June 23, 2013
The Bridger Teton National Forest is ~3.4 million acres of public land in Wyoming State. It is untouched and uninhabited by humans for the most part. It is the also largest parcel of public land in the lower 48 states. Some think that it should be preserved from environmentally destructive practices, such as drilling and mining. There are others who claim this area can provide much needed fuel sources that will offset the Untied States dependency on foreign sources and be more in control of fuel costs.
For me this is an issue that is long standing with my native American Roots, and we are facing similar conflicts in the Sacred Black Hills. Yet thus far it seems greed and politics have been leading the way to destroying what we may soon never see again in our lifetimes.
Lets take a look at some of the issues that will be impacted if we do not take the steps needed to preserve and take care of this great natural resource. Lets begin with the Wildlife, with the proposed well pads and road networks that would have to be put ni place, summer habitats and birthing/calving areas could be impacted or destroyed. Natural migration pathways would be critically fractured. Wildlife such as moose, elk, mule deer, lynx and other species that link the GrosVentre Wilderness to the Forest’s Wyoming Range would forever ne altered, not by natural cycles, but man made cycles.
Mule deer summer and birth in the Hoback/Forest and migrate south through the gas/drilling fields in winter. Wildlife studies recorded with the DNR show a 46% decline in the mule deer population since drilling began. This could lead to possible mule deer extinction.
The water volumes that would be needed for gas fields in the Hoback Basin is unknown and unrecorded as is the condition of the aquifers that support ground water and surface water resources. The Forest, ranches and communities of this area all rely these...
References: Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. (2013). Retrieved from http://deq.state.wy.us/
Wiley, J. (Year). “Bridger Teton Environmental Science [Video file]. Retrieved from Wiley Plus website: http://edugen.wiley.com/edugen/student/main.uni
Wyoming Game & Fish Department. (2013). Retrieved from http://wgfd.wyo.gov/web2011/home.aspx
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