Top: Aerial photo taken October 2012 of the Yank Creek watershed in the Thompson Divide, a wilderness area located in western Colorado. Credit: Jane Pargiter – EcoFlight
Bottom: SkyTruth simulation of the same area of the Thompson Divide overlain with simulated five-acre well pads and new service roads (in white). To see more views of our simulation, click here.
|Looking southwest over our simulation of drilling in the Lake Ridge Unit of Thompson Divide from north of the Sunlight Ski Area. To see more views of our simulation, click here.|
Surface disturbance, habitat fragmentation, persistent noise, air and water pollution, heavy truck traffic, and industrial accidents are some of the issues the U.S. Forest Service and BLM will have to consider in their environmental analysis of the impact that drilling will have on this public land. To help visualize what this unconventional gas development could look like in this unfragmented swath of backcountry, we traced out access roads and 132 five-acre well pads onto Google Earth imagery of the Lake Ridge Unit west of Carbondale.
|Looking north over the Thompson Divide with Carbondale to the northeast. To see more views of our simulation, click here.|
While gas wells, roads, pipelines, compressor stations and other infrastructure would fragment the Thompson Divide, a wide range of stakeholders and citizen groups have joined together out of concern for this valuable resource. Local citizens have united with the goal of preserving the existing value and uses of the Thompson Divide, and we hope our simulation will help put in perspective what the future could look like if the leases are developed when BLM’s suspension ends on April 1, 2014.
Watch the video below to take an aerial tour of Thompson Divide as it looks today.