With all the oil and gas drilling buzz, who’s thinking about conservation?

BY Ray Rummell

With all the attention that is being given to the oil and gas play in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, have you thought what the local soil and water conservation district could do to assist you as a landowner to prepare for and deal with this activity?

The SWCD can give you onsite assistance to make recommendations for erosion control, water management and how these activities affect the natural resources of your property.

We are constantly hearing the buzz of how big the bonus and royalties dollars are, but no one talks about how the natural resources base is being used, maintained and protected for the future.

Plan for future

Conservation plans are the basic tool landowners need to use as the basis for all decisions involved the soil, drainage and the amount of erosion that can be tolerated and yet maintain the productivity of the natural resources.

The SWCD has the technical capability to walk your farm and discuss various options and alternatives on how you can work with the oil and gas company to resolve conflicts between landowner and company representatives.

Soil, roads, seedings

Sensitive agricultural soil can be identified in all areas of cropland, hayland, or pasture that are more susceptible than other agricultural soils to construction disturbance due to slope, relative soil wetness, and/or shallowness to bedrock.

Land and water management features can be identified including subsurface drainage areas (tile), open ditches, grassed waterways, diversions, and water source (developed springs).

SWCD personnel are available to assist in the planning for temporary and permanent ingress and egress routes. Location of the roads will be planned to not impede proper drainage and to minimize soil erosion on or near the roads.

The district can provide soils descriptions detailing the depth of topsoil to be removed prior to any construction activity. We can provide copies of known tile plans recommendations on proper procedures for repair and replacement of damaged tile lines.

The SWCD technician can assist the landowner in development of seeding recommendations for permanent as well as temporary seedings. These can be developed site specific, taking into account the desired forage value; erosion control needed and soil compatibility.

The local SWCD is loaded with a wealth of information and expertise to assist the landowner to develop a construction and reclamation plan for well sites and pipeline rights of way.

Site specific information can be accessed by contacting your local Soil and Water Conservation District.

(Ray Rummell is a part-time technician with the Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Carroll and Harrison counties. He is retired from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and is a member of the Carroll County senior fair board.)

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