Minerals and Geology - Minerals Activities Procedures

 

Minerals Activities Procedures

By: John C. Nichols, Forest Geologist

 

Contents:

[photo] a quartz mine

Minerals Hardrock Permitting: Acquired and Public Domain Lands

Information on how to get approval to prospect and mine on the National Forests begins with an understanding of the Mineral estate status. The Ouachita and Ozark National Forests have an intermixing of acquired status Federal lands and minerals and public domain status Federal lands and minerals which are displayed on Forest Land status maps, available for public review in the Forest Supervisor's Office and at the District Rangers Offices. Of the 1.4 million acres of Ouachita National Forest lands in Arkansas, approximately 700,000 acres are public domain status minerals, and 700,000 acres are acquired status minerals. All 400,000 acres of the Ouachita National Forest in Oklahoma are acquired status lands and minerals. In addition, there are approximately 46,500 acres (26,000 acres in Arkansas + 20,500 acres in Oklahoma) of reserved and outstanding mineral rights under the surface estate administered by the Ouachita National Forest, and 1,300 acres of Federal minerals under private surface estates inside the Forest boundary. Private lands are intermixed with National Forest lands throughout parts of the Forest.

With the singular exception of quartz minerals on the Ouachita National Forest, the permitting procedures for hardrock mining related activities on the Forest are entirely different for acquired and public domain status land and mineral estates. Hardrock minerals include minerals such as copper, manganese and other metallic minerals and some varieties of non-metallic mineral resources. Regardless of the mineral status, no surface disturbing activity can begin until approved by the authorized Forest officer. In all cases, a reclamation bond sufficient to insure full site reclamation must be submitted by the operator:

Acquired Status: National Forest lands and minerals purchased, donated, or received in exchange for purchased or donated lands and minerals. Acquired National Forest land has Weeks Act status under an other act of September 2, 1958 (72 Stat. 1571). The Weeks Act of March 1, 1911 (36 Stat.961, as amended) is the primary land acquisition authority
for the Forest Service.

Acquired status hardrock minerals: Applications for prospecting permits and leases must be made for hardrock minerals on acquired status Forest lands. The USDI, Bureau of Land Management (BLM)is the primary agency responsible for processing permits and leases. The Forest Service, as the Federal surface managing agency, responds with the Bureau of land Management in all levels of the analysis process concerning surface impacts. The U.S. Department of Interior, through the Bureau of Land Management and the Minerals Management Service (MMS), is responsible for collecting revenues generated from minerals activities on acquired status lands.

Public Domain (PD) Status: Land and minerals withdrawn or reserved for use as part of the National Forests or National Grasslands and have never left Federal ownership, or received in exchange for the same status of land. [RE: FSM 5430.5, Amend 108].

Public domain status locatable minerals: Mining claims can only be located for locatable minerals on public domain status Forest lands. Mining claim filings are made with the USDI, Bureau of Land Management, which is also responsible for adjudication. However, the Forest Service is the primary agency for processing all exploration and mining proposals on National Forest lands. No Federal revenues are generated from mining claims.

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Quartz resources on the Ouachita National Forest

Contracts for quartz and quartz minerals on both public domain and acquired status lands on the Ouachita National Forest is administered by the Forest Service in accord with the provisions of Section 323 of Public Law 100-446 (enacted September 27, 1988) and Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 228 C. The Forest Service is responsible for collecting revenues for quartz mining under this program. By law, 50 percent of all revenues raised are returned to the State for county school and road programs.

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Minerals Outstanding and Reserved Rights (OS&RR)

Mineral rights that are owned by parties other than the Federal government under Forest Service administered lands are either reserved to the party who transferred the lands to the Forest Service, or outstanding to a third party not involved in the land transfer. There are approximately 46,500 acres (26,000 acres in Arkansas + 20,500 acres in Oklahoma, 1990 data) of reserved and outstanding mineral rights under the surface estate administered by the Ouachita National Forest. These are scattered parcels and their precise locations can be found in the Forest Service land status maps maintained in the Forest Supervisors office in Hot Springs and in land status maps for each Ranger District maintained at each Ranger District Office. The mineral owner has the right to access and develop the mineral estate regardless of the management area in which the mineral estate is located and the operating procedures set forth through the Forest Plan. However, in most cases, the title to the mineral estate includes provisions to require the many mineral owners to develop access plans with the Forest Service in accordance with Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 251.15. In those cases where access to the mineral estate would adversely affect other Forest resource values, the Government can negotiate a settlement with the mineral owner to avoid the impacts.

