminate any visual
concerns.
• Locate roads on well-drained soil or soil with rocky surfaces away
from streams, seeps, and other wet areas.
• When planning new roads, avoid water crossings, environmentally
sensitive areas including areas with deeply erodible soils, steep
slopes, and wetlands as much as possible. Similarly, areas with long
slopes should be avoided as they can create problems with erosion
that may be costly and time consuming to repair.
• Maintaining trees and vegetation along roadways provides visual
barriers which can prevent the public from viewing inside the
operation. Staggering or off-setting entrances to operations and
curving entrance roads are techniques often used to prevent visual
access into a site.
Timing
• Timing restrictions outlined for vegetation clearing and soil salvage
should be observed.
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6.8.2 Maintenance
Timing
• To avoid rutting and erosion, large trucks and heavy machinery
should not use unpaved surfaces during wet periods. Restrictions may
depend on type and conditions of road.
• Regularly spraying unpaved roads with water or dust retardant can
reduce road dust where local residents identify this as an issue.
• Regular maintenance such as grading, ditch and culvert clearing and
resurfacing can be mitigation for reducing the environmental footprint
of the operation. Road oiling must not occur.
Speed limits
• Posting and enforcing reduced speed limits can help mitigate dust and
noise.
Existing seismic lines or Licences of Occupation (LOCs) should be used
for initial winter access. Any proposed widening of these areas should
be minimized. Additional information concerning road development is
available in the “Guidelines for Acquiring Surface Material Dispositions on
Public Land42”.
6.8.3 Watercourse Crossings
All watercourse crossings must follow the “Code of Practice for
Watercourse Crossings43”.
6.9 Hazardous Materials Management
Hazardous materials may be required onsite for the operation of a pit.
Examples of hazardous materials include salt for winter road de-icing,
oil, gas, diesel and paints. Any hazardous materials not directly related
to the primary production of aggregate should not be kept on-site. Small
operations may consider using onto site and offsite fuelling (i.e. slip
tanks) to eliminate the need for storing any hazardous materials onsite.
Any hazardous materials expected to be kept on-site should be identified
in the CRBP.
The following BMPs can be used to improve the storage of hazardous
materials on public land. Remember that it is the operator’s responsibility
to determine which of the BMPs presented in this document are
appropriate for their site.
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42
ASRD 2007
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AENV 2000
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Planning
• Plan ahead when purchasing material. Buy just enough required
for the site to minimize storage of excess amounts of hazardous
materials.
• Identify storage sites for hazardous materials in the CRBP. Ensure
that all materials are stored in the designated sites.
• Label all drums clearly. MSDS sheets should be available for all
hazardous materials.
Prevention
• Accidents can be minimized if storage sites are located away from
high traffic areas and away from areas that may be exposed to high
winds or rains.
• A smart BMP involves storing hazardous materials away from
environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands and drainage areas
as well as drainage channels, settling ponds and quarry sumps.
• Hazardous materials storage areas should be kept at least a minimum
of 100 metres away from any watercourse or waterbody.
Secondary Containment
• Storage sites should have an impermeable surface with a
containment feature such as a dyke or barrier to prevent spills from
contaminating groundwater or soil.
• Use drips pans and pails under machinery if drips are a problem.
• Allow adequate space between drums to allow for visual inspection.
• Storage locations should be fenced and locked.
Training
• Staff should be trained regarding proper material safety, storage,
handling and disposal procedures.
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6.10 By-Product Management
By-products are materials which are removed in order to access the
merchantable aggregate. By-products can be a burden on-site as they
may require additional space and handling if not removed. By-products
produced at an aggregate operation may include:
• Clay;
• Oversized coarse rock;
• Overburden;
• Fine materials; and
• Stumps and woody debris.
Aggregate by-products do not pose a serious environmental concern,
but if left unattended they can provide a safety risk and be visually
displeasing. The amount of by-product produced at a site can be
minimized by extracting and clearing only where necessary. Progressive
reclamation is an excellent way to minimize storage needs for aggregate
by-products. Alternative uses for aggregate by-product include:
• Berms - By-products such as overburden, clay, stumps and coarse
rock can be used to create berms to manage noise and dust
concerns. Position by-product stockpiles so that they act as noise and
wind barriers.
• Erosion and Sediment Control - Large coarse rock can be used for
erosion control on steep slopes or to create sediment traps.
• Recontouring – Grubbing materials, clay and overburden may be
used for recontouring during reclamation.
• Mulching - Grubbing materials such as stumps and woody debris can
be chipped and mulched for erosion control.
• Sale – Aggregate by-products may be sold if they have a commercial
value.
By-product storage locations and disposal methods should be identified in
the CRBP. If moving grubbing materials offsite, lease holders must work
with ASRD representatives to determine timing restrictions related to
Mountain Pine beetle or other pests. Hauling restrictions will apply.
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Figure 15: Berms can act as barriers for wind and noise.
6.11 Noise, Dust and Visual Considerations
Noise and dust considerations trigger municipal requirements. Noise
and dust are most typically a concern when a pit is located close to a
populated area. Specific requirements applicable to a project are reviewed
on a project by project basis44 and may vary by municipality. Site specific
information regarding noise and dust considerations is also required
by the development of the CRBP. Further information is provided in the
“Guidelines for Acquiring Surface Material Dispositions on Public Land45”.
6.11.1
Noise
Noise is prevalent in all industrial operations. Noise intensity is measured
in decibels and increases logarithmically, meaning that a small increase in
intensity results in a much larger increase in loudness. When considering
the possible effects of noise emissions on neighbours or wildlife, you must
consider existing noise levels (if the area is already noisy, the threshold
for noise may be higher), site location (vegetation may dampen noise),
equipment (some equipment is quieter than others) and site layout and
design (acoustic fences can be used for noise absorption).
44
Alberta Transportation
2008
45
ASRD 2007
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Noise emissions during aggregate operations can result from a variety of
activities, including:
• Processing and crushing of materials;
• Extraction and handling of materials;
• Grading;
• Conveying;
• Tree removal, grading, and topsoil and overburden handling;
• Loading;
• Stockpiling;
• Onsite transport truck; and
• Drilling and blasting.
Noise can be reduced or minimized with careful site planning and
considering strategies such as source control, containment, site layout,
timing, and interception. The following are examples of BMPs that can be
used to mitigate noise concerns. Based on the location of the operation
specific noise reducing practices may be required by the Municipality.
Planning
• Be aware of existing and future adjacent land use and how noise may
affect them.
• Understand the principle receptors of the noise and how it may affect
them
Location
• Noise generating activities, such a processing areas and haul roads,
can be placed sheltered or naturally excavated hollows and low areas
in the pit or quarry to reduce noise.
• Working faces can be oriented to deflect noise into less sensitive
areas (i.e. away from the public).
Vegetation
• Vegetation can absorb noise. Maintaining trees, shrubs and ground
cover can reduce noise emissions.
Berms and Barriers
• Use soil stockpiles in the construction of property line berms to assist
in reducing noise levels.
• Buildings and stockpiles can be clustered to act as barriers for noise.
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• Consider using portable barriers for specific operations such as drilling
in preparation of a blast. Old conveyor belts can act as noise barriers.
Equipment
• Maintaining, lubing and repairing noisy equipment in a timely manner
can reduce noise.
• It is best to shut off noisy equipment when not in use.
• Non-audible warning devices such as strobe lights or low frequency
beepers are less noisy than other backup warning devices.
• Close tailgates on trucks to reduce unnecessary noise.
• Old conveyer belts can be used to line the interior of rock bins.
Drop Height
• Minimize the fall height of material during excavation and processing.
Lowering drop height lowers the emission height, which could make
use of shielding if noise is a serious concern onsite.
Traffic
• Use natural topography when designing haul routes. Natural
topography can act as a barrier for noise.
