Mitigation measures to avoid or reduce impacts to land use from oil and gas production.
The following are examples of mitigation measures that could be applied to reduce land use impacts of a project depending upon site- and project-specific conditions. Land use impacts are related to the project footprint (e.g., land disturbance, habitat destruction, erosion, changes in runoff patterns, and hydrological alterations), project emissions (e.g., fugitive dust, sediment runoff, air releases, water releases), noise levels, and resource use (e.g., water extraction). Many impacts can be reduced or avoided when considered during the siting and design phase.
Develop a final set of mitigation measures for any project in consultation with the appropriate federal resource management agencies and stakeholders. Conduct these consultations early in the project development process and preferably prior to final project siting and design.
Siting and Design Mitigation Measures
Siting and design considerations that mitigate impacts include:
Contact local stakeholders early in the process to identify sensitive land uses, issues, and local plans and ordinances.
Provide adequate public notice of planned exploratory activities.
Site the project on previously disturbed or altered landscapes whenever possible.
Consolidate infrastructure requirements (e.g., well pads, pipelines, transmission lines, roads) for efficient use of land. Consider the ultimate reclamation requirements for the site during initial development of well pads and roads.
Establish a reclamation plan that addresses both interim and final reclamation requirements. Ensure that interim reclamation of disturbed areas is conducted as soon as possible.
Minimize gravel placement.
General Mitigation Measures
General mitigation practices and principles that could apply to any or all phases of an oil and gas project include:
Depending on the individual site, consider steps to minimize the amount of vehicular traffic and human activity. Examples include use of pipeline collection systems and remote well site monitoring.
Compensate farmers for crop damage and restore compacted soils.
Keep gates and fences closed and in good repair to contain livestock.
Project Phase-Specific Mitigation Measures
Mitigation measures specific to a particular phase of an oil and gas project include:
Implement the reclamation plan developed for the project. Items to consider include:
Remove all aboveground structures from the project area.
Reestablish the original grade and drainage pattern to the extent practicable.
Restore the vegetation cover, composition, and diversity commensurate with the ecological setting.
Review reclamation efforts and weed control periodically until the site is determined to have been successfully reclaimed.