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Minerals Potential

The areas of known mineral potential are based on current information and may change at any time depending on further exploration, technological advances, geologic evaluations, or economics. The Ouachita National Forest encourages the valid exploration and development of the Forest mineral resource. The presence of a mineral contract, mining claim, or lease does not, by itself, automatically impart a mineral value to the lands it affects.

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[photo] a Forest Service employee at a quartz mine

Minerals Categories and Administrative Responsibilities

For Federally owned mineral rights, various laws have resulted in minerals being categorized as locatable, leasable and saleable minerals. The authorized federal officers in these categories responsible for decisions pertaining to them are as follows:

- The District Ranger is delegated as the authorized officer by the Forest Supervisor for decisions concerning locatable and saleable hardrock minerals cases and geophysical exploration requests. In leasable cases, the District Ranger is responsible for evaluating the suitability availability) of Forest lands for exploration and mining, which are then presented as recommendations by the Forest Supervisor to the Regional Forester.

- The Regional Forester is the authorized Forest Service officer responsible for making the final decision to consent or deny permission to the USDI, Bureau of Land Management for issuance of a permit or lease.

- The USDI, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the federal agency responsible for issuing and administering leasable mineral permits and leases once Forest Service consent is granted. The BLM is also responsible for determining if competition for the hardrock leasable mineral resource is necessary.

The descriptions of the following categories for mining related activities are provided below:

1. Saleable: Common Variety Mineral Material (CVMM)
2. Saleable: Quartz
3. Locatable: Mining Claims on Public Domain Lands
4. Leasable: Hardrock Minerals on Acquired Lands
5. Leasable: Gas and Oil Leasing
6. Geophysical Exploration Permits
7. Rockhounding and Forest Policy
8. Access

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1. Saleable: Common Variety Mineral Material (CVMM) Permits


The Forest Service has sole authority for disposal of common varieties of mineral materials, referred to as saleable minerals, from National Forest lands. Common variety mineral materials, such as sand, gravel and building stone, on the Ouachita National Forest are disposed of by sale under authority of Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 228 C. Complete regulations and procedures, as well as current sale prices, are available at the District Ranger offices and the Forest Supervisors office. Application for common variety mineral materials is made directly to the District Ranger. On the Ouachita National Forest, the majority of sales for common variety mineral materials are for small tonnages that can easily be removed from the surface of the Forest and are sold over-the-counter through a noncompetitive process. In such cases, surface impacts are minimal. For sales of large volumes of material, and/or where the deposit is known to exist, the disposal of these common variety mineral materials may be either by competitive or noncompetitive methods, depending on various circumstances. In any event, an environmental analysis and review is conducted by the District Ranger before approval for material removal is granted. Where larger proposals require the development of a pit, the operator is responsible for providing a detailed pit plan for analysis. Regardless of the size of the operation or the disposal method, full site reclamation is required and an adequate reclamation bond is collected before commencement of operations is allowed.

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2. Saleable: Quartz and Quartz Contracts

Quartz minerals on the Ouachita National Forest are administered by the USDA, Forest Service under Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations part 228 ``C'', in accordance with Section 323 of Public Law 100-446, enacted on September 27, 1988. Prior to that date, the quartz resource on the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas had been administered under both the locatable and the leasable minerals programs and involved up to three different federal agencies. Since 1988, quartz has been administered solely by the local Ouachita National Forest District Ranger. Section 323 of P.L. 100-446 also provides for a consistent and fair revenue generating process which returns 50 percent of the revenues raised from quartz sales back to the State of Arkansas for local county road and school programs.

