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Friday, August 26, 2011

Gas Development Impact On Wildlife Explained

Complexities Of Gas Development Impact On Wildlife Explained

Potter County Today

brittinghamA Penn State professor this week suggested that a corps of volunteers be recruited to help monitor the impact of increased natural gas drilling on wildlife and its habitat. Margaret Brittingham (right), professor of wildlife resources, presented a well-attended webinar as part of a Penn State Extension series. Citing the formation of similar volunteer groups to monitor public waterways, Brittingham said citizens could record bird sightings and make other measurements to supplement research that’s already underway at Penn State and elsewhere. The information would be helpful in decision-making on land restoration, regulations covering earth disturbance activities, and public policy on state forest and game lands.

baltimoreorioleWildlife managers are worried about forest fragmentation, the advance of invasive plant species and the effect gas drilling is having on activities such as hunting, fishing, bird watching and wildlife viewing, according to Brittingham. There have been more than 2,350 wells drilled into the deep Marcellus formation under Pennsylvania in the last few years and that’s a small fraction of what’s coming. She’s heading a research project which is looking at the impact on wildlife habitat in general and forest songbirds in particular. “Pennsylvania contains internationally important breeding habitat for a number of neotropical migrant songbirds that — if degraded — would affect world populations,” Brittingham said. “And much of the extensive gas development is occurring in the state’s northern tier, where some of the densest forests in North America provide ecologically vital bird habitat.” It’s not just the thousands of acres that are being clear-cut of timber for drilling, she pointed out. There are forecasts of as many as 60,000 miles of gathering lines and pipelines being installed in Pennsylvania, as well as thousands of miles of roads being constructed to drill and service the gas wells. While the impacts on wildlife are hard to forecast, Brittingham said some conclusions can already be reached. Fragmentation is interrupting the natural dispersal of some species, providing breeding ground for invasive species, affecting wildlife travel corridors and changing hunting patterns.

forestdrilling2As an example of the complexities, she pointed out that the development could benefit deer populations in some ways — such as access to new plantations of forage preferred by deer — and damage the populations in other ways (less cover for protection from predators/hunters, higher number of vehicle/deer collisions, and migration to other areas due to increased traffic and activity). Brittingham said other studies are underway on the impact of noise, air emissions and light from well sites — compressor stations in particular — on birds and other species. There are ways to minimize the industry’s impact, she added, including the use of a more meandering, rather than linear, patterns for land disturbances and careful selection of plant species used in restoration of land that has been cleared.

Next webinar in the Penn State Extension series will be held 1 pm on Sept. 15. Its focus will be on legal issues in shale-gas development. Previous webinars, publications and information on topics such as air pollution from gas development; water use and quality; zoning; gas-leasing considerations for landowners; implications for local communities; and gas pipelines and right-of-way issues are available on the Penn State Extension natural-gas website here.

22 comments :

Anonymous said...

Blessings to all! I have stated in the past that this is a good thing for the deer, I leased my mineral rights, and I dont even live up in Potter, but was told last week that they will be drilling! This will be a great addition to my retirement, and not only that, I was issued my Doe Tag! So I know in the future, that this will only benefit the wildlife up there, not to mention myself also! My wife told me I am just like a little kid before Christmas Day! Blessings to you all!

Anonymous said...

Forrests are being clear- cut just for TIMBER, for crying out loud. So don't blame it all on the drilling business. What a bunch of garbage. And no, I do NOT work for any drilling outfit.

coho said...

