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Publication 2022: The hydrochemical evolution of a constructed peatland in a post-mining landscape six years after construction
Section 1: Publication
Biagi, K.M. and Carey, S.K.
The hydrochemical evolution of a constructed peatland in a post-mining landscape six years after construction
Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 39, p.100978
Biagi, K.M. and Carey, S.K., 2022. The hydrochemical evolution of a constructed peatland in a post-mining landscape six years after construction. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 39, p.100978.
Section 2: Abstract
Reclamation of wetlands, including peatlands, is legally required in the Athabasca oil sands region following bitumen extraction via surface mining which leaves large open pits that are backfilled with saline tailings waste.
Six years of hydrochemical data (2013 – 2018) from the Sandhill Fen Watershed (SFW), a 52-ha upland-peatland catchment that was built upon highly saline soft tailings, were used to evaluate salinity and ion patterns and provide insight on its trajectory. In general, electrical conductivity (EC) increased throughout SFW from 1) reduced inflow and outflow, 2) changes in water table positions and 3) increased mixing of site-wide waters.
New Hydrological Insights for the Region
Salinity has increased site-wide over time as EC increased by an average of 1585 and 2313 µS/cm in the wetland and margins, respectively from 2013 to 2018. The uplands were the only region where EC declined by 1747 µS/cm over the six years. There is also evidence of mixing with underlying tailings waste (Na-Cl dominant) as the chemical composition of SFW waters shifted from largely Ca-dominant in 2013 (> 90%) to Na-dominant by 2018 (> 70%). Based on its current conditions, SFW cannot support freshwater peat-forming bryophytes and is most chemically similar to naturally occurring saline fens. A shift in design strategies is recommended (replicating saline instead of freshwater peatlands) to increase the success of these systems.
Section 3: Download
Section 4: Computed Information
T-2022-02-23-n1Sqp0AUfPkuIVOvzZVD9pA Publication 1.0