The principal Ranger Districts involved with quartz sales under this program are the Womble, Jessieville, Winona, Oden and Caddo Ranger Districts. In 1989, these Ranger Districts developed more than 158 quartz contracts for parcels each covering primarily from 10 to 40 acres of Forest lands. The first competitive quartz sale held in June 1989 brought in more than $18,000 of bonus bid revenues. The revenue raised from April to October 1989 from bonus bids and from annual contract fees was $26,250. Some of this revenue also came from contracts issued to holders of mining claims who had voluntarily relinquished their mining claims for quartz in preference of a quartz contract issued by the Forest.

The process for gaining access to the quartz mineral estate on the Ouachita National Forest is very simple and begins when a person nominates Forest lands they are interested in exploring and/or developing for quartz. Nominations are submitted to the District Ranger and must be accompanied by a bid deposit which is applied toward the nominator's formal bid for the lands he nominated. The District Ranger works with the nominator to parcel the lands of interest into 10 to 80 acre sites and then conducts an environmental analysis on the parcel. The parcel is then made available for sale through a competitive process that is open to the public. The minimum bid on any parcel is $50, and all bids are considered one-time bonus bids. Parcels that are not sold become available for a limited time from the Ranger District's office through a noncompetitive process. A contract is issued by the District for the sold parcel, and the purchaser then pays an annual contract fee based on the number of acres under contract. Contracts are issued for five years and can be extended by the purchaser for additional five-year periods if so desired. Questions and Answers on the Procedures.

The goals developed by the Ouachita National Forest for administration of the quartz mineral resource in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, are:

To meet the stated intentions of the Section 323 of P.L. 100-446.
To provide effective and efficient access to the quartz mineral estate on the Ouachita National Forest.
To provide the mining public with local one-stop service.
To administer an uncomplicated revenue generating program and provide a fair revenue return.
To encourage diligent exploration and development of the mineral resource on the Ouachita National Forest.
To insure that opportunities to access the mineral estate are not limited for the small business miners.
To provide access to as much of the Ouachita National Forest as is possible for the purpose of exploring for and developing the quartz mineral estate.

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3. Locatable Minerals: Mining Claims on Public Domain Lands

The authority for hardrock exploration and mining for locatable metallic and other minerals on public domain status lands stems from the General Mining Law of 1872 (17 Stat. 91, as amended). Under that authority, a person (referred to as the claimant) must physically locate a mining claim on the ground, file a location notice with the County Recorder's Office in the county which the claim is located and also file the location notice with the USDI Bureau of Land Management (BLM) accompanied by the appropriate filing fee. To keep the location current, the claimant must file an affidavit of annual assessment work or notice of intent to hold, accompanied by the required annual filing fee, with the same county and the BLM offices each year. The most common class of mining claims on the Ouachita National Forest are the lode claims which are 600 feet by 1500 feet in size and encompass 20 acres. No Federal revenues are generated from mining claim operations, consequently, there is no return to the state from this program.

No mining related activity can begin until approved by the District Ranger. When an operating proposal is received by the District Ranger, the Ranger will then conduct an evaluation of the proposal, environmental analysis, cultural resource survey, and threatened and endangered species habitat evaluations. The Ranger will also develop site specific reclamation plans and require the submission of a reclamation bond. These evaluations ensure that operations will meet environmental protection standards, which include those for air and water as prescribed by Federal and State laws and regulations. In addition, they must be completed before final approval to begin any mining related activity can be granted by the District Ranger to the operator.

All surface disturbing mining related activities on Forest Service administered public domain lands that are open to mineral entry must take place in accordance with Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 228-A. The Federal Regulations governing location and recordation of mining claims, nature and classes of mining claims, and annual assessment work, are found in Title 43 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 3830, 3840 and 3850.

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The Ouachita Forest Supervisor's Office provides public handouts and full information on the regulations, details and procedures involved in locating and filing mining claims and on developing operating proposals with the District Ranger. This office provides appropriate mining claim location notice forms and operating proposal forms to assist the operator. The local Ouachita National Forest District Ranger also is available to directly assist the claimant in developing all proposals for mining claim operations on the Forest. Access to lands open to operations under the 1872 Mining Law that are not withdrawn from locatable mineral entry do not vary by Forest Plan Alternative.

