News About SBSC Paper That Reports on a Novel Approach to Assess Vegetation Recovery After Oil and Gas Well Pad Abandonment (DART Project)
Several news sources have reported on a recently published paper by Travis Nauman and Mike Duniway titled, “Disturbance automated reference toolset (DART): assessing patterns in ecological recovery from energy development on the Colorado Plateau”.
The paper by Travis Nauman and Mike Duniway describes a novel method to assess the recovery of vegetation cover on abandoned and plugged oil and gas well pads in the Southwest, and quantifies patterns in the degree of vegetation recovery on abandoned well pads compared to intact, reference sites. The link to the Nauman and Duniway paper is here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969717300347.
Below are the links to the news reports on the DART paper.
E&E News: “USGS eyes stronger reclamation practices in Southwest”: http://www.eenews.net/energywire/2017/02/09/stories/1060049779
World Oil: “New scientific approach assesses land recovery following oil and gas drilling”: http://www.worldoil.com/news/2017/2/8/new-scientific-approach-assesses-land-recovery-following-oil-and-gas-drilling
Science Newsline Nature and Earth: “New Scientific Approach Assesses Land Recovery Following Oil And Gas Drilling”: http://www.sciencenewsline.com/summary/2017020721510060.html
Science Daily: “New scientific approach assesses land recovery following oil and gas drilling": https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170207162118.htm
Deserts of the southwestern US are replete with oil and gas deposits as well as sites for solar, wind, and geothermal energy production. In the past, many of these resources have been too expensive to develop, but increased demand and new technologies have led to an increase in exploration and development. However, desert ecosystems generally have low resilience to disturbance. More frequent, intense droughts forecast for the southwestern US will likely further hamper recovery of disturbed lands. Consequently, there is a need for new science to anticipate and mitigate the effects of energy exploration and development. The Colorado Plateau Region contains approximately 100,000 abandoned and current wells spanning 60 years of activity. These structures are spread over a variety of substrates, climate zones, elevations, and vegetation communities, with varying periods of use and time since abandonment. The overarching goal of this project is to understand how past and current energy development are impacting the social-ecological systems of the Colorado Plateau, and to identify strategies to mitigate deleterious consequences of these activates now and into the future.
A new scientific approach can now provide regional assessments of land recovery following oil and gas drilling activities, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.