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Friday's Findings - December 4 2020

November 24, 2020

The Smart Energy Webtool: Providing Relevant and Accessible Information to Support Energy Development and Management

Date: December 4, 2020 from 2-2:30 p.m. eastern time

Speaker: Mike Duniway, Research Ecologist/Soil Scientist, USGS Southwest Biological Science Center

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Conference ID: 387 327 121#

Energy development in the west.
Energy development in the west.

Summary: 

Development of the Nation’s energy resources is an important economic activity nationally and on the Department of Interior (DOI) lands in the western US.  However, energy development can conflict with other land management priorities such as promoting land health and conservation.  The Smart Energy suite of webtools will provide resource managers, policy makers, and other stakeholders with options for making informed decisions.  By providing a central source for data and information, the Smart Energy webtool should streamline project approval, reduce mitigation costs, and inform litigation risk; reduce development in areas with sensitive lands and resources; and support cost-effective reclamation of lands disturbed by energy development.  The Smart Energy project was created as a direct response to support Executive and Secretarial Orders to provide spatial context to management decisions.  This is a coordinated effort among the Ecosystems, Core Science Systems, and Energy and Minerals Mission Areas to improve efficiency in analyses and identify areas of high resource potential and low environmental concern

The concept underlying this project is that by making data and science products available and as user-friendly as possible, the USGS can support efforts to balance energy development and conservation and support successful reclamation.  This webtool will provide basic desk-top alternatives analysis capability for different resources across a range of scales that can inform federal, state, and local planning and management decisions on energy development, conservation, and reclamation.  Once fully built out, Smart Energy will bring together current information about energy resources, wildlife and wildlife habitat, risk of invasive plants, reclamation potential, and more.  This information will be accessible and useable in a web map format to a range of users with automated reporting that can be adapted to specific needs or workflows. Data and metadata used in the tool will be documented and available.  A beta version of the Smart Energy webtool is now available.  See: https://sciencebase.usgs.gov/smartenergy.