Gas Well Drilling Sites

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I was visiting a drilling site the other day and couldn’t help but see the potential in the rehab of the site. 

Amazing new technology has allowed several wells (usually six) to be drilled from one site, traveling out for up to 8,000 feet through the shale layer.  The environmental impact of drilling has decreased tremendously from this technology.  The tool pusher on the job seemed to think it is no big deal, but it was a real head scratcher for me, drilling down a mile, turning the pipe and drilling another mile or more horizontally. 

I also noticed the tremendous amount of limestone being trucked in to make the well pad.  I assume that all the activity on the stone will pulverize some of it, leach down into the soil and have a postive impact on the soil beneath.  The stone, I understand, can be picked up and reused at another well pad.  Another thing I didn’t know is that the “frack water” used to break the rock is recycled and used in other drill sites as well.

I have consulted with Penn State and Ernst Seed company, both of whom asked for my input on rercommended seed mixes to put on the reclaimed sites.  I really don’t see any limitations, especially if we want to plant permanent grasses and wildflowers.  We could also put in forage of any kind as long as we get our soil amendments in when the topsoil is placed back on site.  Any forage crop we use in other food plots will work.  The great thing about a drill site, especially in forested habitat, is that the expensive part of the job is getting done (clearing existing vegetation) not only for free but at a profit. 

If you’re a landowner with a drill pad on your land, consider making a wildlife habitat improvment  project out of the retirement of the site.  Flush with cash, you will be able to purchase whater seed and amendments you would like, as well as expert installation services.

Whatever you would like to have after the drilling is done or the pipeline is laid, let us know if we can be of service from recommendations and consultation to full installation of wildlife plantings.

These plantings could include fruit bearing shrubs, annual and perennial forage and trees.

About the Author:

Wildlife habitat manager and consulting forester from Central PA. Studied environmental Agriculture specializing in wildlife management and Forestry. B.S. Agriculture, Masters degree in Forestry. 30 years experience in land investment, forestry and wildlife habitat improvement. Currently working as a Farm Bill Forester for Pheasants Forever on Game Commission and Golden Winged Warbler Initiative.