• Limiting on-site speeds can reduce noise associated with bouncing
trucks.
• Maintain smooth on-site roadways to eliminate ruts, a source of noise
from on-site mobile equipment.
6.11.2
Dust
Dust can be caused by wind blowing over exposed surfaces as well as
from aggregate extraction and processing. “Fugitive” dust is created when
wind blows over stockpiles and/or areas that no longer have vegetation,
as well as activities such as moving equipment. This dust often settles on
nearby neighbours, and a common complaint from the public46. Because
dust has the potential to travel far distances, reduction in dust emissions
at the site can greatly improve air quality in the immediate vicinity and in
the surrounding areas.
Fugitive dust can be generated from a number of activities and sources,
including:
• on-site traffic especially unpaved roads;
• wind erosion from unprotected material stockpiles;
46
BC Ministry of Land
and Water 2004
October 28, 2010
• loading/unloading areas and handling techniques;
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• material spills;
• material conveyance systems;
• drilling and blasting;
• exposed openings in process and storage buildings; and
• general work areas.
Fugitive dust is much easier to manage if all sources are identified
up front. A dust map can be a useful tool for identifying all sources
of high dust emissions and creating control actions. While dust is the
most common air quality issue, there are other concerns including
exhaust emissions from machinery and vehicles, and the noise concerns
mentioned in Section 6.11.1 to be considered. The following are examples
of BMPs that can assist with fugitive dust concerns.
Planning
• Identify all dust generating activities such as haul roads and
processing locations up-front and attempt to position those activities
in sheltered low-lying areas that are protected from the wind.
Stockpiles, buildings and onsite vegetation can act as wind breaks.
• In areas where dust is a concern identifying all dust suppression best
management practices up front as well as who is responsible for
implementation can help prevent dust problems from occurring.
Location
• Locate haul roads and processing areas down wind from sites that will
be sensitive to dust.
Equipment
• Maintain bins, chutes and receiving hoppers clean and in good
condition to reduce unnecessary dust.
Traffic
• Locate roads downwind from areas that may be sensitive to dust.
This will reduce the amount of dust blowing into those areas.
• Where possible flush or sweeper trucks, spray nozzles, and wheel
washers may be used to prevent or mitigate fugitive dust emissions
from roads.
• Limiting traffic speeds on roads can reduce the amount of dust
created by traffic.
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• Placing tarps on loads, where possible, can reduce spills.
• Soil Stockpile Management
• General soil stockpile management BMP’s such as location, seeding,
and contouring can be used to reduce fugitive dust.
Wet Suppression
• Wet suppression techniques such as the use of water spray nozzles to
add moisture to the soil or to capture and suppress dust with a fine
spray can be used to control and minimize dust emissions
• Watering systems can be permanently mounted on the inlet and
outlet points of all crushers, on the outlet of all shaker screens, and
on the outlet of all material transfer points.
• Direct the wastewater generated from wet suppression towards
containment areas or the wash out basins where it can be recycled
into the concrete or used again for dust suppression.
Weather
• In areas where dust is a consideration, monitor weather conditions to
manage neighbouring impacts. Manage activities on windy days.
6.11.3
Visual Considerations
Public lands are used by both the public for recreational purposes,
and industry to extract the resources necessary for development of
infrastructure across Alberta. Managing for visual considerations is
important for maintaining an aesthetic balance between those who use
public land for industry and those using them for other purposes. Public
lands host numerous recreational activities where visual aesthetics can
be a concern. Visual impacts can be reduced by careful site planning,
and consultation with neighbours and the public. Municipalities should
be contacted to ensure that the proposed operation is in line with landuse plans, ordinances and by-laws. The following BMPs are examples of
practices that have been applied to reduce visual considerations.
Planning
• Understand current and future uses of the land and design the
operation to reduce visual impacts.
Location
• Pits and quarries can be positioned to limit visibility into the
operation. Use natural topography and maintain onsite vegetation to
restrict views.
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• Maintaining the scale of the operation at the level of the surrounding
topography will reduce the visual impacts.
• Activities can be clustered around natural barriers to reduce the area
of disturbance.
Progressive Reclamation
• Phase extraction to limit the area of disturbance. Progressive
reclamation must be used to quickly restore areas where extraction
has occurred.
Traffic
• Haul roads can be designed with curves and stagger entrances to
prevent visibility into the site.
• Haul roads can be constructed in lower-lying areas or concealed by
berms and barriers such as natural vegetation or topography.
Vegetation
• Vegetation should be maintained around the perimeter on the lease
area, where feasible, to minimize views into the site.
6.12 Pit Closure
After extraction has occurred lease holders are required to close the pit
and begin reclamation. This final stage prior to reclamation should not
require much effort if the following principles were applied throughout the
operation:
• Maintenance – Ongoing maintenance is required to manage
onsite vegetation, healthy soil stockpiles, weed control, erosion and
sediment, hazardous materials and by-products. The BMPs provided
in this document are designed to provide ongoing maintenance of
common environmental considerations throughout the life of a pit.
• Progressive Reclamation - The closure of the pit should be
incorporated into the progressive reclamation plan. If progressive
reclamation has been applied successfully throughout the life of a pit
then, depending on the size and type of the operation, seeded and
natural vegetation should be in the process of establishing. Natural
processes, such as surface drainage will ideally begin function within
the reclaimed areas.
Once initial reclamation is underway, a site clean-up should occur where
all remaining debris and garbage is removed from the site47. Reclamation
is not complete until the site is completely cleaned of all debris. Natural
extraction by-products which were not buried in the pit (Section 6.10)
47
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should be disposed of offsite. No non-native materials should be buried
onsite. Weed control is an important consideration and weeds must be
controlled onsite prior to closing the pit.
All hazardous materials and equipment must be removed from the site.
Under the Public Lands Act, the liability of an SML remains in effect until
the disposition holder has obtained a Reclamation Certificate from ASRD.
The lease holder must provide sufficient documentation to verify that all
conditions outlined in the CRBP, including the reclamation plan, have been
met. Documentation must also indicate that
a.All improvements have been removed from the site;
b.All brush and by-product materials have been disposed of; and
c.Reclamation is complete and vegetation is established onsite.
A Reclamation certificate will be issued once the conditions outlined in
the CRBP have been met and the site is inspected and approved by an
ASRD representative. As outlined in the Conservation and Reclamation
Regulation under the EPEA, the lease holder remains liable for
reclamation issues that arise onsite for five years after the Reclamation
Certificate has been issued. The Reclamation Certification process
is further outlined in the “Guidelines for Acquiring Surface Material
Dispositions on Public Land48”.
48
ASRD 2007
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7
Monitoring BMPs
The application of a BMP does not guarantee that the concern will be
mitigated. BMPs require monitoring to determine whether they are
functioning as required and in many instances BMPs require monitoring
to remain effective. The success of a BMP will be site specific and their
success may depend on the geographical location, local climate, soil
type, slopes or the season. The schedule for monitoring the BMP will be
determined by the type of BMP and the consequences of failure49. For
example, many erosion and sediment control BMPs require inspection
immediately after large storm events and therefore, the frequency
of monitoring events will be higher during the rainy season than the
dry season. Seeded stockpiles on the other hand, may only require
monitoring initially to determine whether plants are establishing and
periodic monitoring to ensure that soil is not being eroded by wind or
water.
BMP monitoring can occur during the facility’s regular working hours.
In some instances, BMP monitoring will be required by the law and will
be outlined in permits, authorizations and approvals issues by various
levels of government. Holders are encouraged to work with an ASRD
representative to determine which BMPs are functioning onsite and where
changes should be made.
