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Pipeline Reclamation Checklist

Reclamation is the last-but-not-least crucial phase of most oil- and gas-related pipeline projects. When negotiating the development of a pipeline, it’s important to discuss an easement, or contract, for reclamation in order to ensure that cooperation and understanding go smoothly after the project is completed.

After all, with so many details to consider, a poorly planned conversation or contract can lead to some much-dreaded contention. However, with some proper planning and the right services, you can ensure that the land will be returned, as close as possible, to its original and natural state.

For cropland

The goal of reclamation is to help the land return to the way it was before the pipeline was constructed. One way to do this when reclaiming cropland is to replace soil layers (top soil, subsoil, etc.) in the intended order and original depths if possible.

For range and pasture land

For range and pasture land, be sure to discuss reseeding integral plant species, reconstructing soil layers and landscape grade, and developing a proper weed-free seedbed to ensure that the plant community ecological function is returned to normal post-project completion.

Baseline Data

Before kicking off an oil- or gas-related pipeline project, it’s imperative that baseline data, or a detailed description of the site, is collected. Baseline data is collected either by the landowner or a hired technical services provider. In addition, a compensation packet should address any losses incurred by the landowner due to lost grazing and/or crop income.

Be sure to follow this checklist of baseline data for reclamation to ensure a successful project:

  • Soil Description. The topsoil and subsoil should be taken into account for depths, texture, salinity levels, electrical conductivity levels, and etc. The parent material, or the depth where the soil starts, should also be noted.

  • Proper placement of soil (subsoil first, followed by topsoil) and proper packing of soil layers (pack each soil layer separately)

  • An erosion control plan. How erosion will be contained during reclamation.

  • A weed control plan. How weeds will be controlled during reclamation.

  • A complete plant community description (as related to permanent vegetative land uses such as rangeland, pastureland, hay land, Conservation Reserve Program, right-of-ways, and others) should be collected

  • A plan for fence replacement for grazing lands (rangeland and pastureland) should be discussed.

  • Proper timing of reclamation (ensuring that the reclamation happens on a schedule that satisfies all parties).

  • A complete landscape description including:

    • Drainage pattern (streams, creeks, aquifers, contours, etc.) 

    • Grade or slope

  • Access points are mapped out (preferred areas of access for equipment, etc.)

  • Other potential conflicts might include:

    • Planting and managing a crop (compensation for lost income) 
    • Presence of livestock (managing pre- and post-construction, compensation for loss of grazing)

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Conclusion

With proper planning and discussion, negotiating oil- or gas-related pipeline reclamation can help put all parties at ease. Of course, taking care to minimize the project footprint in the first place will also help to reduce any negative impacts on the land and/or resources and include the success of the reclamation.

Once negotiations are set, trust Stan’s Airboat Service for all your project and reclamation needs.

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