Open Data as the Honest Broker: Evaluating the Impact of Hydraulic Fracturing on Water Resources in the Marcellus Shale Region

Authors: Jonathan Pollak*, Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc., Susan Brantley, Pennsylvania State University, Jennifer Williams, Pennsylvania State University, Kathy Brasier, Pennsylvania State University, Liza Brazil, Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc.
Topics: Water Resources and Hydrology, Resources, Cyberinfrastructure
Keywords: open data, water resources, fracking, citizen science
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 6:20 PM
Room: Astor Ballroom I, Astor, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Shale gas extraction has dramatically increased in the last decade, which has presented communities with questions surrounding the impacts hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has on water resources. Traditionally, the groups that monitor watershed conditions are disparate. Government agencies – local, state, and federal – maintain monitoring regimes, as do citizen science groups like watershed associations, and private industry. Such fractured data collection can create a difficult situation for monitoring water resources because such stakeholders may not share dialog, or data, effectively. With support from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Shale Network has collated data from many sources to create a single database of environmental observations across the Marcellus Shale region that may be used to evaluate the impacts of natural gas extraction on the region and to provide educational opportunities that examine real issues of societal importance. Though comprehensive monitoring may not be possible, building a database of environmental observations has brought stakeholders together to build upon a tacit agreement that data are important to understanding the impact of shale gas extraction on communities.

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