Webinar to look at the Impacts of Marcellus Gas Development on Forestland

A Web-based seminar sponsored by Penn State Extension and the College of Agricultural Sciences will examine how Marcellus Shale natural-gas development is affecting forestland in Pennsylvania.

The 75-minute webinar will begin at 1 p.m. on Dec. 15. Presenters will be Ellen Shultzabarger, chief of the Forest Resources Planning Section of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Tony Quadro, forester and assistant district manager for the Westmoreland County Conservation District.

“We’ll cover the impacts of gas activity on state forestlands and what we’ve done to reduce and minimize the effects of the Marcellus play on our forests,” Shultzabarger said. “Avoid, minimize, mitigate and monitor — that’s our approach.”

Shultzabarger said the session will highlight the policies and management practices the department follows to decrease the fragmentation and impact to state forestlands. “We’ll also discuss the lessons we have learned and practices we recommend for use in communities and on private lands.”

Quadro will focus on the impacts of Marcellus gas drilling on private forestlands and the issues affecting private forestland owners.

“The main topics of discussion will include factors that will impact your forest- management plan, such as the siting of pads, pipelines, waterlines and access roads on your property,” he said.

“I also will cover expectations for payment for standing timber, services of a professional consulting forester, Clean and Green Law status, timing of timber harvests, selling logs, and Marcellus gas development’s long-term impacts on private forestland.”

The webinar is part of a monthly series of online workshops addressing opportunities and challenges related to the state’s Marcellus Shale gas boom. Information about how to register for the session is available on the webinar page of Penn State Extension’s natural-gas website.

Future webinars will center on seismic testing, transportation patterns and impacts from Marcellus development, and municipalities’ roles related to water use and protection.”

For more information, contact John Turack, extension educator based in Westmoreland County, at (724) 837-1402 or by email at jdt15@psu.edu.