Reclamation Specialist Spotlight

For most people working in the oil and gas industry, work is what’s right in front of you. But for Reclamation Specialists, the important part is what happens after all of that activity is done. When the workers and equipment have finally left the worksite for good, it’s a Reclamation Specialist’s job to make sure it’s returned to the state in which it was found. 

What a typical day looks like:

A Reclamation Specialist’s work happens at every stage of a project’s life cycle, and changes depending on where it falls. Before the project even begins, senior specialists conduct environmental assessments to develop plans to reclaim or restore the area. Reclamation Specialists also coordinate practices like erosion control and wildlife conservation to minimize the operations’ impact on the area, making the job of reclamation smaller in the long term. 

Once production activities begin, Reclamation Specialists monitor these activities to make sure that they comply with relevant environmental regulations. And when operations finally end, they’re responsible for reclaiming the disturbed area back to a self-sustaining ecosystem with local vegetation and wildlife. 

Working as part of an Environment, Health and Safety team, Reclamation Specialists mainly work in offices where they synthesize information from the field with relevant regulations and company procedures. Conducting assessments does require travel to remote locations, requiring long drives and regular absences from their homes.  

The kinds of problems Reclamation Specialists solve at work:

As their name suggests, Reclamation Specialists specialize in understanding a variety of environmental issues. Where a soil specialist might be focused on minimizing erosion from operations, a wildlife specialist might suggest ways of accommodating migration patterns. If an environmental problem is identified, it’s the job of a Reclamation Specialist to make sure it gets solved. 

Skills used most on the job: 

Because Reclamation Specialists are concerned with returning an area to a state equivalent to one before operations began, they need to understand the ecosystem as it exists before development begins. That means having a thorough scientific understanding of plants and animals, and how these various species interact with each other and their environment.

Once they understand their work site’s local environment, a Reclamation Specialist needs to apply provincial and federal regulations to their company’s operations. As development continues, they provide detailed reports on compliance and progress toward the ultimate goal of reclamation. 

A Reclamation Specialist bridges the gap between a project’s past and its future. If they’ve done their job, they’ll look the same. 

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