49
BC Energy and Mines 2007
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8
References
Alberta Environment. 1996. Conservation and Reclamation Information
Letter: Environmental Guidelines for Pits. C&R/IL/96-5
Alberta Environment. 1999. Surface Water Quality Guidelines for Use in
Alberta. http://www3.gov.ab.ca/env/protenf/publications/SurfWtrQualNov99.pdf.
Alberta Environment. 2000. Code of Practice for Watercourse Crossings.
Alberta Environment. 2004. Guide to the Code of Practice for Pits. Alberta
Environment, Edmonton, Alberta. 84 pp.
Alberta Soils Advisory Committee. 1993. Soil Quality Criteria Relative to
Disturbance and Reclamation (Revised). Alberta Agriculture, Food and
Rural Development. Edmonton, Alberta. 7 pp.
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development. 2007. Guidelines for
Acquiring Surface Material Dispositions on Public Land – 2007 Edition.
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Edmonton Alberta.
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development. 2009. Management of Wood
Chips on Public Land. External Directive.
Alberta Transportation. 2008. Environmental Management Systems
Manual (v.5). 82 pp.
Archibald, J. H., I.G. Corns, and G.D. Klappstein. 1996. Field Guide to
Ecosites of Southwestern Alberta. Field Guide to Ecosites of West-Central
Alberta. 523 pp.
British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines. 2002. Aggregate
Operators Best Management Practices Handbook for British Columbia.
Volume II: Best Management Practices.
BC Ministry of Land and Water. 2004. Standards and Best Practices for
Instream Works.
Beckingham, J.D., and J.H. Archibald. 1996. Field Guide to Ecosites of
Northern Alberta. Canadian Forest Service. 336 pp.
Beckingham, J.D., I.G.W. Corns and J.H. Archibald. 1996. Field Guide to
Ecosites of West-Central Alberta. 380 pp
City of Edmonton. 2005. Erosion and Sedimentation Control Field
Manual.
October 28, 2010
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References
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Duebbert, H.F., E.T. Jacobson, K.F. Higgins, and E.B. Podoll. Establishment
of Seeded Grasslands for Wildlife Habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region.
United States Fish and Wildlife Service Special Scientific Report No. 234.
1981. Washington, D.C.
Fisher, R.A., and J.C. Fieschenich. 2000. Design Recommendations
for Riparian Corridors and Vegetated Buffer Strips. US Army Engineer
Research and Development Center.
Gerling, H.S., M.G. Willoughby, A. Schoepf, K.E. Tannas and C.A.
Tannas. 1996. A guide to using native plants on disturbed lands. Alberta
Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, and Alberta Environmental
Protection. ISBN 0-7732-6125-7 247 pp
Government of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. 2010. Buffer
Zones for a Healthy Watershed.
Green, J.E., T.D. Van Egmond, C. Wylie, I. Jones, L. Kepnik and L.R.
Patersen. 1992. Pit and Quarry Reclamation in Alberta. Alberta Land
Conservation and Reclamation Council Reclamation Research Technical
Advisory Committee.
Harris ML. 2007. Guideline for wetland establishment on reclaimed oil
sands leases (revised second edition). Prepared by Lorax Environmental
for CEMA Wetlands and Aquatics Subgroup of the Reclamation Working
Group, Fort McMurray, AB. Dec/07.
Hays, K. B., M. Wagner, F. Smeins and R. N. Wilkins. 2005. Restoring
Native Grasslands. Texas Cooperative Extension. Texas A&M University
System.
Idaho Department of Water Quality. 2005. BMP 15: Mulching. IDEQ
Storm Water Best Management Practices Catalogue.
McCullah, J., CPESC. 1994. North Carolina Erosion and Sediment Control
Planning and Design Manual; Association of Bay Area Governments,
Manual of Standards for Erosion and Sediment Control Measures;
California Storm Water Best Management Practices Handbook.
McCullah, J.A. 2000. BioDraw 1.0 CD-ROM. Salix Applied Earthcare.
McCullah, J. 2009. North Carolina Erosion and Sediment Control Planning
and Design Manual. Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook 3rd
Edition.
Metropolitan Council/Barr Engeineering Co. 2009. Minnesota Urban Small
Sites BMP Manual. Construction Practices: Grading.
Native Plant Working Group. 2001. Native Plant Revegetation Guidelines
for Alberta. H. Sinton (ed). Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural
Development and Alberta Environment. 58 pp. www.agric.gov.ab.ca/
publands/nprg/
References
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Native Prairie Guidelines Working Group. 2002. Petroleum Industry
Activity in Native Prairie and Parkland Areas: Guidelines for Minimizing
Surface Disturbance (Calgary: Alberta Energy and Utilities Board), 36 p.
Available from Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, Information Services,
Main Floor, 540 – 5 Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta T2P 3G4.
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). 2002. ILLINOIS
URBAN MANUAL - PRACTICE STANDARD. United States Department of
Agriculture.
North Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Community
Development. 1988. Erosion and Sediment Control Planning and Design
Manual; North Carolina Sediment Control Commission.
Salt Lake County Public Works Engineering. 1999. Stormwater Discharge
management from Construction Activities. BMP: Outlet Protection.
Statistics Canada. 2006. Non-metallic Mining and Quarrying. NAICS 2123
State of Alaska. 2006. User’s Manual to Best Management Practices for
Gravel Pits for the Protection of Surface Water Quality in Alaska. State of
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.
Transportation Association of Canada. 2005. National Guide to Erosion
and Sediment Control on Roadway Projects. Report prepared by Golder
Associates Ltd.
Trottier, G. C. 2002. Conservation of Canadian Prairie Grasslands.
Environmental Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service.
US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service.
1994. Planning and Design Manual for the Control of Erosion, Sediment
and Stormwater.
US Environmental Protection Agency. 2008. Brush Barrier. National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).
October 28, 2010
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References
74 of 111
9
Glossary
A Horizon: A mineral horizon formed at or near the surface in the zone
of removal of materials in solution and suspension, or maximum in situ
accumulation of organic carbon or both.
Aggregate: A composition of different surface materials.
B Horizon: The B horizon, commonly referred to as subsoil, consists of
mineral layers which contain concentrations of clay or minerals such as
iron or aluminum, or organic material which leach from the surface. The B
horizon differs from the A horizon in structure and consistency.
Best management practices: These are non-regulatory management,
and operational practices that should allow the operator to not only meet
the required standards, but also prevent, or mitigate, any undesirable
effects or unforeseen complications associated with sand and gravel
mining.
Benching: A bench is a relatively deep, permanent cut in a steep
backslope. Benches are constructed for safety, stability, drainage. They
can reduce erosion by reducing the length and steepness of the slope,
therefore reducing the velocity of the water flowing down the slope.
Berm: A constructed barrier of overburden, topsoil or waste rock, often
planted with trees, shrubs and ground cover. Berms can be used to block
noise, dust and views of an aggregate operation.
Check dam: A small, temporary or permanent, dam which is a built
across a natural drainage channel or a drainage ditch. It can reduce
erosion by lowering the velocity of the water flow during storm events,
allowing sediment to settle out of stormwater.
Compaction: Occurs when wet soil is piled, or if weight is placed on the
soil which causes it to lose pore space. Compacted soils are less able to
absorb rainfall, and are more susceptible to erosion. Plants have difficulty
establishing in compacted soil as there is little space for air and water
between the soils. Soil can become compacted during stockpiling or
replacement.
Culvert: A conduit (e.g., pipe) used to transport water through an
embankment.
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Disposition: A disposition is the authority granted by the department
to use public land for specific purposes and activities. A disposition
is any instrument executed pursuant to the Public Lands Act and
includes conveyance, assurance, sale, lease, licence, permit, contract or
agreement. Details regarding specific disposition types can be found in
the Dispositions and Fees Regulation under the Public Lands Act.
Ditch: A long and narrow channel dug into the earth where drainage
often occurs.
