Can Colorado’s native plants and animals live in harmony with expanding energy production in the state? Colorado State University (CSU) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) are working on a comprehensive study of potential effects of natural gas development on wildlife and their habitats, and are working to enhance mitigation measures to reduce any identified impacts.
XTO Energy, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, contributed nearly $5 million to support the ongoing research, which is being conducted on both private and public land in the Piceance Creek Basin in western Colorado.
The effects of energy production have been found to be typically species-specific and system-specific, creating an important need for customized investigations and greater collaboration between researchers, regulators and industry. The research is at the epicenter of wildlife issues in the state, and was the focus of a half-day plenary symposium at The Colorado Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s 2014 Annual Winter Meeting in Fort Collins. Results will be finalized and incorporated into management practices over the next one to five years.