Defence Story | A Sustainable Training Area

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Range control. Romeo 7. Route clearance. Over.

In a big picture, doing reclamation after exercise goes through, remediation, removal of contaminants. We are looking at contamination monitoring. We are looking at recovery of those sites. It’s important to keep this training area sustainable into the future.

My name is Corey Davidson. I’m the reclamation biologist for the Range Sustainability section at the Canadian Forces Base Suffield. I’ve always been interested in research and science, so I went to school and got a degree in environmental science and then started having my family, came back to this area where I was born and raised.

We have legislation, both federal and provincial, that guides us on, you know, what we’re supposed to do when it comes to soil conservation, weed management and the like and reclamation as well.

Reclamation, which is ground recovery of military disturbances, and remediation, which is removal of contaminants from the environment in soils and water. We’ll go in and assess the site, see if there’s any potential contaminant on site first. We look for soil staining, distressed vegetation, remove those contaminants if there are on site. And then, we move into what’s called reclamation or the ground recovery, so replacing soil, getting the topography back where it’s supposed to be, get the soil back in the right condition, and then we prep it for seeding.

I have specialty equipment that can go to those sites, that I can take to the site and do field screening to look for volatile organic compound through photoionization detection. We have some field chemistry that we also do to look for those contaminants. If we do find something, then we’ll remove it.

The environment is first and foremost in my position. We’re here to ensure that training can continue. We look at sustainability at the range. We know that if we have a healthy native prairie, it can sustain, it can handle those pressures that we put on it. So it’s more resilient to the pressure.

I don’t believe there are any typical days out on the range. So one day, I can be out on the quad pulling a seed harvester or collecting seed to do a recovery, to collecting flea beetles, to do some biocontrol on some weed site, pulling a hydroseeder behind a tractor, seeding ground with a water cannon.

Job satisfaction at the end of the day is recovering something, having that win, environmental recovery of certain sites, putting back the habitat for the wildlife here and creating a sustainable training area for our military to continue on to train.

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