The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Bureau of Forestry is a steward of the state’s 2.2 million-acre state forest system.
The bureau has also established a Shale-Gas Monitoring program to determine trends or patterns in shale gas development in the state forests. The first report was released in April.
The DCNR initiated the Shale-Gas Monitoring Program to track, detect and report on impacts of shale gas development in the state forest system. The program was put into force in 2011, providing a three-tier approach, which includes an integrated and dedicated monitoring team of 15 staff members, related forest resource monitoring and on-the-ground management activities and research and external partner collaboration.
An essential part of the program is to compile and analyze the data and findings and provide an objective report of these findings and future monitoring plans.
The report identifies 15 ‘monitoring values’ that relate to the sustainability of the state forest system, impacts of natural gas drilling in state forests to stakeholders and communities and the Bureau’s mission.
Monitoring values include infrastructure, flora, forest health, water, invasive species, soil, air, incidents, fauna, recreation, community engagement, timber, energy, revenue and forest landscapes. Key points, monitoring efforts and results and conclusions for each monitoring value is provided.
The report discusses the partner monitoring with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) with the remote water quality monitoring network. Six research partnerships are explained in the report, as well.