Science Inventory

Rapid gas development in the Fayetteville shale basin, Arkansas


Entrekin, S., G. Adams, R. Adams, B. Austin, M. Evans-White, C. Gallipeau, E. Hagenbuch, B. Haggard, E. Inland, N. Jensen, B. R. JOHNSON, J. Kelso, L. Lewis, L. Massey, AND L. Stearman. Rapid gas development in the Fayetteville shale basin, Arkansas. Presented at Society for Freshwater Science, Louisville, KY, May 20 - 24, 2012.


The goal of this research is to develop methods and indicators that are useful for evaluating the condition of aquatic communities, for assessing the restoration of aquatic communities in response to mitigation and best management practices, and for determining the exposure of aquatic communities to different classes of stressors (i.e., pesticides, sedimentation, habitat alteration).


Advances in drilling and extraction of natural gas have resulted in rapid expansion of wells in shale basins. The rate of gas well installation in the Fayetteville shale is 774 wells a year since 2005 with thousands more planned. The Fayetteville shale covers 23,000 km2 although gas well development is concentrated within 8,000 km2. Rapid and concentrated activity and wells placed close to streams increases potential for negtive effects on surface waters. We quantified turbidity and suspended sediment during storms in ten stream catchments with a gradient of gas wells. We predicted catchments with higher well densities to have higher turbidity and suspended sediments. Turbidity was positively related to gas well activity during four of eight storms and negatively related to gas well density during one storm. Turbidity from three storms was related to road density, drainage area, or woody/herbaceous land. Concentration of inorganic sediment was also positively related to well density during three storms, while in other storms it was related to woody/herbaceous land or road density. We continue to examine the effects of turbidity and suspended sediments on the biological community.



Record Details:

Product Published Date: 05/20/2012
Record Last Revised: 09/05/2013
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 241513