Potential effects of energy development on environmental resources of the Williston Basin in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota—Species of conservation concern
Chapter D in Potential effects of energy development on environmental resources of the Williston Basin in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota

Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5070- D
Prepared in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management
By: , and 

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Abstract

The ecosystems of the Williston Basin provide direct and indirect benefits to society. These benefits include carbon sequestration, flood control, nutrient rich soils for agricultural productivity, and habitat for wildlife. This chapter’s main focus is on the effects of energy development on species that occupy the ecosystems in the Williston Basin. We compiled a list of documented species of conservation concern that are of most interest to Federal regulators and resource managers. Species of concern were either listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act or listed by States as species of concern in Natural Heritage Program checklists or State Wildlife Action Plans. All told, we determined that 357 species of concern likely occupy the Williston Basin. These species represented seven different taxonomic groups: plants (native and nonnative), terrestrial invertebrates, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and fish and mussels.

We reviewed the existing scientific information pertaining to potential effects of energy development on these taxonomic groups. Currently, little is known about the abundance and distribution of many of these species. But some information exists that may be useful in predicting the potential effects of energy development on certain taxonomic groups. Most of this information has been developed through scientific research focused on effects to mammal and bird populations. Effects to other taxonomic groups seems to be understudied. In general, it seems that disturbances and modifications associated with development have the potential to negatively affect a wide range of species; however, many studies produce uncertain results because they are not designed to compare populations before and after energy development takes place. Most of these studies also do not monitor resources over multiple years and thus cannot detect population trends. Likewise, there are few examples of landscape-scale assessments of the cumulative effects of energy development that could be used for species or habitat management purposes. We suggest that more research needs to be completed to measure potential effects to a broad range of species in multiple taxonomic groups. This may require also developing some understanding about the basic ecology of many of the species covered in this report. In concert with this more basic research, we also suggest that more comprehensive assessments of potential negative cumulative effects across the Williston Basin should be developed in an effort to guide more strategic management of biological resources.

Suggested Citation

Post van der Burg, Max, Symstad, A.J., Igl, L.D., Mushet, D.M., Larson, D.L., Sargeant, G.A., Harper, D.D., Farag, A.M., Tangen, B.A., and Anteau, M.J., 2017, Potential effects of energy development on environmental resources of the Williston Basin in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota—Species of conservation concern: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5070–D, 41 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175070D.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Abstract
  • Overview
  • Ecosystems of the Williston Basin
  • Species of Conservation Concern in the Williston Basin
  • Potential Effects of Energy Development on Species of Conservation Concern
  • Summary
  • References Cited
  • Appendix D1

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Potential effects of energy development on environmental resources of the Williston Basin in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota—Species of conservation concern: Chapter D in Potential effects of energy development on environmental resources of the Williston Basin in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2017-5070
Chapter D
DOI 10.3133/sir20175070D
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description Report: vii, 41 p; Appendix Tables
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Potential effects of energy development on environmental resources of the Williston Basin in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota (Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5070)
Country United States
State Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota
Other Geospatial Williston Basin
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y