Grand Teton to Use Protective Oak Mats on Construction Sites at Moose

Tract of oak mats on sagebrush
Photo courtesy of Encana
April 14, 2010
Grand Teton National Park construction project managers will use interlocking oak plank mats to minimize distrubance to vegetation and soils during construction activities related to the Moose Complex rehabilitation project. As part of a cooperative arrangement, Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. has generously offered to loan to the park several sections of wooden mats from their surface reclamation project at the Jonah Field near Pinedale, Wyoming. Grand Teton plans to accept delivery of several sections of mats this week at park headquarters in Moose.

The sectional oak mats are designed to protect vegetation, reduce damage to plant root systems and limit soil compaction caused by construction equipment and heavy machinery. As the mats are laid down, they flatten plants; however, the topsoil and root systems are largely undamaged. Use of the mats will greatly accelerate the recovery of construction areas and facilitate the revegetation of native plants after completion of the Moose Complex project. The “on loan” wooden mats will be used at targeted sites—specifically, locations near the Snake River that are especially fragile—to preserve native vegetation that otherwise would be damaged by heavy construction equipment.

Encana initiated a pilot project in 2005 to test wooden mats at drilling pad sites in the Jonah Field. The test took place at a location where a drilling rig was erected on a platform of interlocking mats. Encana has been using the mats to limit damage to surface vegetation at drilling sites in natural gas fields near Pinedale since that pilot project was launched, and the company says that use of wooden mats at drilling sites has reduced vegetation disturbance by as much as 60 percent.

“We appreciate Encana's technical assistance support and the loan of a truckload of oak plank mats,” said Chris Finlay, Grand Teton National Park’s chief of facility management. “This mutual arrangement benefits both Encana and the park. It allows Encana to showcase their reclamation efforts and their technical expertise in the use of improved techniques to minimize site disturbance at construction areas; and it permits Grand Teton to use those same techniques, at minimal cost, to protect native soils and vegetation during construction work on the Moose headquarters campus.”