Despite this, Parachute, Colorado Encana Reclamation coordinator, Bryan Whiteley, insists that Lifespan Planning isn't time consuming, it just involves thoughtful analysis of available information every step of the way in order to maximize efficiency.
Geologists decide where they'd like a surface location in an area of known mineral rights and analyze the site for the maximum amount of wells the site could potentially hold.
Once the limits of the site are established, inventory and analysis of wild communities guide the Reclamation Coordinator as he
designs the build.
The entire lifespan, including all phases of drilling, production, and reclamation, of the location is considered prior to drilling activity.
Encana Reclamation coordinator, Bryan Whiteley, discusses how he designs custom seed mixes to best suit the ecoregion to be reclaimed.
explained that before Encana
had acquired the land in the pasture before us, a cattle rancher owned and grazed there.
said that before they bought the property, the land manager had given his
cattle free range and did little to maintain the meadow.
The cattle compacted soils, caused erosion, upset nutrient balances and native plant abundances, and introduced noxious and invasive weeds.
Since then, Encana
has restored the land to its pre-grazed condition.
revealed that he
get's deep satisfaction from being able to leave the land in a better condition than he
finds it, and assures that whenever possible, Encana makes a policy of doing so.
When asked about seed mixes used, Whiteley
revealed that the mix was of his
own design based on his
immense knowledge of range management and concluded by emphasizing that "in a range like this, only natives will work."
Berming, as Whiteley
explained, was key in visual and noise impact reduction as well as a crucial component of spill containment and pollution prevention.
Following our first look at a well pad, we got back into the car to head to more recently designed and constructed production sites.
Upon arriving at one such site, I immediately understood what Whiteley had meant when he
said "contrast is a beautiful thing.
Compared to the other site, the newer well pad's elegant efficiency was almost invisible until you were walking right up to it.
explained that using a Lifespan Planning Approach to design sites was the key to Encana's reclamation success.
explains that a site like this one requires almost no maintenance until final reclamation due to wise planning.
Using such a system has contributed to Encana's reputation and has helped to significantly reduce production costs.
We visited many well pads over the day, but all the newer sites developed with the Lifespan Planning Approach in mind had several features in common.
They all had extensive earthwork that was designed specifically based on the contours and hydrologic patterns of the surrounding area, had mulch and interim seeding to minimize erosion, water loss and invasive seed colonization, and had waddles and slash berms to filter sediment.
When asked about his
job and the physical and metal load that was required to make such efficient and sustainable well sites, Whiteley
merely said that "The great thing about my job is that all I need to do is the right thing.