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Marking a Mining Claim Boundary

Title 43 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 3841.4 (43 CFR 3841.4) contains the mining claim location regulations for Lode mining claims. Lode claims are configured to maximum dimensions of 600' x 1500' with the long center axis of the claim alligned along the strike of the vein trend (dashed line in the below graphic). Claim corners are located 300' on either side of the center of the vein and the end lines must be parallel.

[graphic] Drawing of a typical mining claim boundry

The claim boundary must be clearly marked. Destruction of trees and other natural features should not be necessary in marking a claim boundary. However, if the claimant feels it is necessary, the activity must first be approved by the Forest Service. It is recommended that at least a 4" post exposed at least 4 feet out of the ground be used at each claim corner. Suggested post could be white 4" PVC plastic pipe, 4"x4" treated wood post or fence post, or possibly metal fence post, brightly painted.

The Mining Claim Location Notice was developed by the Ouachita National Forest as a public handout designed only to assist interested persons who desire to file a mining claim location notice. It can be electonically copied and printed to reproduce a reasonable faxsimile of the original. There is no required form for filing mining claims located in Arkansas. This form format is simply to help interested persons provide the information required for filing with State and Federal offices. It is the claimant's responsibility to be familiar with and follow applicable State and Federal laws and regulations pertaining to locating and filing mining claims.

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4. Leasable Minerals: Hardrock Minerals on Acquired Lands

The authority for hardrock exploration and mining of leasable varieties of metallic and other uncommon minerals on acquired status lands stems primarily from the Mineral Leasing Act for Acquired Lands (August 7, 1947; 61 Stat 913 as amended). Under that authority, a person must make application to the USDI, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for a prospecting permit for the acquired status lands he is interested in exploring. Currently on the Ouachita National Forest, there are seven BLM issued leases for quartz, one lease for wavellite and one lease for barite. In addition, there are 10 BLM issued prospecting permits primarily for quartz. Twenty-five percent of the Federal royalties raised under this program are returned to the State.

Quartz on the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas now comes under the Forest Service saleable minerals program. Applications for BLM issued prospecting permits and leases for minerals, other than quartz in Arkansas, on acquired status Forest lands must be accompanied by a filing fee and annual rental fee and submitted to:

For National Forest Lands in Arkansas: USDI, Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States Office; Springfield, Virginia.

BLM Jackson Field Office, Jackson, Mississippi.

For National Forest Lands in Oklahoma: USDI, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Office; Santa Fe, New Mexico.

BLM Oklahoma Field Office, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Copies of the BLM prospecting permit application form can be obtained directly from the BLM.

The BLM consults with the USDA, Forest Service on applications concerning Ouachita National Forest acquired status lands. The Forest Service can consent or deny permission to issue the permit. This is done through the NEPA process and involves public review and comment. Where consent is submitted by the Forest Service to the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service will attach standard and special stipulations as needed to control operations where sensitive other resource concerns are identified. Before the permit is finally issued, the BLM will require that the operator submit the required minimum $1,000 reclamation bond. Separate from the permit, the operator must submit an operating proposal to the BLM for both BLM and Forest Service review and approval. The Forest Service conducts site-specific analysis for operating proposals prior to consenting to the BLM. Final approval of all mining related operations is made by the BLM. Under the prospecting permit, minerals may only be explored for and not removed and sold.

If during the prospecting permit phase, enough mineral is discovered to warrant developing a mine, the permittee may apply for a lease. The BLM will evaluate the prospect to determine if mining is feasible or whether more exploration is needed. If the lease is issued by the BLM, then the minerals discovered during the prospecting permit phase may be removed and sold. Before the lease is issued, the BLM again gives the Forest Service the opportunity to comment. Additional lease stipulations can be applied, particularly if new concerns have risen since the commencement of prospecting permit operations. The rental rate for an issued lease is increased to $1 per acre and a royalty fee set by the BLM is assessed against all mineral removed and sold under the Lease. After the lease is issued, the operator then submits an operating proposal to the BLM for both BLM and Forest Service review and approval. The Forest Service conducts site-specific analysis for lease operating proposals prior to consenting to the BLM. Final approval of all mining related operations is made by the BLM. The minimum reclamation bond required to be submitted to the BLM is $5,000. The BLM verifies the adequacy of the reclamation bond amount with the Forest Service; consequently, bonds will exceed minimum amounts if anticipated impacts will cost more than the minimum to reclaim.

