Corporate Responsibility Report 2013


Returning land back

Innovative land reclamation

We protect and enhance biodiversity by diversifying natural landscapes in ways that can sustain multiple land uses, such as wetlands, cattle, and farming.

Land in the Genesee area is primarily farmland and, as such, reclamation efforts over the past 25 years have focused on reclaiming mined land back into farmland. In recent years, reclamation efforts and research have also included reforestation techniques and wetland development. This helps create a balance and diversity of landscape and land uses and provides habitat for the many species that populate the area.

To the end of 2013, environment work at the Genesee Mine has returned about 2,090 acres/846 hectares of previously-mined area into productive farmland and wildlife habitat.

In addition to reclaiming significant portions of land for agricultural purposes, Capital Power is also finding ways of increasing biodiversity and sustainability by establishing forested areas and by planning for wetlands that will provide important wildlife habitats. A number of unique research projects are established on land within the Genesee Mine including an aspen tree research project operated by the University of Alberta. The University is looking at reforestation of reclaimed mine land and to evaluate the effectiveness of high density planting (10,000 tees per hectare) in forest canopy development.

The Genesee Mine permit includes a comprehensive land reclamation plan, including the re-establishment of wetlands and natural creek bodies, and the development of wildlife corridors.

Genesee Mine area & reclamation summary (hectares)

  2011 2012 2013
Fully reclaimed* 680 (26%) 763 (29%) 847 (31%)
Reclamation in progress* 320 (13%) 264 (10%) 298 (11%)
Required for safe and efficient mining 1,581 (61%) 1,629 (61%) 1,566 (58%)
Total land 2,581 (100%) 2,656 (100%) 2,711 (100%)

* Fully reclaimed refers to land that is fully certified and land parcels that have been applied for and awaiting final certification from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. Reclamation in Progress means reclamation activities are started but not finished - and no application for certification has been filed yet.

Local cattle graze on Genesee land

There were 1,450 cattle belonging to 11 local farmers that grazed the community pasture at Genesee in 2013.

Reclaimed land and company-owned land not yet used for operations is leased to local farmers to bring their cattle to a well-managed grassland operated by professional range managers.

The annual cattle drive at our Genesee station is a tradition that pre-dates the plant itself. The difference today is that the cattle graze on reclaimed land.

Roger Gunsch has led the cattle drive for over 25 years. He also manages the herds throughout the grazing season - roughly May to October every year.

For a fee, the cattle are free to graze, are moved from field to field throughout the growing season, and are checked for general health. If there are signs of trouble, medication is provided and the owners are alerted. The grazing cattle help to control weeds in the pasture land surrounding our plant.

"This job has been a good fit for me," Roger says. "When I farmed, it gave me more time with my horses. As a rodeo rider, that's obviously something I really love."

Throughout the grazing season, Genesee's famous falcons are a regular feature in the skies overhead. Eagles are also common, but Roger is happy to report that coyotes have never been a problem in his 25-plus years on the job.

Round-up time - when owner’s pick up their herd for wintering at home - means many hands make light work. "Any excuse to bring my horse to work," says Jennifer Linder, a member of the Genesee Land Management team.

In conjunction with the 2013 Canadian Finals Rodeo, hosted in Edmonton, AB, The Edmonton Journal captured the round up in photos.

Making a wetland

Initial steps were taken to create a man-made wetland in the reclaimed areas of the mine. In 2013, the ground was cultivated and prepared into seed bed condition. Tree planting is scheduled for spring 2014. This project will be a template for future wetland creation at Genesee.

Round up time. Reclaimed and company-owned land at our Genesee Generating Station in Alberta is leased to local farmers to bring their cattle to a well-managed grassland operated by professional range managers.

Report Tools