Erosion: The wearing away of a ground surface as a result of wind, water
or ice.
Erosion and sediment control: Measures that are undertaken to
reduce or prevent erosion and control sedimentation. They may be
temporary or permanent.
Face: The exposed unbroken rock of the quarry after a blast has taken
place.
Forb: Any herb that is not a grass.
Fugitive dust: Dust that is created when wind blows over areas that no
longer have vegetation, as well as by moving equipment. This dust often
settles on or around nearby neighbours.
Grading: Any activity that disturbs the earth. This can include
excavation, cutting, filling, and/or stockpiling.
Groundwater: Water located beneath the ground surface in soil pores
and spaces, and between fractures in rock. Alberta Environment is
responsible for managing groundwater.
Grubbing: Removing vegetative matter, such as stumps, roots or brush.
Guideline: A course of action that is suggested but is not legislation/
regulation.
HADD: Harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat.
Impoundment: An area where surface water is held/contained. It can
be manmade or natural.
Licence: Means a surface material licence.
Mitigation measure: An action undertaken during any aggregate
operations, including the planning stage, that prevents impacts such as
erosion, sedimentation, HADD, etc.
Mulching: The application of organic material or other normally
biodegradable substances as a protective layer to the soil surface. It helps
to minimize raindrop/runoff erosion and conserve soil moisture for plant
growth, as well as promote seed germination and plant growth.
Glossary
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Operations: Means the clearing, stripping, excavating, processing and
removal of surface material from, and the reclamation of, public land
described in a lease or licence.
Overburden: Unconsolidated material overlying the rock or sand and
gravel to be extracted, excluding the economically valuable sand and
gravel layers. Overburden is typically poorer quality material and must be
removed to extract economically valuable horizons.
Reclamation: A recovery process whereby a disturbed area is returned
to a state that is similar to the original.
Revegetation: The re-establishment of self-sustaining plant cover on a
disturbed site.
Rill: A very small and intermittent watercourse. It has steep sides and
is usually only a few inches deep. They are often a result of increased
surface water flow when soil is cleared of vegetation.
Riparian zone: The boundary between land and a waterbody often
thought of as the land bordering the high-water mark. These areas have
very diverse vegetation, resulting from the relatively predictable but
intermittent influence of the surface water.
Sediment: Material that is a result of erosion and weather of rocks or
unconsolidated deposits.
Sedimentation: The deposition of soil particles previously held in
suspension by a fluid, usually flowing water. Sedimentation can alter fish
habitat as it settles into interstitial spaces.
Sediment barriers: A barrier used to trap sediment from sheet flow
runoff. They can be made using silt fences, straw bales, berms, etc.
Sediment basin: A sediment control measure that collects sediment
run-off and promotes settlement of sediment. They can be temporary, or
exist for the life of the project, but must be maintained. They are for use
in areas with drainage greater than 2.0 ha.
Sediment trap: A temporary device used to trap sediment laden runoff,
but smaller than sediment basins. They must be maintained. They are
for use in areas with drainage less than 2 ha.
Seedbank: The organic layer on the surface of soils is a valuable source
of native seed, rhiozomes and bulbs that can be salvaged and used to
“seed” reclaimed areas. It is a quick and cost-effective method for reestablishing a native plant community.
Silt fence: A temporary sediment control device that is used to prevent
sediment from entering a nearby waterbody or watercourse. They are
permeable fabric barriers installed vertically on support posts along
contours to collect and/or filter sediment laden sheet flow runoff.
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Stripping: Removing topsoil and debris from above a mineral soil.
Stormwater: Water that originates as a result of precipitation.
Stormwater may soak into the ground, or become surface runoff. The
amount of surface water increases as the amount of natural groundcover
decreases.
Subgrade: Is the native material underneath a constructed area such as
a road or railway.
Subsoil: The subsoil, or B horizon, is a mineral layer which is formed as
minerals are leached from the topsoil layer. Subsoil is located beneath the
topsoil but above the overburden or bedrock. Plant roots may penetrate
through this layer; however, it is much less productive but much deeper
than the topsoil. Subsoil is typically brownish or red in colour because
of the lay and iron oxides that wash down from the topsoil layer. In
the southern part of Alberta, subsoil can vary in colour and is often
indistinguishable from the topsoil (see below) layer in colour.
Surface Material: Means clay, marl, sand, gravel, topsoil, silt
Topsoil: Topsoil, also known as the A horizon, is the most fertile portion
of the soil. The difference between the topsoil and the subsoil, or the B
horizon, is commonly described by the colour and the texture. The topsoil
is usually darker and contains more organic matter, or it may be lighter
and contain less clay than the deeper subsoil. Topsoil is much more fertile
than the less productive subsoil, and is critical for re-establishing the
ecosystem structure of the reclaimed site.
Wastewater: Water that contains foreign agents as a result of human
activities.
Waterbody: Natural or artificial surface water, including lakes, wetlands,
streams and rivers.
Watercourse: A channel that caries water, either continuously or
intermittently.
Glossary
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Appendix
Government Contact Information
Government Agency
Act
A
Contact Information
Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Central and Arctic Office
520 Exmouth Street
Sarnia, Ontario N7T 8B1
Toll Free: 1.866.290.3731
Fax: 519.464.5128
Fisheries and
Oceans Canada
Fisheries Act
Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Alberta Districts
Calgary Office: 403.292.5160
Edmonton Office: 780.495.4220
Lethbridge Office: 403.394.2920
Peace River Office: 780.618.3220
www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/regions/central/
contact/index-eng.htm
Environment Canada – Alberta Office
Canadian Wildlife Service
– Environment Canada
Migratory Birds
Convention Act, 1994
Species at Risk Act
Canadian Environmental
Assessment Act
Transport Canada
Navigable Waters
Protection Act
4999 98 Avenue, Room 200
Edmonton, Alberta T6B 2X3
Tel: 780.951.8600
Fax: 780.495.2615
Appendix A
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Government Agency
Alberta Sustainable
Resources Development
Alberta Environment
Alberta Agriculture and
Rural Development
Alberta Culture and
Community Spirit
Alberta Natural Heritage
Information Centre
Act
Public Lands Act
Forests Act
Alberta Wildlife Act
Alberta Land
Stewardship Act
Forest and Prairie
Protection Act
Mines and Minerals Ac
Water Act
Environmental Protection
and Enhancement Act
Pesticide Regulations
Code of Practice for Pits
Code of Practice for
Watercourse Crossings
Conservation and
Reclamation Regulations
Weed Act
Contact Information
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development
Main Floor, Great West Life Building
9920 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2M4
Tel (Edmonton): 780.944.0313
Toll Free: 1.877.944.0313
Fax: 780.427.4407
Email: [email protected]
www.srd.alberta.ca
Alberta Environment
Information Centre
Main Floor, 9820 – 106 St.
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2J6
Tel (Edmonton): 780.427.2700
Toll free: 310.0000
Fax: 780.422.4086
www.environment.alberta.ca
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
100A J.G. O’Donoghue Building
7000 113th Street
Edmonton, Alberta T6X 5T6
Tel (Edmonton): 780.427.2727
Toll Free: 310.3276
Email: [email protected]
Historical Resources Act
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit
418 Legislature Building
10800 97 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2B6
Tel (Edmonton): 780-422-3559
Fax: 780-427-7729
Email: [email protected]
The Alberta Natural
Heritage Information
Centre tracks sensitive
species information.
Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation
2nd Floor, Oxbridge Place
9820 - 106 Street
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
T5K 2J6
Tel (Edmonton): (780) 427-5209
Fax: (780) 427-5980
Appendix A
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Appendix
BMP Fact Sheets
B
Appendix B
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Applying Mulch on Public Land
Purpose
Design Considerations
Mulching is the application of woody material
to the soil surface to help increase filtration and
protect soils from raindrop impact (Figure 1).