Also, for hardrock minerals on acquired status lands, if the USDI, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) determines that the lands of interest contain a known deposit and do not need to be explored under a prospecting permit, that agency has the option to reject any prospecting permit applications and put those lands up for competitive bid. The highest bidder would then obtain a competitive lease that would be structured similar to the noncompetitive lease issued after a prospecting permit, with the important distinction that through the competitive process additional revenue is raised through the competitive process.

In both the prospecting permit and lease operating phases, the Bureau of Land Management is responsible for conducting routine compliance inspections. The Forest Service also monitors BLM authorized operations on the Forest and keeps the BLM informed of operating conditions.

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5. Leasable Minerals: Gas and Oil (energy related minerals)

The authority for energy minerals exploration and mining of leasable fossil fuel minerals such as gas, oil and coal minerals on acquired status and on public domain status lands stems from the Mineral Leasing Act for Acquired Lands (August 7, 1947; 61 Stat 913 as amended), from the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 (41 Stat 437 as amended; applies to public domain lands), and most recently under new authority of the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act of 1987. The USDI, Bureau of Land Management issues all leases, licenses or permits for exploratory drilling and production of leasable energy minerals. Applications for licenses, permits or leases for leasable minerals on the Ouachita National Forest are forwarded by the Bureau to the Forest Service for consent to the issuance of the license, permit, or lease. If the lands are determined by the Forest Service to be suitable for license, permit or lease, standard and special stipulations (if necessary) to protect the surface resources are identified and forwarded to the BLM. Management direction for leasable minerals as to availability (consent/deny consent to permit or lease), and surface resource protection stipulations are part of the management requirements for all Forest plan alternatives. Fifty percent of the revenue raised from oil and gas leases on public domain status lands is returned to the State, whereas only 25 percent of the revenue raised from oil and gas leases on acquired status lands is returned to the State.

The Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act of 1987 requires that all Federal oil and gas leases be subject to competitive bidding. The auctions will be held periodically by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) based on interest expressed by the oil and gas industry, the public and by government initiative. For leases in Arkansas, the BLM Eastern States Office will conduct the auctions, whereas lease auctions in Oklahoma are conducted by the BLM New Mexico State Office. The general leasing procedure begins with the BLM receiving expressions of interest from the public for specific lands. These are sent by the BLM to the Forest Service Regional Office in Atlanta, along with a listing of expired/terminated leases and asks for consent to lease on all available lands in the general area (may be on a township by township basis). The Forest Service may also recommend lands for inclusion in the sale. The Forest Service Regional Office sends this listing to the Ouachita National Forest for the consent to lease decision and for any special lease development stipulations. The Ouachita National Forest gives the Regional Office consent on those lands open and suitable for leasing along with any special operating stipulations to be attached to the lease. The consent and the stipulations are forwarded to the BLM and are collated and published for the upcoming sale. Forty-five days prior to the lease auction, a notice of the sale is posted in the affected Forest Service and BLM offices. At the sale, each lease tract is offered in an auction with oral bidding. The minimum bid is $2.00/acre. Those parcels receiving either no bid or a bid less than the minimum will be made available noncompetitively (over-the-counter) within 30 days of the auction for a period of two years. The primary term of a competitive lease is five years while that of a noncompetitive lease is 10 years. Either type of lease can be extended beyond the primary term by active production of commercial quantities of oil and/or gas.

Once a Federal oil and gas lease is issued, the lessee has the right to develop the petroleum resource subject to the stipulations attached to the lease. The first logical step in development is geophysical exploration which attempts to locate subsurface hydrocarbon structures and traps. Lines of seismic traverse (up to 10's of miles) may be run in grid, parallel, or criss-cross configurations. The operator must contact the Forest and give the location, timing and geophysical method (shot hole, vibroseis, magneto-telluric, etc.) to be used. The Forest will analyze the proposed action and include a list of operating stipulations to mitigate any surface impacts. No fee will be charged if the entire survey is restricted to the land leased to the operator. If part of the survey extends onto unleased land or tracts leased to another party, then the Forest will charge a use fee. A bond will also be required to insure compliance with the permit stipulations.

