Oil and Gas Reclamation—Operations, Monitoring Methods, and Standards

Techniques and Methods 18-A1
Prepared in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management
By: , and 



This publication provides broad guidance for surface management of oil and gas development with a focus on promoting successful reclamation. Successful reclamation depends on sound best management practices, clear standards and expectations, defensible monitoring for effectiveness, and management of production facilities to minimize surface disturbance. This publication provides specific guidelines for surface management of oil and gas, including operations, standards, and monitoring. The development of this report was guided by existing Federal reclamation policy, a review of the scientific and other literature, as well as practical field experience. Expertise was pulled from multiple sources including Federal and State agencies, oil and gas contractors, and academia. The target audience for this report is primarily operators and contractors conducting oil and gas activities on U.S. Federal or Tribal lands and the surface management agencies responsible for guiding and enforcing these activities. The guidance on surface management presented here will also be useful for managing oil and gas activities on State and private lands and where private land occurs over Federal mineral estate (split estate).

Suggested Citation

Lupardus, R.C., Simonsen, J., Toevs, G., Sterling, B., Bowen, Z.H., Davidson, Z., Hanser, S.E., Kachergis, E., Laurence-Traynor, A., Lepak, N., Mann, R.K., Nafus, A., Pilliod, D.S., and Duniway, M.C., 2023, Oil and gas reclamation—Operations, monitoring methods, and standards (ver. 1.1, December 28, 2023): U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 18, chap. A1, 84 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/tm18A1.

ISSN: 2328-7055 (online)

ISSN: 2328-7047 (print)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments 
  • Abstract 
  • Introduction 
  • Reclamation Objectives, Benchmarks, and Standards 
  • Pre-Development Site Assessment and Planning 
  • Best Management Practices for Reclamation 
  • Reclamation Monitoring 
  • Interpreting and Reporting Data 
  • References Cited
  • Glossary 
  • Appendix 1. Picking an Appropriate Ecological Reference 
  • Appendix 2. Reclamation Plan Example 
  • Appendix 3. Ecological Sites and State-and-Transition Models 
  • Appendix 4. Reclamation Equipment 
  • Appendix 5. Reclamation Success Evaluation Report
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Oil and gas reclamation—Operations, monitoring methods, and standards
Series title Techniques and Methods
Series number 18-A1
DOI 10.3133/tm18A1
Edition Version 1.0: December 06, 2023; Version 1.1: December 28, 2023
Year Published 2023
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description Report: ix, 83 p.; Version History
Country United States
Online Only (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details