Eastern Shale Gas Monitoring Program


Central Appalachia’s coldwater streams are still struggling from century-old impacts from past energy development. This, coupled with urbanization and other land management issues, has left us with few intact and healthy wild and native trout watersheds. What is left of healthy trout habitat lies largely in areas with underlying shale gas deposits or areas being targeted for pipeline development.

With increased shale gas and pipeline development, trout watersheds in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia must be protected from ecological and environmental harm. Potential impacts to coldwater resources include sedimentation, habitat alteration, chemical spillage and major water withdrawals.

Developing and transporting shale gas requires the clearing of an extensive amount of land for well pads, access roads and pipelines. In Appalachia’s notoriously rugged and wet terrain, the clearing of this land can lead to erosion and sedimentation issues if proper best management practices are not required and followed.

Shale gas wastewater must be properly handled, transported and disposed of in order to protect nearby streams from pollution.

The Eastern Shale Gas Monitoring Program engages citizen scientists as the eyes and ears on the ground to identify and limit the potential impacts of shale gas development on coldwater streams. Through our Pennsylvania Coldwater Conservation Corps and W. Va/Va. Water Quality Monitoring Project, TU and our partners are engaging, training, equipping and supporting volunteers to monitor their local coldwater streams for impacts from shale gas and pipeline development.


• Engage, train and support volunteers to collect water quality data and conduct visual reconnaissance to identify pollution events in watersheds experiencing shale gas development.

• Train and assist volunteers in reporting pollution events and making sure they are addressed to minimize impacts on coldwater streams.

• Engage, train and support volunteers to collect baseline data in coldwater streams in areas with a high likelihood of future shale gas and pipeline development.


Since 2010 TU has trained 800 volunteers. Volunteer citizen scientists are monitoring over 390 sites on 318 streams throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.

Citizen scientists are actively establishing baseline watershed conditions in coldwater streams with a high likelihood of future shale gas and/or pipeline development.

Volunteers have identified pollutions events as a result of shale gas development and notified the appropriate authorities. This has resulted in pollution issues being swiftly addressed, limiting damage to the aquatic ecosystem.

Staff Contact

Jake Lemon, Eastern Shale Gas Monitoring Coordinator, jlemon@tu.org

Author of this Page

Mark Taylor, Eastern Communications Director


Central Appalachia
Marcellus Shale region

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Brook Trout

Wild Rainbow Trout

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Wild Brown Trout

Wild Brown Trout

Oil + Gas Drilling

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