Restoring mine sites and gravel pits

Land that has been used for mines and gravel pits often have very little topsoil and native vegetation left. Adding Nutrifor™ provides nutrients and organic matter to rebuild soil and bring back vegetation. Unlike chemical fertilizers, Nutrifor’s™ nutrients stay in the soil and encourage plant growth over the long term. This reduces erosion and provides habitat for insects, animals and other organisms to help restore local ecosystems.

Pennask Lake and Clark Creek gravel pits

The Pennask Lake gravel pit stopped operations in the 1990s, leaving behind a large, barren area. After trying unsuccessfully to restore the area for years using chemical fertilizers, the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure partnered with Metro Vancouver and applied Nutrifor™ to ten hectares of the same area. After ten months, the site was covered in lush vegetation. More recently, Nutrifor™ has been used to restore the Clarke Creek, Bob’s Lake and Timberlake gravel pits.

Clarke Creek gravel pit before application of Nutrifor™
Clarke Creek gravel pit one year after Nutrifor™ application

HOW TO OBTAIN NUTRIFOR


Please contact us for more information on obtaining Nutrifor Landscaping Soil.

Email: Nutrifor@metrovancouver.org

Phone: 604-432-6200

Aldergrove Lake

In 2000, a mined-out gravel pit in Abbotsford was transformed into a recreational area that includes a large lake, a marshy pond for waterfowl and new hiking trails. Nutrifor biosolids were used to help reclaim the 12-hectare area.

The site was located over the sensitive Abbotsford-Sumas aquifer. Metro Vancouver consulted with the public throughout the project to address public safety concerns and protect sensitive environmental conditions. Careful research and monitoring before and after the project showed that there were no negative effects on groundwater or surface water after biosolids were applied.

This “pit to park” project created valuable recreational facilities, open space and new and diverse wildlife habitat. The park continues to thrive today and is a beautiful community asset.

Reclamation begins at Aldergrove Lake gravel pit
Aldergrove Lake gravel pit one year later
Aldergrove Regional Park today

Hedley mine site

The town of Hedley in south central B.C. has a long history of gold mining. Many of the old mining buildings remain, attracting tourists year round. Unsightly tailings areas also remained after the mines had closed. Like other mine sites, the tailings areas were low in nutrients and lacked topsoil, making it difficult for plants to grow. Dust from the piles became a significant air quality issue for residents.

In 1996, Metro Vancouver began using Nutrifor™ to reclaim the tailings areas. The addition of Nutrifor™ over a four-year period enabled 28 hectares of land to grow grass for cattle. This growth has been sustained for many years without additional biosolids or chemical fertilizers.


Hedley mine tailings areas before and after use of Nutrifor™

Granby copper mine

After the Granby copper mine (near Princeton, BC) closed in 1956, it left behind a 78-hectare tailings pile. The tailings areas remained barren for almost 40 years. The area had no vegetation and blowing dust from the site created chronic problems for residents. Previous efforts to return the land to a more natural state had not been successful. The area was a difficult one to rehabilitate, because it has low annual rainfall and the soil does not retain moisture and nutrients well.

In 1992, Metro Vancouver partnered with the Town of Princeton to successfully rehabilitate the site. The tailings were enriched with Nutrifor™, seeded and monitored for five years. Soil, water and vegetation sampling of the area, before and after the use of the project, confirmed that the use of biosolids was safe and effective.

The organic matter and nutrients in the biosolids helped to establish healthy vegetation, which eliminated the dust and wind erosion problem and reclaimed the area for recreation, cattle and wildlife use. The BC Lung Association has credited improvement in Princeton’s air quality to this reclamation work.

Dust from the Granby tailings area was a chronic problem for residents.
Nutrifor™ was used to transform the Granby tailings area into wildlife habitat and rangeland for grazing cattle.

Similco mine

More than 100 years of copper mining activity at the Similco mine near Princeton, BC created hundreds of hectares of barren land that was unable to support plant life. Between 1994 and 2009, Metro Vancouver biosolids were used to promote plant growth on over 200 hectares of land. These areas now support a range of plants for grazing cattle and other habitat.

Similco tailings area before reclamation (2005)
Vegetation thriving on a former Similco mining site, two years after applying Nutrifor™ (2007)