Location

USU Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

http://www.restoringthewest.org/

Streaming Media

Abstract

Planning and decision making for oil and gas development are typically done without a landscape level spatial assessment of wildlife impacts. Yet readily available GIS technology can simulate alternative infrastructure development scenarios prior to development on the ground. To illustrate its application in a decision making process, spatial build-out scenarios of roads and well pads were used during three phases of the Resource Management Plan revision for the Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Resource Area in northwest Colorado. The latest field literature on the impacts of development on Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), sagebrush-obligate bird species generally, pronghorn (Antilocapra americana), elk (Cervus elaphus), and mule deer (Odocoileous hemionus) were used to project impacts from different build-out scenarios. Sample results include projected risk of: 1) 19% decline in sagebrush-obligate bird species under an early cooperating agency development proposal due to proximity to oil and gas access roads, 2) habitat abandonment on 18% of pronghorn winter range under the preferred alternative in the BLM Draft Resource Management Plan due to reduced habitat patch size, and 3) double the rate of decline of activity of Greater Sage-grouse on 28 of 132 total leks under the near final management plan due to proximity to well pads. Quantitative data and illustrative maps were presented to agency planners and stakeholders throughout the process to focus discussions on science-based rationale for development configuration. Results contributed to final decisions on well pad densities and areas to avoid development.

Janice Thomson, Assistant Vice President for Landscape Analysis, The Wilderness Society, 720 3rd Ave., Suite 1800, Seattle, WA, 98104, janice_thomson@tws.org

Dr. Janice Thomson is the Director of the Center for Landscape Analysis at The Wilderness Society. With 19 years at the organization, she manages the work of the Center and strives to expand the application and effectiveness of GIS for conservation science. In her own research, Dr. Thomson evaluates the indirect and cumulative impacts human infrastructure on wildlife. She uses the spatial pattern analysis of oil and gas development and transportation plans to link academic wildlife research to practical land management considerations. She has conducted this work on BLM and Forest Service land management plans in the Rocky Mountain states. The work contributes to a variety of science and advocacy products to improve the use of wildlife research and spatial analysis in land management decision making on federal public lands.

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Oct 30th, 4:00 PM Oct 30th, 4:30 PM

Projecting Wildlife Impacts Before Oil and Gas Development

USU Eccles Conference Center

Planning and decision making for oil and gas development are typically done without a landscape level spatial assessment of wildlife impacts. Yet readily available GIS technology can simulate alternative infrastructure development scenarios prior to development on the ground. To illustrate its application in a decision making process, spatial build-out scenarios of roads and well pads were used during three phases of the Resource Management Plan revision for the Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Resource Area in northwest Colorado. The latest field literature on the impacts of development on Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), sagebrush-obligate bird species generally, pronghorn (Antilocapra americana), elk (Cervus elaphus), and mule deer (Odocoileous hemionus) were used to project impacts from different build-out scenarios. Sample results include projected risk of: 1) 19% decline in sagebrush-obligate bird species under an early cooperating agency development proposal due to proximity to oil and gas access roads, 2) habitat abandonment on 18% of pronghorn winter range under the preferred alternative in the BLM Draft Resource Management Plan due to reduced habitat patch size, and 3) double the rate of decline of activity of Greater Sage-grouse on 28 of 132 total leks under the near final management plan due to proximity to well pads. Quantitative data and illustrative maps were presented to agency planners and stakeholders throughout the process to focus discussions on science-based rationale for development configuration. Results contributed to final decisions on well pad densities and areas to avoid development.

Janice Thomson, Assistant Vice President for Landscape Analysis, The Wilderness Society, 720 3rd Ave., Suite 1800, Seattle, WA, 98104, janice_thomson@tws.org

Dr. Janice Thomson is the Director of the Center for Landscape Analysis at The Wilderness Society. With 19 years at the organization, she manages the work of the Center and strives to expand the application and effectiveness of GIS for conservation science. In her own research, Dr. Thomson evaluates the indirect and cumulative impacts human infrastructure on wildlife. She uses the spatial pattern analysis of oil and gas development and transportation plans to link academic wildlife research to practical land management considerations. She has conducted this work on BLM and Forest Service land management plans in the Rocky Mountain states. The work contributes to a variety of science and advocacy products to improve the use of wildlife research and spatial analysis in land management decision making on federal public lands.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/rtw/2012/october30/12