Webinar Focus Is Gas Drilling Impact On Forests/Wildlife

From Potter County Today

forestdrillingPenn State Extension will hold a free web-based seminar, titled “Effects of Marcellus Shale Drilling on Wildlife Habitat,” at 1 pm on Thursday, Aug. 25.  The one-hour session will cover landscape and habitat changes associated with gas exploration and development and how that may affect Pennsylvania wildlife and associated recreation. Wildlife managers are worried about forest fragmentation, the advance of invasive plant species and the effect gas drilling is having on activities such as hunting, fishing, bird watching and wildlife viewing, according to Thursday’s presenter, Margaret Brittingham, professor of wildlife resources at Penn State. There have been more than 2,350 wells drilled into the deep Marcellus formation under Pennsylvania in the last few years, primarily in the southwest, northeast and northcentral regions.


“I will discuss our current research project, which is looking at the effects of Marcellus Shale gas exploration and development on wildlife habitat in general and forest songbirds in particular,” Brittingham said.  “Pennsylvania contains internationally important breeding habitat for a number of neotropical migrant songbirds that — if degraded — would affect world populations. And much of the extensive gas development is occurring in the state’s northern tier, where some of the densest forests in North America provide ecologically vital bird habitat.”


Research is in its early phase, Brittingham explained. “We currently are collecting baseline data and determining whether there are any detectable changes at this stage of development,” she said. “I will conclude the webinar by discussing habitat-restoration needs, guidelines and opportunities, both for minimizing potential problems and enhancing habitat quality.”


Information about how to register for the session is available on the webinar page of Penn State Extension’s natural-gas website here. Those signing up to participate in the session are advised that the registration process can take several minutes.


A webinar at 1 p.m. on Sept. 15 will focus on current legal issues in shale-gas development. Previous webinars, publications and information on topics such as air pollution from gas development; the gas boom’s effect on landfills; water use and quality; zoning; gas-leasing considerations for landowners; implications for local communities; and gas pipelines and right-of-way issues also are available on the Penn State Extension natural-gas website. For more information about the webinar series, contact John Turack  at 724-837-1402 or by email at jdt15@psu.edu.

Potter County Today is a timely information site courtesy of the Potter County Commissioners. Reprinted with Permission.

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