Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gas Development Linked to Wildlife Habitat Loss

04.05.2012
Wildlife Conservation Society documents 82 percent decline
of high-use habitat for pronghorn in Wyoming natural gas fields
Five-year behavioral study shows large-scale industrialization
of landscape is driving pronghorn from wintering grounds
WCS has provided recommendations to reduce impacts
A study by the Wildlife Conservation Society documents that intense development of the two largest natural gas fields in the continental U.S. are driving away some wildlife from their traditional wintering grounds.

Researchers tracking 125 female pronghorn in Wyoming¡¯s vast Jonah and PAPA gas fields using GPS collars discovered an 82 percent decline of habitat classified as ¡°highest quality¡± ¨C meaning highest probability of use for wintering animals. Widespread natural gas development in these areas, which are part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, has led to a sharp increase in well pads, roads, and other associated infrastructure. This in turn is driving pronghorn to the periphery of areas historically classified as crucial winter ranges, the five-year study says.

The study appears in the March, 2012 print edition of the journal Biological Conservation. Authors include Jon Beckmann and Rene Seidler of WCS; Kim Murray of Institute for Systems Biology; and Joel Berger of the University of Montana and WCS.

¡°In our study we have detected behavioral shifts for pronghorn in response to natural gas field development and infrastructure on federal BLM lands,¡± said Jon Beckmann of WCS¡¯s North America Program and lead author. ¡°By detecting behavioral changes, it is possible to identify threshold levels of gas field infrastructure development before any significant population declines. Maintaining the integrity of crucial wintering areas is particularly important in harsh winters to avoid diminishing pronghorn numbers.¡±

WCS has developed recommendations to protect pronghorn on BLM lands. Some of the recommendations include: baseline data being collected on population sizes and distribution prior to any development occurring. Data would then be used to define crucial winter range and keep development levels lower in key areas. Habitat and population levels should be monitored over time in both the gas fields and in similar control sites where no gas is being developed using scientifically rigorous methods to examine impacts of gas fields. Directional drilling should be used to reduce surface disturbance and limit habitat loss and fragmentation.

Fifty percent of North America¡¯s pronghorn live in Wyoming, which are declining in other parts of the U.S. Herds from throughout the western half of the state winter in the region where the gas fields are located including the herd from Grand Teton National Park that conducts the longest overland migration in the continental U.S. Herds that were attracted to the mesa above the natural gas deposits with windswept flat terrain and subsequent lack of deep snow are now being forced into less desirable areas.

The authors warn that pronghorn can only lose so much winter range before they will begin to decline in population. Mule deer have already declined by more than 50 percent from this region.

Joel Berger, a WCS co-author on the study, said: ¡°Ultimately this is a policy issue for petroleum extraction on U.S. public lands. In several cases science indicates that petroleum developments have had negative impacts on wildlife. We are hopeful that studies like these will inform future energy development on public lands in the West.¡±

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the Flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit: www.wcs.org
Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a Web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to wcs.org.

WCS Digital Community:

Web Sites:
www.wcs.org ¡ñ www.bronxzoo.com ¡ñ www.centralparkzoo.com ¡ñ www.queenszoo.com ¡ñ www.prospectparkzoo.com¡ñ www.nyaquarium.com

Facebook:
Wildlife Conservation Society http://www.facebook.com/TheWCS
Bronx Zoo www.facebook.com/bronxzoo
Central Park Zoo http://www.facebook.com/centralparkzoo
Queens Zoo http://www.facebook.com/queenszoo
Prospect Park Zoo http://www.facebook.com/prospectparkzoo
New York Aquarium http://www.facebook.com/nyaquarium

WCS Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/user/WCSMedia

Stephen Sautner | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.wcs.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Rain is important for how carbon dioxide affects grasslands
06.03.2019 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Northeast-Atlantic fish stocks: Recovery driven by improved management
04.02.2019 | Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, Bundesforschungsinstitut für Ländliche Räume, Wald und Fischerei

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

Im Focus: Revealing the secret of the vacuum for the first time

New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum

For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...

Im Focus: Sussex scientists one step closer to a clock that could replace GPS and Galileo

Physicists in the EPic Lab at University of Sussex make crucial development in global race to develop a portable atomic clock

Scientists in the Emergent Photonics Lab (EPic Lab) at the University of Sussex have made a breakthrough to a crucial element of an atomic clock - devices...

Im Focus: Sensing shakes

A new way to sense earthquakes could help improve early warning systems

Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Levitating objects with light

19.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New technique for in-cell distance determination

19.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Stellar cartography

19.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>