If interpretation of the geophysical data locates a promising area, then the lessee or his/her operator may file an application for permit to drill (APD). Under the requirements of Onshore Order #1, the operator stakes the proposed drilling site on the lease and submits a drilling and surface use plan. The BLM, Forest and lessee/operator meet at the location to determine if any site specific operating requirements over and above those in the lease need to be included in the APD. Once the drilling plan is received, the Forest in conjunction with the BLM makes an environmental assessment of the operation and identifies any special stipulations to be included in the drilling permit. Prior to issuing the APD, the lessee/operator must post a bond to insure compliance with the lease and permit stipulations. Notice of an APD must be posted in the affected Forest Service and BLM offices at least 30 days prior to approval.

Should the drilling encounter commercial quantities of oil and/or gas, then the Forest would require reclamation of that part of the drill pad and reserve pit no longer needed for production activities. Additional special use permits may need to be issued for ancillary facilities (i.e., pipelines, oil storage tanks, oil/water separators, etc.). If the drilling fails to discover commercial oil or gas, the well is termed a dry hole and the site is reclaimed according to the stipulations in the APD. Only where the Forest agrees that the site is adequately rehabilitated will the lessee/operator's bond be released. No leases will be issued to a person or company not in compliance with reclamation requirements on existing leases.

1989 Data: The Ouachita National Forest has about 475 oil and gas leases covering approximately 350,000 acres. This comprises about 20 percent of the lands suitable for lease on the Forest. Leases are concentrated in the northern half of the Forest. Exploration and leasing trends on the Forest for gas and oil increased significantly in 1989. Three of the oil and gas lease sales held in 1989 resulted in the sale of 92 leases encompassing more than 70,000 acres of Forest lands in the northern portions of the Fourche and Cold Springs ranger districts in Arkansas and on the Choctaw and Kiamichi districts in Oklahoma. More than $28,500,000 was raised from bonus bids in these three sales alone. Facts concerning the sales are as follows:
- April 1989: 46 leases on 23,047 acres for total $17,200,000 in bonus bids (AR).
- August 1989: 32 leases on 29,415 acres for total $ 6,300,000 in bonus bids (AR).
- October 1989: 14 leases on 18,052 acres for $4,900,000 in bonus bids (OK).

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6. Geophysical Exploration Permits

Geophysical exploration prospecting permits are issued by the Forest Service for initial geophysical prospecting such as seismic operations for oil and gas and geologic investigations for hardrock minerals. Permits are for surface use only and grant the permittees no rights to any minerals discovered. The District Ranger is responsible for issuing the permit. Fees are charged per hole or cluster, or charged per mile, depending on the nature of the proposed activity. Current fees are addressed in Chapter 2860 of the Forest Service Manual. (In 1989, the Ouachita National Forest issued 34 geophysical exploration permits for 232 miles of seismic line. Revenue raised for this program was $224,464. Twenty-five percent of the revenue raised is returned to the State).

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7. Rockhounding and Mineral Collecting Activities

LINK TO ROCKHOUNDING RULES PAGE

 

Rockhounding and mineral specimen collecting on the Ouachita National Forest is considered to be hobby or personal activity involving the occasional removal of small amounts of material by hand from surface exposures of rock and quartz veins. Such material obtained in this manner should be for personal use only and cannot be sold. Rockhounding under this condition does not include excavating or any kind of digging to expose quartz crystal bearing veins. The removal of material from lands already under mineral contract, claim, permit or lease, must be with the permission of the operator. Consequently, under these conditions there is considered to be no adverse environmental impacts from rockhounding activities on the Ouachita National Forest. However, if persons and groups are interested in pursuing a short-term organized recreational rock collecting activity on the Forest that may result in access and/or excavation impacts, they can submit their proposal in writing to the District Ranger for consideration. Any such activity approved by the District Ranger may require the submission of a reclamation bond. LINK TO ROCKHOUNDING RULES PAGE

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Ouachita National Forest Quartz Rockhounding Policy

