Drozdowski, BL, Faught, RL & Underwood, A 2011, 'Soil moisture and bulk density monitoring at Syncrude Canada Ltd.', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & A Beersing (eds), Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 143-152, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1152_16_Drozdowski
Soils disturbed by surface mining in the Athabasca oil sands region must be salvaged and replaced during reclamation in accordance with the current provincial legislation. Historical replacement strategies have been dependent on mining approval conditions, waste materials and targeted vegetation. To determine if the reconstructed soils provided adequate moisture for the post-reclamation vegetation community, a long-term monitoring study was established. Thirty-seven sites were established and monitored for soil moisture and bulk density in reclaimed soil covers and natural soils from 1994 to 2010. During the course of the study, the natural coarse textured Brunisolic (Cryochrepts and Dystrochrepts) soils had volumetric water content values ranging from approximately 3 to 10% and the finer textured Luvisolic (Boralf) soils had values ranging from 17 to 30% during the growing season. Reconstructed soils had moisture contents ranging between the Luvisolic and Brunisolic soils and the most seasonal variability occurred in the soil caps with the finer textured secondary layer and to a lesser extent the peat-mix over tailings sand cover. Based on laboratory derived available water holding capacity, all of the reconstructed soil covers were capable of holding more water in the upper metre of soil than the coarse textured natural soil and were variable
(45–138%) compared to the fine textured natural Luvisolic soil. Bulk density of the reconstructed soil covers ranged from 1.4 to 1.7 Mg m-3 which was similar to the values for the finer textured Luvisolic soil. The underlying tailings sand had values of approximately 1.4 Mg m-3 which were similar to the values for the coarse textured Brunisolic soils. Results of the research indicate that current reclamation practices are appropriate for providing soil moisture to support vegetation covers.
Albrecht, S.C. and Thompson, E.R. (1982) Impact of surface mining on soil compaction in the mid-western U.S.A. created for Bureau of Mines, U.S. Department of the Interior, Hittman Associates Inc., Lexington, Kentucky, Open File Report, 319 p.
Barbour, L., Chanasyk, D., Hendry, J., Leskiw, L., Macyk, T., Mendoza, C., Naeth, M.A., Nichol, C., O’Kane, M., Purdy, B., Qualizza, C., Quideau, S. and Welham, C. (2007) Soil capping research in the Athabasca Oil Sands region, Vol. 1: Technology Synthesis, 175 p.
Beckingham, J.D. and Archibald, J.H. (1996) Field guide to ecosites of northern Alberta, Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Center, 336 p.
Brussler, B.H., Byrnes, W.R., Pope, P.E. and Chaney, W.R. (1984) Properties of minesoil reclaimed for forest land use, Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 48, pp. 178–184.
Doran, J.W. and Parker, T.B. (1994) Defining and assessing soil quality, in Defining soil quality for a sustainable environment, SSSA Special Publication Number 35, pp. 3–21.
Gardner, W.R. (1968) Availability and measurement of soil water, Water deficits and plant growth, Vol. 1, Academic Press Inc., New York, NY, pp. 107–135.
Hillel, D. (1982) Introduction to soil physics, Academic Press Inc., San Diego, California, pp. 57–89.
Macyk, T.M. and Drozdowski, B.L. (2008) Comprehensive report on operational reclamation techniques in the mineable oil sands region, Created for the Cumulative Environmental Management Association, September 2008, 371 p.
Macyk, T.M. and Richens, T.C. (2002) Assessment of rooting characteristics and nutrient cycling in soils at the Operations of Syncrude Canada Ltd., created for Syncrude Canada Ltd., Alberta Research Council, Edmonton, Alberta (confidential, cited with permission), 89 p.
Macyk, T.M., Drozdowski, B.D., Faught, R.L. and Underwood, A. (2009) Evaluation of long-term changes in reconstructed soils at the operations of Syncrude Canada Ltd., Created for Syncrude Canada Ltd., Alberta Research Council, Edmonton, Alberta (confidential, cited with permission), 120 p.
Naeth, M.A., White, D.J., Chanasyk, D.S., Macyk, T.M., Powter, C.B. and Thacker, D.J. (1991) Soil physical properties in reclamation, created for Alberta Land Conservation and Reclamation Council Report No. RRTAC 91-4,
Potter, K.N., Carter, F.S. and Doll, E.C. (1988) Physical properties of constructed and undisturbed soils, Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 52, pp. 1435–1438.
Schmugge, T.J., Jackson, T.J. and Mckim, H.L. (1980) Survey methods for soil moisture determination, Water Resources Research, Vol. 16, pp. 961–979.
Skopp, J.M. (2000) Physical properties of primary particles, in Handbook of soil science, S. M. Sumner (ed), CRC Press LLC., Florida, pp. A3–A17.
Turchenek, L.W. and Lindsay, J.D. (1982) Soils inventory of the Alberta Oil Sands Environmental Research Programme study area, created for the Alberta Oil Sands Environmental Research Programme by Alberta Research Council, AOSERP Report 122, 240 p.
Yarmuch, M. (2003) Measurement of soil physical parameters to evaluate soils structure quality in reclaimed oil sands soil, M.Sc. thesis, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta.
Zimmerman, R.P. and Kardos, L.T. (1961) Effects of bulk density on root growth, Soil Science, Vol. 91, pp. 280–288.