Oil companies which removed the tundra cover from Alaska's North Slope while laying a pipeline have developed four varieties of seed that will restore the grasses needed for the survival of wildlife in the area.
LV Bulldozer clearing snow
AIR V...new road
LV Broadcasting seed (2 scenes)
GV Helicopter approaches with seed hopper
CV ZOOM OUT..to shown grass through patches of snow
LV ZOOM in to worker checking seedlings (4 shots)
AIR V..Green "road"...(script of seedlings)
Initials JMR/JH/PS/1710 JMR/JH/ES. 17.17
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Oil companies which removed the tundra cover from Alaska's North Slope while laying a pipeline have developed four varieties of seed that will restore the grasses needed for the survival of wildlife in the area.
The building of the 800-mile pipeline from the rich oil fields at Prudhoe in the Arctic to the ice-free port of Valdez has raised a storm of protests from wildlife conservationists. They feel that the delicate tundra vegetation removed during the construction work will not grow back again. This could deprive thousands of caribou, reindeer and other forms of wildlife of desperately needed grazing.
To meet the protests, which succeeded in delaying the start of the pipeline, the oil companies began a research project to find the best combination of seed and fertiliser to conserve the pipeline area.
Co-operating with the University of Alaska and the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory, experts from the oil firms selected 13 hardly winter grasses and sowed them along the pipeline. Later special fertiliser was spread from helicopters.
Four varieties survived the bitter Arctic winter. Some of them grew faster than the surrounding natural tundra. As a result the oilmen have gone into the grass seed business to help repair the environmental damage of their oil operations.
A side benefit of the seeding is that the new grasses will act as insulation to keep the permafrost from melting during the summer thaw. Such melting can lead to undue erosion.