Within the Ouachita National Forest boundary there are many good mineral collecting localities on both Forest lands and adjacent private lands. The mineral in this area of primary interest to collectors is quartz crystal. The Federal mining laws do not distinguish between mining related activities conducted primarily for recreational versus commercial purposes; consequently, the two interests often overlap in many areas on the Forest. The Forest Service has the authority to develop mineral collecting areas and issue rockhounding permits. The Forest has two developed quartz crystal collecting areas: Crystal Vista on the Womble Ranger District near Mount Ida, Arkansas, and Crystal Mountain on the Jessieville-Winona Ranger District, midway between Jessieville and Perryville, Arkansas. They are not active mine sites. There is no fee to collect quartz from these sites. For more information on Crystal Vista, contact the Womble Ranger District at Telephone 870-867-2101, and for Crystal Mountain, contact the Jessieville-Winona Ranger District at Telephone 501-984-5313. There are commercial crystal mines in the area that charge a daily fee for digging and removal of quartz. For the serious quartz rockhound, the commercial mines will likely provide better collecting opportunities simply because they are constantly opening new sources of crystal, increasing the potential for finding nice quality pieces. LINK TO ROCKHOUNDING RULES PAGE

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Ouachita National Forest Goldpanning Policy

Neither Arkansas nor Oklahoma are considered to be historic gold producing states. Regardless, many folks and companies in past years have extensively prospected for precious metals like gold and silver. Today, folks interested in the hobby and art of panning and exploring for precious metals will often ask to hone their skills in some of the streams of the Ouachita and Ozark National Forests. Visit the Rockhounding Rules page for information: LINK TO ROCKHOUNDING RULES PAGE

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8. Minerals Access

Generally, access needs for wheeled or track vehicles necessary to an exploration or mining operation, can generally be met by use of established forest roads. Where additional access is needed, cross country (overland) access is often sufficient in lieu of new road construction. Cross country access is generally limited to exploration and prospecting activities where travel by such method is brief and has limited surface impact. Stream and drainage crossings are done under conditions that insure adequate protection of banks and watercourses. Where new road construction is necessary to meet access needs, such construction should be in accordance with applicable Forest Service standards. The public has right of access on and across mining claims, mineral contracts, permits and leases. However, the public should take every effort to avoid active mining areas because of the obvious hazards that are typically associated with such activities

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[photo] a man working in a quartz mine

Laws and Policy

Following are some of the primary laws, regulations and policies which regulate minerals activities on the Ouachita National Forest.

Section 323 of Public Law 100-446, enacted September 27, 1988, directs the Forest Service to administer quartz on the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas as a "Salable" mineral by the Forest Service, under Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 228 "C". It further provides that one half of the revenues generated by the Forest Service are to be returned back to State of Arkansas specifically for use in county school and road programs.

The Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act of 1987 (PL 100-203) provides for the competitive leasing of lands through oral bidding, $2.00 per acre minimum acceptable bids, quarterly lease sales, public notice of lease sales 45 days prior to auction and requirement that the Secretary of Agriculture not object to National Forest lands offered for lease auction.


The National Materials and Minerals Policy Research and Development Act of 1980 (94 Stat. 2305; 30 USC 1601-1605) states the current policy of the Federal government regarding oil and gas exploration and development. This Act states that private enterprise is to be encouraged to develop domestic mineral resources and that Federal agencies are to facilitate availability and development of domestic resources. It also emphasizes prompt reclamation of disturbed lands.


The Energy Security Act of 1980, Section 262 (42 USC 8855) directs the Forest Service to proceed in making recommendations to the BLM regarding leasing proposals on National Forest Systems lands. Applications for geophysical survey permits must also be processed promptly. The Forest Service may not wait for the Forest Land and Resource Management Plans to be completed before acting upon applications for oil and gas leases.

The Clean Air Act (91 Stat. 685; 42 USC 7401 et. seq.), provides that each state is responsible for ensuring the achievement and maintenance of air quality standards within its borders.
The Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended by the Clean Water Act in 1977 (33 USC 1251 et. seq.) establishes national standards to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation's waters.

