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Project ID: 2002WY1B

Title: Erosion potential model development and channel monitoring

Project Type: Research

Focus Categories: Geomorphological Processes, Water Quantity, Management and Planning

Keywords: Channel erosion, coalbed methane, GIS

Start Date: 03/01/2002

End Date: 02/28/2003

Federal Funds: $11,980

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $46,743

Congressional District: 1

Principal Investigator:
Gregory V. Wilkerson
University of Wyoming


Coal bed methane (CBM) development in the Powder River (structural) Basin (PRB), located in northeast Wyoming, has been occurring at an increasing rate since about 1990. As of November 1999, 3,041 CBM wells had been drilled or spudded in the PRB. At that time the U.S. Bureau of Land Management approved a plan to develop 5,000 new coal bed methane wells and related production facilities. The process of extracting coal bed methane involves drilling a well into the coal seam and then pumping water out of the well to create a pressure gradient that causes the methane to flow towards the well. The gas and water separate in the well. The gas is sent to a pipeline and the water is reinjected, stored in a reservoir, discharged into surface drainages, or otherwise disposed of. There is great potential for CBM produced water to cause sedimentation and erosion in affected stream channels and tributaries. Therefore, in conjunction with this project, an analytical model (EP Modeler) has been developed which will identify the erosion potential of channels carrying discharges from CBM wells. The proposed project involves continued monitoring of channel erosion in two drainage basins in which significant CBM development is expected. The channel monitoring effort has thus far provided baseline data that will be compared with data to be collected in the future. The channel monitoring data will also be used to evaluate the analytical model and study channel processes in general.

Progress/Completion Report PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Thursday June 24, 2004 3:18 PM
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