A generalized state approach to setting reclamation benchmarks

TitleA generalized state approach to setting reclamation benchmarks
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsMcCord, SE, Davidson, ZM, Schnallner, JW, Webb, NP
Conference NameSRM Annual Meeting. Rangelands without Borders
Conference LocationBoise, Idaho
Keywordsabandoned well pads, ecosystem services, extraction, fossil fuels, long-term trajectory, reclamation practices, restore

Reclamation practices are used after the extraction of fossil fuels to put abandoned well pads on a positive, long-term trajectory and restore ecosystem services. Despite the widespread implementation of reclamation on US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, there is no common framework by which to measure the success of reclamation efforts. We developed benchmarks for oil and gas reclamation at a broad geographic (Level 3 ecoregion) scale for the western US using monitoring data and two approaches: a multivariate approach to identify vegetation communities and indicators of ecosystem function for ecological site types, and an indicator quantile approach. Benchmarks resulting from both methods were placed along climatic and topographic gradients that can be used to further refine benchmark values within ecoregions, at the BLM Field Office or other management unit level. Benchmarks derived from the multivariate approach and the indicator quantile approach were compared against known indicators of ecosystem function and ecosystem services. These benchmarks can be used as standardized metrics to assess the effectiveness of reclamation efforts at a broad, regional scale.