Energy Impact Research
In 2013, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy initiated an ecological assessment of areas of high conservation value that would likely be impacted by activities associated with natural gas development and production. This two-year effort produced a baseline assessment of target sites within 35 high-value ecological areas in 26 counties.
Status Assessment and Monitoring
Here’s more information on how we evaluated the condition of areas critical to the conservation of Pennsylvania’s rare plants and animals to create and collect baseline data to monitor impacts of shale gas development.
- The Conservancy identified areas of high ecological value using habitat quality, condition data and rare and important species locations.
- High-value areas were prioritized by region and overlaid onto a modeled probability surface of potential Marcellus and Utica shale gas development.
- From 2013 to 2015, WPC conducted chemical and biological water quality monitoring activities at 52 aquatic assessment sites and evaluated forest condition and the communities of interior forest birds at 25 upland areas. These sites are situated within 35 Focal Areas in the shale region of Pennsylvania. Western Pennsylvania Conservancy scientists conducted targeted surveys for rare plants and animal species at all assessment locations. Many of these areas have been long known by WPC to be high-value areas (such as Kettle Creek in the Pennsylvania Wilds, or Buffalo Creek in Washington County) and have been the focus of conservation activities for many years.
- The report on WPC’s shale gas impacts assessment monitoring activities is available for download. Methods, research objectives, and findings are found in this report. For site-specific water quality data and ecological information from assessment and monitoring activities within the Focal Areas – please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Many friends, volunteers and partners collaborated with us on this project and we are always looking for ways to include others in our work. If you are interested in using the data or collaborating on further studies – please contact us at email@example.com.
The Conservancy conducted this assessment with financial support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and individual donors, Bob Jennings and Barbara Bott.
Pennsylvania Energy Impacts Assessment
In 2010, WPC scientists collaborated with The Nature Conservancy and Audubon Pennsylvania to model the potential impacts of Marcellus Shale natural gas and wind development in Pennsylvania.
The Conservancy is not the only organization monitoring impacts of shale gas development in the region. In all aspects of our projects, we have reached out and partnered with local watershed organizations, other land trusts and conservation organizations, conservation districts, university researchers and state agencies to coordinate activities, share data and apply the results of the research to meaningful conservation activities.