Actually, after all these wells and pipelines are put in and are in place, the effected areas will begin to grow and be overtaken just like a clear-cut or tornado area. First underbrush such as ferns and blackberry bushes will take over providing cover and food to animals like grouse, rabbits, rodents, small birds and such. (not to mention people picking berries). Next will be the sapplings of assorted species but mostly beech trees and brush trees, and after a couple of years this will provide food and cover for more additional animals such as turkeys, fox, bears, deer etc.(not to mention the people hunting all these animals)
This will happen within 5 to 8 yrs, after that the area will be 'home' to deer, bears, turkey, snow shoe rabbits, cottontails, etc for more than 30 years. Remember, gas lines are burried and the ground above them is beneficial in many ways to animals of all kind.. And I would immagine that the well sites will not be a hussle and bussle of activity for very long after they are completed.
It is what it is, it is the future and the present, it cannot be stopped and should not be stopped.
I also believe natural gas is better for the future and the environment than oil,, certainly better than coal. If all the coal plants were shut down maybe there would be brook trout in the streams again and more plentiful numbers of small birds etc.
Stop complaining and try to help make things happen in a positive way with what is going on. You cant win the "world is coming to an end" game.

Anonymous said...

I could not agree with you more poster 4:04 ! Potter county deer heard should rebound! I myself am looking forward to the Doe Season, got my Doe Tag, staying up there at the OX Yoke, in galetun, I just like the sport of it! Blessings to all!

Anonymous said...

When I was a little girl...a long, long time ago....we never saw bears, coyotes, doves, eagles and other creatures that are now commonplace. My point is...that things are changing with or without the fracking operations. Let's hope and pray that it will be for good for our county.

Anonymous said...

YES, and all of the deer can then fight with the humans for the last drops of uncontaminated water to drink.

Lots of short sighted folks out there!

Anonymous said...

New species??? Just wait til the new versions of animals and humans start showing up!

Anonymous said...

6:14, I think the 'new version of humans already showed-up', look in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

Don't need no stinkin' science and research.

Anonymous said...

The state is the biggest reaper of the land clear cutting,drilling whatever they can do! And as for new animals showing up bears,coyotes,big cats,little cats,more rattle snakes ect! the state is responsible for that too! As for deer hunting or fishing i wouldn't eat any thing from potter county woods or streams!

Anonymous said...

4:04....we need you in public office....a voice of reason....so rare these days

Anonymous said...

Then don't come to Pa. and hunt for our deer and fish in our strea. Who ASKED you to eat any of it or hunt? And our water is NOT contaminated? Some of the wells mentioned in the past (supposedly contaminated from recent drilling) already had sulfer in them from natural sulfer already in the ground from YEARS ago. So get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

Coho is quite a scientist

Anonymous said...

MY PROBLEM is why are we drilling like hell and shipping the gas OUT OF THE USA ???

Anonymous said...

3:27... we are doing this because we as Americans are capitalists. If you disagree with shipping this gas out of our country you are a socialist or a Democrat.

Anonymous said...

The reason is poster 3:27 is that Obama wants us to become a 3rd world country. This is the change he wanted. Hope you Obama supporters are happy! And once the Republicans help get the economy going with adding jobs to the gas industry, the locals complain! I agree with the guy staying at the Ox Yoke! Hope you get your deer! Good thing you leased your mineral rights, the one's that held out are now out of the game! The deer population will come back.

coho said...

11:24 who are you talking to?? You post a coment and babble on but dont address anyone.

And 1:41
I am no scientist, the fact that you respond to my post as a 'scientist' shows your ignorance. (lacking knowledge).
I am a realist, just because someone says something you dont agree with or understand is no reason to be a smart ass, or in your case a dumb asds.

Anonymous said...

Aug.27 11:24 for your info i am the 5th genration of my family born and raised in potter county! OUR deer are full of who know what? (Poisons that the state uses) OUR streams in the Austin area still have raw sewage running into them! You can eat all you want! YUM YUM !

Anonymous said...

Wow! You are from Austin, that big cement place with a crack in it. See you at the Cock Eye'd Cricket!

Anonymous said...

Seems like GOD might be shaking his fist at ya all with what has been happening this last week.

coho said...

Seems like God might be shakin' his fist at us all for whats been happenin' the last 100 years or so.

Anonymous said...

Coho took my bait... I`m quite a fisherman