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The Application of Ecological Principles to Accelerate Reclamation of Drill Well Pads 2009 PAW Oil and Gas Reclamation PowerPoint Presentation
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The Application of Ecological Principles to Accelerate Reclamation of Drill Well Pads 2009 PAW Oil and Gas Reclamation

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The Application of Ecological Principles to Accelerate Reclamation of Drill Well Pads 2009 PAW Oil and Gas Reclamation

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    1. The Application of Ecological Principles to Accelerate Reclamation of Drill Well Pads 2009 PAW Oil and Gas Reclamation Conference Ed Redente and Cindy Pappas MWH, Inc. 3665 JFK Parkway Fort Collins, CO 80525

    4. Drill Pad Reclamation in Northwest Colorado Current Challenges Arid conditions and highly variable year to year precipitation Invasive species dominate large tracts of land

    5. Overall Objective of the Study Identify techniques that will improve the success of reclamation efforts on natural gas well pads in northwest Colorado

    6. Ecological Approach to Treatment Selection Ecological Processes & Modifying Factors Seed Dispersal & Seedbed Preparation Nutrient Availability & Reverse Fertilization Environmental Stress & Species-Rich Mixtures Interference & Annual Cover Crop Surface depressions retain moisture at the surface longer Have more favorable atmospheric and temperature regimes Trap seeds and organic matter more effectively than smooth soil surface Weedy species (ex. cheatgrass, kochia) are more advantageous in high nutrient environments. The addition of a C source (ex. wood chips) reduces the amount of available N to plants. Plant diversity is higher when fertilizer is withheld Environmental conditions vary from site to site and year to year. Seed mixes with high species richness are more likely to have species with germination requirements that meet current site conditions and could prevent invasive species of the same functional guild. Cover crops help reduce erosion, provide organic matter, and interfere with invasive species. Native annuals simulate a cover crop. Native annuals will occupy space until the perennial species establish.Surface depressions retain moisture at the surface longer Have more favorable atmospheric and temperature regimes Trap seeds and organic matter more effectively than smooth soil surface Weedy species (ex. cheatgrass, kochia) are more advantageous in high nutrient environments. The addition of a C source (ex. wood chips) reduces the amount of available N to plants. Plant diversity is higher when fertilizer is withheld Environmental conditions vary from site to site and year to year. Seed mixes with high species richness are more likely to have species with germination requirements that meet current site conditions and could prevent invasive species of the same functional guild. Cover crops help reduce erosion, provide organic matter, and interfere with invasive species. Native annuals simulate a cover crop. Native annuals will occupy space until the perennial species establish.

    7. Study Site Characteristics Pad Characteristics Two plant community types: Pinon-Juniper and Sagebrush-Greasewood Five pads total (3 in Sagebrush-Greasewood and 2 in Pinon-Juniper) Elevation ranges: 1609 1789 meters (5278 5870 ft) Average annual precipitation = 12 inches Total pad area ranges: 0.56 0.78 hectares (1.38 1.93 acres)

    8. Reclamation Treatments Tested Treatments 2 Tillage treatments 2 Amendment treatments 2 Seeding methods 2 Seed mixtures

    9. Treatments (plots 20 x 40 ft) Rough vs. Smooth 4 catchments or basins per plot 1 ft deep, 3 ft long, 6 ft wide 25% of surface area of plot Soil Amendment Wood chips at 45 tons/acre Incorporated to 6 inches Seeding Method Island broadcasting (forbs and shrubs separated from grasses) Traditional broadcasting (all life forms in same seed mixture) Seed Mixtures Perennials only Annuals and perennials combined

    10. Plot Construction Photos

    11. Plot Construction Photos

    12. 2007 ppt 53% of average 2008 ppt 104% of average2007 ppt 53% of average 2008 ppt 104% of average

    13. Plant Cover Summer 2008

    21. Summary Cover of seeded species showed a significant increase between 1st and 2nd growing seasons Use of annual species did not facilitate the establishment of seeded perennials Use of catchments/basins significantly increased cover of seeded species Use of wood chips significantly reduced cover or non-native species Use of island broadcasting resulted in greater cover of noxious species