SCOTLAND – Initial seismic activity for natural gas exploration on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Gulf Mountain Wildlife Management Area is close to completion. No additional activity will take place on the management area until after the spring turkey season is over.
Seismic crews working for Chesapeake Energy finished well ahead of schedule and that should allow plenty of time for some quality turkey scouting and listening prior to the season, AGFC Assistant Chief of Wildlife Management Ricky Chastain says. “The ground crews have continued to report the local game species have become quite accustomed to the seismic activity and react very little to the work,” Chastain said. “The public can still expect to see and hear some seismic activity taking place on private land adjacent to the area, which might make the management area a prime place to try their luck at harvesting a gobbler,” Chastain added.
Hunters will see a large amount of flagging on the area, along with some survey stakes, Chastain explained. “We’re asking people not to disturb the flagging or the survey stakes during the hunting season. Leaving these markers in place will greatly speed up the next step in completing the seismic survey,” he said. “No cables or listening devices will be deployed until after the turkey season.”
Following the turkey season, each shot hole will be set off one at a time using a very sophisticated, safe firing mechanism. AGFC area staff will continue to monitor this phase of the seismic survey. Once the survey is complete, all flagging and survey stakes associated with the seismic survey will be removed.
Chesapeake is responsible for complying with strict environmental standards under the terms of its lease with the AGFC. It is required to consult with the AGFC about the location of any well site. The AGFC must approve all plans for construction of structures, rigs, machinery, communication facilities, roads, well locations, pipelines and equipment for drilling of wells.
The AGFC has included provisions in the lease agreements that the WMAs, wildlife and fisheries be protected by following guidelines detailed in the Best Management Practices for Fayetteville Shale Natural Gas Activities. The document was developed by a multi-agency group to ensure all Arkansans benefit from the additional energy and the conservation of important public resources such as wildlife, rare plants, clean air and water.