It will also help to prevent or reduce erosion,
conserve moisture, prevent soil compaction, and
decrease runoff. Mulch can be placed over soil
where seeding has recently occurred to prevent
seed from blowing or washing away, insulate the
soil, protect seed from predators, etc., helping
to establish vegetation. Mulching is a temporary
erosion and sedimentation control measure.
Mulch can be applied wherever soil has been
disturbed and the vegetative layer has been
removed. It is suitable on slopes where rill
erosion may occur, but should not be used on
slopes steeper than 3:1 (horizontal:vertical).
If the purpose of mulching is to establish
vegetation, they should last as long as it takes
vegetation to properly establish.
When placed on steep slopes, mulch should be
anchored (disking, crimping, studded rollers,
etc.) or applied hydraulically.
Beneficial use of wood chips includes:
Types of mulching include:
• Reduction of industrial footprint; and
• Erosion control blankets;
• Erosion control and protection of the soil
resource.
• Wood chips or bark; and
• Hydraulic mulches from wood and/or wood
and paper fibre.
Erosion control blankets are suitable for postconstruction site stabilization, and stabilization
of soils on steep slopes. They can also be
used in channels where velocity may wash out
new vegetation. Seeding should occur before
blankets are installed, and other erosion control
vegetation can be installed afterwards.
Wood chips or bark should be used at a depth
no thicker of 5cm to prevent soil nutrient
concentration being depressed under the layer
of bark. Where there is excessive >5 cm wood
chips accumulation, it must be documented and
a rationale must be provided. Documentation
Figure 1: Compost mulch applied to the soil surface.
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For Aggregate Operators On Public
Land
must indicate how any potentially negative
effects on soil thermal properties and/or
vegetation establishment have been addressed.
Wood chips shall not be spread on tame
pasture and native rangelands such as native
grasslands, forests and riparian areas1.
Maintenance
If properly installed and anchored, little
maintenance is required. After rain events or
periods of high wind, maintenance is required to
ensure that cover is still adequate. Re-mulching
should occur immediately, if necessary.
Erosion control blankets can last up to two
years, while mulch can last from six months to
three years.
Sources
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development. 2009. Management of
Wood Chips on Public Land. External Directive.
City of Edmonton. 2005. Erosion and Sedimentation Control
Field Manual. <http://edmonton.ca/city_government/documents/
FieldManual.pdf>, June 2010.
Idaho Department of Water Quality. 2005. BMP 15: Mulching. IDEQ
Storm Water Best Management Practices Catalogue. <http://www.
deq.state.id.us/water/data_reports/storm_water/catalog/sec_2/
bmps/15.pdf>, June 2010.
1
McCullah, J., CPESC. 1993. North Carolina Erosion and Sediment
Control Planning and Design Manual; Association of Bay Area
Governments, Manual of Standards for Erosion and Sediment Control
Measures; California Storm Water Best Management Practices
Handbook.
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development. 2009. Management of
Wood Chips on Public Land. External Directive
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For Aggregate Operators On Public
Land
Brush Barrier
Purpose
should be placed within the trench, covered with
soil, and compacted. Ensure that the fabric is
sufficiently staked down on the downstream side
of the barrier.
A brush barrier is a temporary sediment control
measure that is applied at the perimeter of a
site (Figure 1). It consists of vegetative material
or other debris that is left over after clearing and
grubbing the site. Brush barriers allow runoff to
continue to flow while retaining sediment.
Individual pieces of material used to construct
the brush barrier should be no greater than 15
cm wide. Larger material will create gaps in the
barrier, allowing sediment to flow through with
the runoff.
Design Considerations
Brush barrier drainage areas should be no
greater than 0.25 acres per 30 m of barrier
length. The slope leading to the barrier must be
2:1 or less, and no longer than 30 m.
Brush barriers should be approximately 1 m tall
and 1.5 m wide at the base. The barrier should
be imbedded 10 cm into the soil, and a trench
that is also 10 cm deep and 15 cm wide should
be dug on the upstream side of the barrier. The
vegetative material used to create the barrier
should then be covered with geotextile or fibre
cloth to stabilize the structure. The fabric
Other Considerations
Brush barriers are only suitable for low-velocity
areas where flow is less than 0.03 m3/s. They
are not suitable for concentrated flow.
US Environmental Protection Agency, 2008.
If clearing and grubbing the site does not
result in enough vegetative material needed
to construct a brush barrier, alternative
sedimentation control methods must be
implemented (e.g., silt fence).
Maintenance
Brush barriers must be inspected after runoff
or rain events. If channels form through gaps
in the barrier, the gaps must be eliminated.
Sediment accumulating on the uphill side of
the barrier must be removed when it reaches
2/3 the height of the barrier. When the site
has been fully stabilized, the barrier must be
removed and properly disposed of.
Figure 1: A brush barrier, designed to trap
sediment from runoff.
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Sources
McCullah, J., CPESC. 1993. North Carolina Erosion and Sediment
Control Planning and Design Manual; Association of Bay Area
Governments, Manual of Standards for Erosion and Sediment Control
Measures; California Storm Water Best Management Practices
Handbook.
US Environmental Protection Agency. 2008. Brush Barrier. National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). <http://cfpub.epa.
gov/npdes/stormwater/menuofbmps/index.cfm?action=browse&Rbut
ton=detail&bmp=55>, June 2010.
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Buffer Zone
Purpose
A buffer zone is a natural or planted vegetated
strip maintained adjacent to a shoreline,
wetland or stream, as well as pit operations.
The purpose of a buffer is to reduce erosion
and sedimentation by maintaining bank
stabilization, reduce noise, block wind, maintain
a travel corridor for wildlife and improve the
visual appearance of a site. Vegetation along a
waterway will filter out pollutants or sediment
that may be collected in surface runoff as it
travels across a site. The buffer zone will also
help prevent loss of soil material that could be
suitable for reclamation purposes.
Figure 1: Natural buffers around waterways provide stream bank stabilization, prevent erosion, filter
pollutants, provide wildlife habitat and shade streams.
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Design Considerations
The following land and resource management
factors are often associated with buffer width:
Aquatic Areas – Sensitivity of the watershed
including flooding potential, watercourse
characteristics (i.e. sinuosity), type of fishery
and fish habitat will dictate the size of the buffer.
Timber Types – Less stable vegetation requires
wider buffers to avoid blow-downs.
Existing Vegetation Types – Some vegetation
types are more effective buffer (see table 1).
Wildlife Use – Riparian areas can act as
important wildlife corridors.
Aesthetics and Recreation Use – Buffers can
be used to create a visual barrier.
Slope – Areas with higher slopes may require
wider buffers.
Depending on the benefit that is desired by
retaining a buffer zone, different vegetation
types are suitable (Table 1).
Soil Types – As the soil becomes more
compact, the infiltration rate is reduced thereby
reducing the retention rate of water within the
buffer. A wider buffer zone is required with
increased soil compaction.
Table 1. Relative effectiveness of different vegetation types for providing specific benefits (NRCS
Planning & Design Manual 1994).
Vegetation Type
Benefit
Grass
Shrub
Tree
Stabilize bank erosion
Low
High
High
Filter sediment
High
Low
Low
High
Low
Low
Medium
Low
Medium
Low
Medium
High
High
Medium
Low
Low
Medium
High
Filter nutrients, pesticides, microbes
• Sediment bound
• Soluble
Aquatic habitat
Wildlife habitat
• Range/pasture/prairie wildlife
Medium
Low
Medium
Visual diversity
Economic products
Low
Medium
High
Flood protection
Low
Medium
High
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AENV, 2004.
Figure 2: Extraction setback example.
slope is to be established (see Figure 2). This
allows for maximum resource development
while maintaining a stable slope that can be
revegetated with relative ease.
