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GIS and Modeling Tools for CBNG

Principal Investigators:

Scott Miller, Dept. of Renewable Resources

Paul Caffrey, Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center

GIS analyst:

Margo Berendsen, Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center

Increasing demands to issue permits for CBNG (coalbed natural gas) energy development throughout Wyoming requires more efficient methods to evaluate environmental impacts. Utilization of models in support of decision making provides resource managers with defensible mechanism for management. AGWA is a GIS-based program that utilizes spatially distributed models for modeling runoff, erosion and other factors, helping resource managers address spatial complexities across local and regional scales and validate sound management practices. AGWA stands for Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment, a tool that couples the power of GIS and spatially distributed hydrologic models. AGWA uses data on topography, vegetation, soils and climate as input to two models, SWAT and KINEROS2. Output includes surface runoff, sediment yield, sediment discharge and many other factors.

Modeling Past, Present and Future Scenarios
The Fortification Creek watershed (127,800 acres) is one of several pilot watersheds, selected because it includes a BLM special management area for critical mule deer winter range. CBNG development has been limited in this area because of the critical winter range.

  • PAST scenario: Land cover from 1992 was used with SWAT to model the watershed in the past, before CBNG development had occurred. Results: 25% of the watershed has runoff values > 94 mm 
  • PRESENT scenario: As of 2006, over 1000 wells have been drilled within the Fortification Creek watershed. Well locations were buffered by 200 meters. A number of 30 m2 cells were selected at random from the buffered areas, equaling the area of the surface use disturbance as submitted to the BLM (the average disturbance per well was 1.4 acres.) In this scenario, 0.86% of the total area of the watershed is disturbed. Results: 44% of the watershed has runoff values > 94 mm 
  • FUTURE scenario: Assuming full CBM development, a well every 80 acres, 1.4 acre disturbance was created randomly per 80 acres in non-developed areas, and combined with the present disturbance. In this scenario, 2.25% of the total area of the watershed is disturbed.

APD Scenarios


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