Energy & Wildlife

Fossil Fuels

Oil and gas extraction and coal mining activities are several stressors to sensitive ecosystems. USGS scientists are studying the effects of fossil fuel extraction on landscapes and on terrestrial and aquatic species. Scientists are also developing monitoring and management tools to help restore disturbed lands. Studies are focused on providing land managers information that can guide effective actions targeted to locations where they can have the best overall outcome.

Filter Total Items: 22
Date published: April 9, 2019
Status: Active

Deepwater Atlantic Habitats II: Continued Atlantic Research and Exploration in Deepwater Ecosystems with Focus on Coral, Canyon, and Seep Communities. Part II: Genetic Connectivity and Oceanomic Studies

This study utilizes genetics and genomics techniques to characterize biodiversity and genetic connectivity among deep-sea coral habitats and cold seeps in and near submarine canyons and will use environmental DNA techniques to characterize plankton diversity and to identify key contributors to carbon export from surface waters that sustain sensitive benthic communities. The proposed genetics...

Date published: April 3, 2019
Status: Active

An ecosystem approach to assessing unconventional oil and gas impacts in aquatic ecosystems

The development of unconventional oil and gas (UOG) technology promises economic, societal and national security benefits.  However, technological developments in this field have rapidly outpaced scientific studies on potential environmental effects.  The effects of accidental UOG-related spills on environmental health are not adequately characterized, often occur in already ecological...

Date published: August 13, 2018
Status: Active

Changing Arctic Ecosystems

The USGS Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative will enhance the long-term science foundation needed by the U.S. Department of the Interior and other partners.

Date published: August 10, 2018
Status: Active

Loon Research

Scientists at the USGS Alaska Science Center have conducted research on Alaska’s three loon species since the late 1970s. Loons rely on freshwater lakes for nesting habitat and fish and invertebrates inhabiting lakes and marine ecosystems for food. All three loon species in Alaska occur within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) on Alaska’s northern coast. Research by the USGS is...

Date published: August 2, 2018
Status: Active

Cook Inlet Seabird and Forage Fish Study

A massive die-off of Common Murres was documented in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) during the fall and winter of 2015-2016 in association with a record-breaking marine heat wave in the GOA.

Date published: July 19, 2018
Status: Active

Science for Oil and Gas Leasing-related Decisions

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is...

Date published: June 28, 2018
Status: Active


USGS scientists develop techniques for restoration and rehabilitation, provide tools that can be used to restore impaired ecosystems into healthy, resilient landscapes and watersheds that sustain plants and animals, and identify adaptation strategies for managers to plan and implement for ecosystem adaptation to natural and human-caused drivers of ecosystem change.

Date published: June 27, 2018
Status: Active

Potential effects of energy development on environmental resources of the Williston Basin in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota

Federal resource managers in the Williston Basin need to understand how the recent expansion of oil and gas development is affecting a range of natural resources. The Bakken Federal Executive Group (BFEG), a group of representatives from over a dozen federal and tribal agencies, called for a report that synthesizes existing information about the potential impacts from energy development. The...

Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

Spatiotemporal dynamics of grassland songbird populations in response to energy development in an agricultural landscape

The recent expansion of unconventional oil and gas development in the Williston Basin of North America has raised concerns among managers about potential negative effects of such development on grassland birds. Others, however, have argued that agricultural land use in the region has had a much larger impact and that energy development may be a comparatively small stressor for grassland birds...

Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

Monitoring and modeling wetland chloride concentrations in relationship to oil and gas development

Extraction of oil and gas via unconventional methods is becoming an important aspect of energy production worldwide. Studying the effects of this development in countries where these technologies are being widely used may provide managers in other oil producing parts of the world with some insight in terms of concerns associated with development. Rapid increases in energy development in North...

Date published: May 29, 2018
Status: Active

Marine Bird Populations and the Gulf of Mexico Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species (GoMMAPPS)

The Challenge: The Gulf of Mexico has critically important breeding, staging, and wintering habitats for North America’s migratory birds. Unfortunately, limited information is available to quantitatively characterize species composition, distribution, and abundance of birds Gulf-wide, particularly for seabirds. The number of platforms and cumulative level of oil and gas activity in the...

Date published: January 19, 2018
Status: Active

Research Conducted in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPRA)

Selected Bibliography of Research Involving USGS and Conducted in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A)

Compiled as of 12/17/2018