Over the next two decades, Suncor Energy will closely monitor progress on the site, including the growth of 630,000 shrubs and trees planted in 2010.
A cover crop of native grasses and oats were planted on Pond 1 as part of its reclamation.
Suncor is the first Alberta oil sands company to convert a tailings pond to a stable surface solid enough to be re-vegetated.
Called snags or wildlife trees, dead trees have been deliberately placed (some even upside down) on Pond 1 to create perches and nesting sites for birds, and habitat for other wildlife.
Pond 1 has been carefully designed with small streams (swales) and mounds (hummocks) to help reproduce natural drainage patterns.
Pond 1 surface construction involved covering it with a layer of soil 50 cm deep. About 65,000 truckloads of soil were used.
Oats make a good cover crop for Pond 1 because the tall plants protect the vulnerable young tree and shrub seedlings during their critical first year.
Pond 1 operated from 1967 to 1997. Dykes were built to create a wider and deeper basin until eventually pond was lifted about 100 metres above the Athabasca River.