• It is important the ensure that runoff from
a disturbed area is distributed throughout
the entire buffer zone, not concentrated in a
single discharge point within a buffer zone.
• For a pit with an average depth of 4 m, the
extraction setback would be 4 m x 1.5 = six
metres.
• If a natural buffer zone is not available,
alternatives include installing flow barriers,
diversions, sediment traps, vegetative
planting or silt fences.
• The distance from the actual property
boundary to where the mining must stop
would be 3 m (recommended undisturbed
buffer adjacent to the property line) plus 6 m
(extraction setback) = 9 m.
• Buffers along pit operations, e.g., between
operations and a roadway, should be at
minimum 3 m wide.
• Natural buffers around sensitive areas such
as waterways and wetlands should always be
maintained.
• During reclamation, the material left in this
extraction setback is used to establish a 3:1
slope starting from the edge of the three
metre undisturbed buffer and running to the
pit floor.
Extraction Setbacks
The setback width must be added to the buffer
zone width. There must be enough room and
material available to meet sloping requirements
for the excavation. For example:
• Extraction setback distances must be
increased in cases where flatter slopes are
needed adjacent to the buffer zone.
• It is important to ensure that there are no
stability problems at the pit face. Extraction
can occur in the setback area if overburden
material can be used to stabilize the slope
and ensure stability.
• The extraction setback should be equal to
the average depth of the pit multiplied by
1.5 for property boundaries where a 3:1
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Maintenance
Natural buffer zones require little maintenance,
however, they should be inspected after rain
or runoff events to determine if large amounts
of sediment have been deposited. If erosion
channels are developing, they should be
repaired immediately.
Planted vegetation may need to be watered until
they are well established. Pruning will also help
to promote thick and sturdy plant growth.
Sources
Alberta Environment. 2004. A Guide to the Code of Practice for Pits.
<http://environment.gov.ab.ca/info/library/5997.pdf>, June 2010.
British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines. 2002. Aggregate
Operators Best Management Practices Handbook for British Columbia.
Volume II: Best Management Practices.
Government of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. 2010.
Buffer Zones for a Healthy Watershed. <http://www1.agric.gov.
ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/irr6419>, June 2010.
US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation
Service. 1994. Planning and Design Manual for the Control of
Erosion, Sediment and Stormwater.
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Check Dam
Purpose
Design Considerations
A check dam is a small, temporary dam that is
constructed within a ditch or channel and is used
to divert runoff to a desired location (Figure 1).
The purpose of a check dam is to reduce the
gradient of a ditch, thereby slowing the flow of
water and reducing the potential for erosion and
sedimentation. As water flow slows, sediment
is more likely to settle out. Check dams are
not suitable for natural watercourses, or any
watercourse that contains fish as they may
create a barrier to fish passage.
Check dams should only be used in areas where
drainage is less than 1 ha and channel slopes
are less than 10%.
If water will flow rapidly over the dam, use
gravel, cobble, etc. that is non-erodible for
construction. For dams where granular material
is suitable, ensure that the dam has a triangular
cross section with a 2:1 slope (horizontal to
vertical).
Maximum height of the dam should be 0.6 m,
with a 0.25 m notch in the centre that will help
control the flow. The top of the dam should be
0.3 m below the top of the ditch.
When constructing multiple dams, the toe of the
upstream dam should be at the same elevation
of the top of the downstream dam. Table 1
provides guidelines for spacing in between check
dams.
Table 1: Guideline for spacing in between check
dams, based on slope grade (City of
Edmonton).
Figure 1. Check dams situated within a ditch.
Slope Grade (%)
Maximum Length (m)
2
30
4
23
6
15
8
12
10
7.5
Boards or straw bales may be used in dam
construction as well. If using these materials,
install rip rap below the outfall to help prevent
erosion.
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Check Dam Options
Filter Fabric: this can be placed under a rock
or sandbag check dam, anchored in a trench. It
helps prevent sediment from flowing through
the damn.
Straw Bale Check Dam: can be used in minor
swales and ditches. Drainage must be less
than 1 ha, or the dam must be pulled out in 2
months.
Log Check Dam: composed of boards or
logs, embedded at least 0.5 m in the soil and
extending 4 to 6 inches out of the soil.
Maintenance
If flows that are heavily laden with sediment
are expected, inspection of the dam should
occur regularly (during and after). Areas with
deposition should be cleaned out and repaired
when necessary.
Deposition will likely occur above the dam, and
erosion will occur below the damn.
Remove sediment once it reaches half of the
height of the dam.
Sources
British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines. 2002. Aggregate
Operators Best Management Practices Handbook for British Columbia.
Volume II: Best Management Practices.
City of Edmonton. 2005. Erosion and Sedimentation Control
Field Manual. <http://edmonton.ca/city_government/documents/
FieldManual.pdf>, June 2010.
McCullah, J., CPESC. 1993. North Carolina Erosion and Sediment
Control Planning and Design Manual; Association of Bay Area
Governments, Manual of Standards for Erosion and Sediment Control
Measures; California Storm Water Best Management Practices
Handbook.
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Erosion Control Blanket
Purpose
Installation Considerations
Erosion control blankets are a temporary
blanket that is placed on top of areas that are
susceptible to erosion (e.g., often bare exposed
soils) and areas where vegetation is slow to
establish (Figure 1). They help to stabilize the
soil, prevent seed from washing away, increase
infiltration, protect soil from impact of raindrops,
and conserve moisture. They are often used
on steep slopes where the erosion potential is
very high and in channels where flow has the
potential to wash out new vegetation.
It is very important to follow the directions
for the product you are using and not to cut
corners. The following directions may not be
appropriate for all products.
Erosion control blankets should be placed within
24 hours of seeding the area.
Proper anchoring is important. If rills or
gullies develop underneath the blanket, the
effectiveness of the blanket is severely reduced.
At the top of the slope, the blanket should
be anchored 150 mm deep, backfilled, and
compacted.
When the growing season is short and plants
may have difficulty establishing, erosion control
blankets are recommended over hydro-seeding.
The blanket should be unrolled in the direction
of water flow. The ends must overlap 180mm
and the edges must overlap 100 mm. They
must be stapled every 900 mm.
Allied Landscape and Contractor Supply. 2010.
Erosion Control. http://www.alliedlandscape.
com/erosion_control.html, March 2010.
If blankets are laid similarly to shingles, they
must overlap 180 mm and also be stapled every
900 mm1.
Figure 1: Erosion control blankets help to
stabilize soil, prevent loss of seed,
increase infiltrations, etc.
1
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Maintenance
Erosion control blankets must be maintained
regularly, especially after storms and runoff
events. Blankets can mask slope failures
therefore close inspection is required. Loose
sections should also be restored.
Additional Information
Erosion control blankets are used in areas where
they are needed for up to two years. They are
often made of wood fibre, mulch or synthetic
materials and will eventually degrade over time,
leaving behind only the established vegetation.
Sources
British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines. 2002. Aggregate
Operators Best Management Practices Handbook for British Columbia.
Volume II: Best Management Practices.
City of Edmonton. 2005. Erosion and Sedimentation Control
Field Manual. http://edmonton.ca/city_government/documents/
FieldManual.pdf, June 2010.
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Grading
Purpose
Design Considerations
Grading is reshaping of the ground surface to
prepare the land for any upcoming activities
(Figure 1). It provides a suitable topography for
extraction activities. Grading is often necessary
for operation of equipment and stockpiling, to
control surface runoff and to minimize erosion
and sedimentation.
Careful design and planning of the site can help
reduce erosion, and therefore reduce the cost of
implementing erosion control measures. In fact,
appropriate grading can form the basis of an
erosion and sedimentation control plan.
