Potential Effects of Natural Gas Development on Wildlife Habitat and

Report
Initial Landscape Changes Associated with
Marcellus Shale Development- Implications for
Forests and Wildlife
M. Brittingham, P. Drohan, and J. Bishop – Penn State
University
• Patterns of well and pad
development
• Landscape changes pre and post
Marcellus
• Implications for forests and wildlife
We conducted a GIS
analysis using
available DEP
permit/drilled data,
before and after
photos, ground
truthing, and on the
ground measurements
to describe landscape
change.
Our GIS study covers the state. Our field study is
focused in a 11 county region in the Northcentral
part of the state where forest habitat is most
abundant
Number of permits and wells
drilled increased exponentially
and is now slowing down
Number of pads is a better indication of
landscape change
2500
Variable
New Pads
Total Pads
Number of Pads
2000
1500
1000
500
>2350 pads
built
0
2005
2006
2007
2008
Year
2009
2010
2011
Pad location – Public land versus
private land
93 % of pads
are on to
private
landand
• Available
resources
manage
monitor environmental conditions
differ
• Size of management unit differs
• Bargaining ability differs
• Education93%
and information needs
differ
Public
Pads n=2353
Private
47 % of pads are in farmland . Highest numbers
on private land in the NE and SW part of State
53% of pads are in forest lands with highest
numbers in the North Central Regions of State
Gas well
development
changes the
landscape
Areas are
cleared for
the well
pad
Completed pad
stabilized with
stone
Many pads are covered with
a protective liner
On some pads, impoundments are
created to hold water for fracking
We
measured
the pad
footprint
Well pad footprint and area of local disturbance GIS
NAIP photos (n=1081)
Mean pad = 1 ha (2.47 acres).
Pad+ local disturbance= 2.7 ha (6.7 acres)
Range = 0.1- 19 ha (0.25-49.4)
Horizontal drilling allows for
multiple wells per pad
Number of wells per pad
n=2,931 wells and 1465 pads
Mean = 2.3 wells per pad
Noise and Light Pollution associated with
pad development and drilling may have
local site-specific impacts but probably not
long-term effects
70
Compressor (n=4)
65
60
55
50
Completed pad (n=3)
45
40
35
50
Noise (dB)
Loudness (dB)
Compressors
are a longterm source
of noise
75
75
70
65
60
55
50
45
40
35
100
50
150
Distance (ft)
100
150
Distance (ft)
200
200
250
250
Tracking proximity of wells
to streams is a concern.
Smaller streams are
generally not mapped
700
Number of pads
600
500
400
300
n=3322, mean=327 m,
median=293m
200
100
0
0
240
480
720
960
1200
1440
Distance from pad to nearest mapped stream (m)
Pipelines and roads create linear
corridors
Distance from pad to pre-existing road
n=3322, mean=264 m (0.16 miles), median=209 m,
Range = 0.02m-2324 m (1.4 miles)
600
Number of pads
500
400
300
200
100
0
0
300
600
900
1200
1500
1800
Distance from pad to pre-existing road (m)
2100
A min of 598 km (371 miles) of new roads have
been built to pads and an additional 280 km (174
miles) expected to currently permitted pads
Up to 60,000 miles of
pipeline are
predicted
Bradford County Gathering Lines – Johnson
et al. 2011
• 1.65 miles ( 2.65
km ) per pad
• 10,000 – 25,000
new miles
predicted at build
out (16,093-40,233
km)
Habitat Fragmentation is a result of gas
exploration and development and is a
primary concern
• Change in species
composition and
abundance (winners
and losers)
• Spread of invasive
species
• Disturbance to
sensitive habitats
• Negative effects on
biological diversity
and ecosystem
functions
Pad placement by forest fragmentation
classification (n=2221)
• Agricultural and open habitat = 48%
• Edge forest (within 100 m of preexisting opening or edge) = 25%
• Patch forest (woodlots) = 2%
Approximately 25% of wells are going
into core forest (forest > 100 m from
pre-existing opening or edge)
For select blocks we
mapped the entire
infrastructure
Fragmentation Index
Before =0.753
After pads= 0.681
(-0.072)
After mapped = 0.580
(-0.173)
Reclamation status for 1283 pads
• 84% no reclamation
16% reclaimed
• Pad + local
disturbance went
from 6.7 acres before
to 1 acre after
• Most reclamation to
grassy cover
Comparing Effects
Shallow
Marcellus
Electronic Field Guide-http://marcellusfieldguide.org/
http://ee3.cei.vvvvpsu.edu/index.php
• Private forest landowners are in need of
information on ways to minimize disturbance
upfront and on ways to use restoration to achieve
landowner management goals
• There is a trend toward more wells per pad but
currently over 75% have only 1 or 2 wells per pad
• Current trends put core forest habitat at risk
particularly on private land
• Public land will become increasingly important for
large blocks of undeveloped habitat and the
ecosystem services provided
We thank the following organizations for
funding support
• Heinz Endowments
• Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research (MCOR)
• PA Game Commission State Wildlife Grants
We thank the following individuals for
assistance in the field and with database
analysis
K. Yoder, E. Thomas, N. Fronk, E. Barton, J.
Driscoll, C. Fink, M.K. Lupton, M. Marsicano, and
K. Medash

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