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March 2017 Bulletin

Impacts from Above-Ground Activities in the Eagle Ford Shale
Play on Landscapes and Hydrologic Flows, La Salle County,
Jon Paul Pierre1,2
• Charles J. Abolt2,3
• Michael H. Young2
Received: 8 July 2014 / Accepted: 31 March 2015
Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015
We assess the spatial and geomorphic fragmentation
from the recent Eagle Ford Shale play in La
Salle County, Texas, USA. Wells and pipelines were
overlaid onto base maps of land cover, soil properties,
vegetation assemblages, and hydrologic units. Changes to
continuity of different ecoregions and supporting landscapes
were assessed using the Landscape Fragmentation
Tool (a third-party ArcGIS extension) as quantified by land
area and continuity of core landscape areas (i.e., those
degraded by ‘‘edge effects’’). Results show decreases in
core areas (8.7 %; *33,290 ha) and increases in landscape
patches (0.2 %; *640 ha), edges (1.8 %; *6940 ha), and
perforated areas (4.2 %; *16230 ha). Pipeline construction
dominates landscape disturbance, followed by drilling
and injection pads (85, 15, and 0.03 % of disturbed area,
respectively). An increased potential for soil loss is indicated,
with 51 % (*5790 ha) of all disturbance regimes
occurring on soils with low water-transmission rates (depth
to impermeable layer less than 50 cm) and a high surface
runoff potential (hydrologic soil group D). Additionally,
88 % (*10,020 ha) of all disturbances occurred on soils
with a wind erodibility index of approximately 19 kt/km2/
year (0.19 kt/ha/year) or higher, resulting in an estimated
potential of 2 million tons of soil loss per year. Results
demonstrate that infrastructure placement is occurring on
soils susceptible to erosion while reducing and splitting
core areas potentially vital to ecosystem services.
  • Title: March 2017 Bulletin
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