A grading plan should include/consider the
following:
• Which slopes require grading;
• The desired slope angle;
• The length of the finished graded area;
• Where excavated material will be stored; and
• When/where borrow material will be needed.
Graded areas that will be used by heavy
equipment should have a slope less than or
equal to 3:1.
Figure 1: Grading of the ground surface to
prepare for equipment operation and
stockpiling.
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Installation Considerations
Post-grading, areas must be stabilized
immediately. This is accomplished through
hydro-seeding, vegetation, riprap installation,
etc. If final grading is delayed, use mulch for
temporary stabilization.
Grading should not occur during rain events.
The surface should be scarified to a minimum
depth of 8 cm before placing topsoil.
Surfaces can be roughed to help prevent erosion
by increasing water infiltration.
If areas become extremely compacted through
grading, the surface should be ripped/subsoiled
to help facilitate drainage and vegetative root
growth that would otherwise be inhibited by
compacted soil.
To avoid water flowing on newly graded slopes,
creating the potential for sedimentation and
erosion, all runoff should be diverted to an
appropriate outlet.
Once final grading is complete, areas must be
fully stabilized.
Maintenance
Erosion Control and
Considerations
Graded areas should be checked immediately
after heavy rainfalls. If sediment has
accumulated in areas, it should be removed. If
areas have been washed out, they should be
repaired immediately.
The use of buffer zones around adjacent areas
can be used to as an erosion control measure.
Channels and diversions should be cleared
of sediment until vegetation has had time to
establish.
Slope breaks can be used to reduce the length
of a cut or fill slope, limit sheet and rill erosion
and prevent gullying. Table 1 provides a spacing
guide1:
Steep Slopes
Long Slopes
*100% slope
= 1:1 = 45o
1
Slope*
Slope Break
Spacing (m)
2:1 (50%)
6.0
3:1 (33%)
11.0
4:1 (25%)
14.0
15-25%
15.0
10-15%
24.0
6-10%
38.0
3-6%
61.0
<3%
91.0
Sources
British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines. 2002. Aggregate
Operators Best Management Practices Handbook for British Columbia.
Volume II: Best Management Practices.
Metropolitan Council/Barr Engineering Co. 2009. Minnesota
Urban Small Sites BMP Manual. Construction Practices: Grading.
<http://www.metrocouncil.org/environment/Water/BMP/CH3_
RPPConstGrading.pdf>, June 2010.
British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines, 2002.
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Grass Lined Channels
Purpose
The channel should be built according to the
planned alignment, grade and cross section.
Vegetation linings are used in channels along
roadways or around the property perimeter.
They are generally constructed, using native
vegetation, for the purpose of handling
concentrated surface runoff along moderate
slopes to prevent erosion and sedimentation by
lowering water velocity and binding sediment.
Grass-lined channels can be used where:
Channels should be designed to convey runoff
from a 10-year storm without erosion.
The cross section can be V-shaped, trapezoidal
or parabolic depending on the need and site
condition.
The cross-section should be wide and shallow
with relatively flat side slopes so that water can
flow over the slopes without creating erosion.
• Surface runoff is causing erosion within a
channel;
The sides of the channel should be sloped less
than 2:1, and triangular-shaped channels along
roads should be sloped 2:1 or less for safety.
• Channel grades are less than 5%; and
• Space is available for a fairly wide and
shallow cross section.
Channels should be designed to accommodate
110% of peak/storm flows and account for the
vegetation planted in the channel.
Grass-line Channels are not appropriate for
natural waterways. Natural waterway should not
be channelized unless approvals are obtained.
Erosion and Sediment Control
Grassed channels usually are not typically
designed to solely control high flows. They are
often used in combination with other BMPs, such
as riprap stabilization. They should not be used
in areas where flow rates exceed 1.5 metres per
second.
Rip-rap, linings or sod may be required at
concentrated inflows, corners and outfalls to
protect the channel banks.
Seed the channel immediately after grading and
protect with erosion control blankets, mulch or
other geo-textiles.
Design Considerations
Channels should drain into stable treatment
structures such as sediment basins or sediment
traps. They should not drain into natural
waterways and should be designed so that fish
are unable to enter the channel.
Grass-lined channels should be designed early in
the construction schedule, prior to grading and
paving as these activities will increase surface
runoff.
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Maintenance
Grass-lines channel should be inspected and
repaired as required after storm events during
initial establishment.
Channels should be regularly checked for debris,
scour or erosion and immediately repaired.
Outlets and road crossings should be inspected
for bank stability and drop scour. Repairs should
be made immediately.
Remove sediment and debris from channel
as needed to prevent blockage and maintain
functionality.
Additional Considerations
If installed improperly grass-lined channels can
later natural flow of surface water across a site.
If channel is not properly designed to handle
large storm events then the vegetation within
the channel may not be enough to prevent
erosion resulting in the destruction of the
constructed channel.
Sources
North Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Community
Development. 1988. Erosion and Sediment Control Planning and
Design Manual; North Carolina Sediment Control Commission.
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). 2002. Illinois Urban
Manual: Practice Standard. United States Department of Agriculture.
<http://www.il.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/engineer/urban/contents.
html>, June 2010.
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Rock Outlets
Purpose
Design Considerations
A rock outlet is a protective device that is
designed to control erosion at the downstream
end of a channel or culvert. It is composed of
rock, riprap, or concrete rubble and is placed
at the outlet/downstream end. By reducing
velocity of water flowing through the end of the
channel, the rock outlet helps to decrease scour
and downstream erosion.
Rock outlets should be designed by a registered
professional and plans/specs must be used
throughout the construction. The following are
minimum design requirements1:
• Grading: the elevation of the downstream
end of the rock outlet should be the same
as the elevation of the bottom end of the
receiving channel.
It is appropriate in areas where discharge
velocity has the potential to cause erosion and
where flow is already sediment laden.
• Alignment: the rock outlet should be
straight. If curves are needed, they should
be located at the upstream end.
• Riprap: the riprap should be well-graded and
comprised of rocks of various sizes. Ideally,
large rock will dominated and smaller rocks
will be used to fill in spaces.
Source: Livestock and Land, 2010
• Riprap thickness: minimum thickness should
be 1.5 times the maximum rock diameter.
• Riprap length: rock outlets should be as
long as necessary to minimize erosion in the
receiving environment.
• Rock quality: field stone or quarry stone
should be used. It should be hard, angular
and chemical and weather resistant. The
filter can be a geotextile fabric or a later of
sand/gravel, or both.
Figure 1: A rock outlet can provide erosion control
at the downstream end of a culvert or a
channel.
1
• Toewalls: these should be constructed
according to the design. They may help to
prevent maintenance problems if installed
around the entire perimeter.
City of Springfield Department of Public Works Storm Water
Services Division. 2008.
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General Installation Procedure
Maintenance
• Clear the area of trees, brush, etc. that may
interfere with construction. Excavate the
area below the design elevation to allow for
the height of the filter and riprap. Compact
the foundation to the appropriate density
Inspection is required after storm and runoff
events, and repair should be done as soon as
possible. Ensure that added stones/rocks are
not placed above the finished grade.
Additional Considerations
• Geotextile filters: place material on the
foundation. If necessary, overlap the
upstream piece on the downstream piece
(not vice versa) by 1.5 ft in all directions. If
material tears, place a new piece over top
overlapping 1.5 ft. Staple the new piece in
place.
Avoid using grouted riprap because freezing
and thawing of the riprap will result in the grout
breaking up. Large storms have the potential
to wash away rocks. Durable and angular rocks
yield best results.
If there are any circumstances that will
result in design specifications not being met,
consult the designer. It is important to follow
design specifications because deviations (e.g.,
foundation not excavated deep enough, riprap
too small) can result in erosion, scouring, etc.
