Project Scope & Methods:
Field work (Objective 2) will primarily focus on previously studied sites within
the PPR and Williston Basin portions of Montana, North Dakota, and South
Dakota. However, spatial analyses (Objective 1) will include an assessment
of all critical habitats within the entire Williston Basin. Likewise,
efforts to develop decision support tools (Objective 3) and to establish
an Interagency Contamination Science Team (Objective 4) will bring together
a spectrum of stakeholders with an interest in environmental risks associated
with oil production in the Williston Basin.
The initial focus will be on the Northeast Montana, Crosby (ND), and Lostwood
(ND) Wetland Management Districts and their nearby national wildlife refuges,
like Medicine Lake NWR (MT), Lostwood, Lake Zahl, and Des Lacs (ND) NWRs.
By studying sites previously examined by the USFWS, Montana Bureau of Mines
and Geology (MBMG), and the USGS, the team will be able to determine the
extent of oil brine contamination. This will include the collection
of new data as part of this study, use of existing data that will be made
available from cooperators, and use of proven scientific methodologies and
extending their use to suit project needs. The team will also
evaluate the needs of those that will use the data to develop appropriate
and useful decision support system tools that help them assess the risk from
energy development to the natural resources with which they are entrusted,
especially wetlands that are part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.