• Sand/gravel filters: ensure that the material
is clean. There must be enough fine
material to prevent the larger material to
move through the filter layer. The filter layer
should be uniform in thickness. Gradation
and compaction should follow design
specifications.
• Riprap: install riprap according to design
specifications. In the case of undefined
channels, ensure that the cross sections are
level or slightly lower in the middle. The top
of the riprap should be level with or slightly
below the receiving watercourse.
• Erosion control: disturbed areas must be
stabilized immediately after installation.
Sources
• Construction verification: ensure that all
design specifications were met.
British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines. 2002. Aggregate
Operators Best Management Practices Handbook for British Columbia.
Volume II: Best Management Practices.
City of Springfield Department of Public Works Storm Water Services
Division. 2008. Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control Guidelines.
<http://www.springfieldmo.gov/stormwater/pdfs/BMPsManual.pdf>,
June 2010.
Salt Lake County Public Works Engineering. 1999. Stormwater
Discharge management from Construction Activities. BMP: Outlet
Protection. <http://www.pweng.slco.org/pdf/construction/op.pdf>,
June 2010.
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Sediment Basin / Settling Pond
Purpose
Location of sediment basins to natural
waterbodies should be considered to minimize
the effect of potential settling pond flooding,
berm failure, and other releases during high
runoff or stormwater events.
Sediment basins, or retention basins, are
temporary sedimentation control measures
(Figure 1). They are ponds that can be used
to temporarily hold stormwater or water used
during mining/construction, thereby allowing
sediment to filter out. They can be used for
a drainage area of 2 to 40 ha in size, and are
effective for up to 18 months.
Sediment basins should be constructed at the
site’s natural outlet or an area where water
from the site naturally collects. This location
will ideally be where the largest amount of
runoff will be intercepted, and where a postconstruction detention basin is proposed.
Sediment basins should not be erected
in a natural or undisturbed waterbody or
watercourse.
Diversion dykes can be used to direct drainage
into the basin. The length of the flow path
leading to the pond(s) should be 3 – 5 times the
width of the pond.
The basin capacity should be approximately 50
m3 per hectare of drainage area, or roughly
40% of the height x surface area. There are
formulae available to calculate the ideal size of
the sediment basin. However, they are beyond
the scope of this BMP manual; please refer to
McCullah (1993).
Figure 1: Temporary sediment basin designed to
hold storm water or water used during
construction.
Sediment basins are only 70 – 80 % effective,
and detention time must be 24 – 40 hr to allow
for removing sediment as small as medium size
silt. For removal of smaller sediment, retention
time should be longer. It may be difficult to
build a sediment pond large enough to hold
water for a sufficient length of time; therefore,
it can be beneficial to implement additional
erosion and sedimentation control measures.
This can include minimizing disturbance,
temporary seeding, mulching, diversion dykes,
etc. These control methods will help reduce
sediment before it enters the basin.
Design Considerations
Identify all water sources that will be directed
into the sediment basin(s) to ensure that the
design parameters are appropriate. Consider
whether the sediment pond will be dredged
and re-used or filled in and closed once it is no
longer needed for its initial purpose. This may
affect the amount of land required.
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riser bases must be watertight. Fill material
around the spillway should be in 10.2 cm thick
layers and compacted to the same density as
the embankment. Proper design elevations,
widths, and entrance and exit channel slops are
essential for proper functioning of the spillway.
Additionally, multiple ponds can be constructed
in a series. The first pond will allow for filtering
out the coarsest material, while the final pond
will filter out the finest material. Because not all
ponds are used at the same time, maintenance
can occur at one or two ponds while the others
are being used. If possible, the system should
be designed in a closed loop layout to support
water conservation initiatives and allow for onsite process water management.
Ideally, the area (embankment, spillway)
will be stabilized with temporary vegetation
immediately following basin construction, but
must be done within 2 weeks.
Soil characteristics, land availability and overall
cost must be considered when developing a
sediment basin.
Maintenance
Sediment basins must be maintained. Prior to
a rain event, the water level should be drawn
down if necessary. Once the basin is 1/3 full of
sediment, it must be cleaned out. Ensure that
outlets are free of debris, rocks, etc. that have
the potential to block water.
Installation Considerations
To prepare the site, remove all topsoil and
vegetation from the area. Compact the area if
needed.
The embankment must be clear of vegetation,
roots, stones, rocks, etc. Construct the
embankment with mineral soil containing
enough moisture to form into a ball by hand
without crumbling. You should not be able to
squeeze water out of the ball. This material
should be added in 0.2 m lifts, over the entire
length. Compact the fill by using a compactor
or by driving over it with at least one wheel
or tread track of the equipment. Due to the
settling potential, the embankment should be
constructed at an elevation of 10% higher than
the design. This can be decreased to 5% if a
compactor is used.
Once the sediment basin is no longer needed,
the structure should be levelled or removed
according to the erosion and sedimentation
control plan.
The standpipe riser can be perforated plastic
pipes, screened, or T-intersections.
City of Edmonton. 2005. Erosion and Sedimentation Control
Field Manual. <http://edmonton.ca/city_government/documents/
FieldManual.pdf>, June 2010.
The spillway should be place on a smooth,
firm soil foundation, not over unprotected
mineral soil. All connections between risers and
McCullah, J., CPESC. 1993. North Carolina Erosion and Sediment
Control Planning and Design Manual; Association of Bay Area
Governments, Manual of Standards for Erosion and Sediment Control
Measures; California Storm Water Best Management Practices
Handbook.
October 28, 2010
Sources
British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines. 2002. Aggregate
Operators Best Management Practices Handbook for British Columbia.
Volume II: Best Management Practices.
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Appendix
Additional Literature
C
Aggregates – General Resources
Aggregate Producers Association of Ontario. 1999. Environmental Management Guide for Ontario Pits
and Quarries, Version 2.0.
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Reclamation of Prairie Grasslands
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Historical Resources
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Noise
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On-Site Water
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Permitting
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Reclamation
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Risk
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Soil
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Surface Water
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Vegetation
Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. 2000. Purity of Native Seed used for Revegetation of
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Alberta Environment. 2003. Revegetation Using Native Plant Materials: Guidelines for Industrial
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Ducks Unlimited Canada. 1995. Revegetating with Native Grasses. Native Plant Materials Committee.
Stonewall, Manitoba. 133 pp.
Gerling, H.S. 2000. Control Options for Downy Brome on Prairie Reclamation Sites. Public Lands
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Gerling, H.S., M.G. Willoughby, A. Schoepf, K.E. Tannis and C.A. Tannis. 1996. A Guide to using Native
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Johnson, J. D. and E.M. Lefebvre. 2000. Rare Vascular Plants of Alberta. Natural Resources Canada,
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Kerr, D.S., L.J. Morrison, and K.E. Wilkinson. 1993. Reclamation of Native Grasslands in Alberta: A
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ISBN 0-7732-0881-X. 205 pp. plus Appendices.
Lancaster, J. 2000. Alberta Native Plant Council Guidelines for Rare Plant Surveys. <http://www.anpc.
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Visual Landscape
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Water
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the Water Act. Alberta Environment, Environmental Assurance, Regulatory Assurance Division. 16 pp.
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Alberta Environment, 2001. Water Act Fact Sheet, Temporary Diversion of Water.
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American Water Works Association, 1998. Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and
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Weed Management
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Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. 2001. Weeds of the Prairies. AGDEX 640-4.
Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. 2001. Practical Crop Protection (Green Book).
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Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. 2002. Crop Protection (Blue Book). AGDEX 606–1.
74 pp.
Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. Factsheets on weeds and weed control are available
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Alberta Environment. 2003. Problem Introduced Forages on Prairie and Parkland Reclamation Sites:
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Royer, F. and R. Dickson. 1999. Weeds of Canada and the Northern United States. The University of
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Wildlife
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