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 USC 1714) authorizes the Secretary of the Department of the Interior to withdraw public lands from entry under the mineral leasing laws. However, on withdrawals of 5,000 acres or more in size, the Secretary must notify both Houses of Congress of the withdrawal; Congress then has 90 days to nullify that action. This Act also directs that when the Secretary of Interior determines, or when the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs of either the House of Representatives or the Senate notifies the Secretary that an emergency situation exists and that extraordinary measures must be taken to preserve values that would otherwise be lost, he or she shall immediately make a withdrawal. Such an emergency withdrawal lasts for a period "not to exceed three years." Sec. 314 requires the filing of mining claims and annual assessment work with the USDI Bureau of Land Management (The Supreme Court has rendered a decision upholding the constitutionality of this section).

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-205; 16 USC 1531, et.seq.) as amended, requires special protection and management for threatened and endangered species on Federal lands. The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), U.S. Department of the Interior, is responsible for the administration of this Act. Federal agencies proposing an action or processing an action by a third party which "may affect" the existence of identified species must consult with FWS to determine if the proposed action will jeopardize the continued existence of those species.

The Wilderness Act of 1964 (78 Stat. 890; 16 USC 1131-1136) establishes a National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) made up of lands administered by the Forest Service (Department of Agriculture) and the Department of the Interior. Section 2 (a) of the Act states that wilderness areas "...shall be administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness..."

The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of October 2, 1968 (82 Stat. 906, as amended;16 USC 1271-1287) declares it to be the "policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation...shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations." In August of 1979, President Jimmy Carter issued a directive requiring each Federal Agency to "...take care to avoid or mitigate adverse effects on rivers identified in the Nationwide Inventory of Potential Wild and Scenic Rivers."

The Mineral Lands Leasing Act of 1920 (40 Stat. 437; 30 USC 181-287) states that oil and gas, coal, potassium, sodium, phosphate, sulphur, in New Mexico and Louisiana, native asphalt, bituminous rock and oil shale deposits in National Forest System lands are subject to disposition by leasing. This Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to issue leases to individuals and organizations providing for the exclusive right to explore for and develop mineral resources within the lands covered by the lease.

The Organic Act of 1897 (16 USC 475), which provided for the administration of National Forests, and the Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act of 1960 (16 USC 528) establishes the legal mandate that the National Forests are to be administered for outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and wildlife and fish purposes. The Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act further states that management of National Forest System lands shall not affect the use or administration of the mineral resources in these lands.

The General Mining Law of May 10, 1872, authorizes locations of mining claims on public domain lands, sets the conditions for the dimensions of the claims, and establishes the procedures for holding mining claims.

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[photo] excavator at work

Hardrock Operating Scenario

Hardrock: Prospecting: reconnaissance, aerial observations, geochemistry, soil sampling, Usually the work of the prospector or independent geologist. Includes ground and removal of small amounts of rock samples with hand tools. Preliminary mineral reconnaissance is also referred to as minerals exploration. During this phase of minerals related activities, mining claims typically would be located on public domain status National Forest lands that are open to mineral entry, and permits would be applied for on acquired status National Forest lands. Field activities that are limited to non surface impacting prospecting and exploration methods generally do not require Forest Service review and approval.

Hardrock Exploration: The selection of an area for detailed exploration occurs after the prospecting stage. In the exploration stage, an intensive geological, geochemical, and geophysical survey is made to determine the size, shape, and quality of the mineral occurrance. Surveys may include trenches, pits, core drilling, underground exploration of existing mines and adits, bulk sampling, pilot testing of mineral for appropriate milling procedures, and feasibility studies to determine the project potential for continuing with additional exploration or to move to the mining stage. Low level exploration activities may simply be an extension of the prospecting phase, involving cross-country and/or helicopter access for equipment needed for preliminary drilling and trenching purposes. Typically, higher level exploration activities involve heavy equipment such as backhoes for trenching, dozers for construction of new exploration access routes and construction of drill pad sites, and drilling vehicles. Sites are normally occupied for short periods of time (often two to four weeks) and specifically for exploration purposes, and consequent surface impacts are generally very low. Where typical exploration activities take place, extensive restoration practices are generally not necessary. Explosives may be used in connection with these activities on a limited basis. Exploration activities will require Forest Service NEPA review and approval. Quartz crystal mining related activities typically accomplished in this stage involve delineation of the preferred "ore zone" based on the surface expression of quartz crystal as a preliminary indicator of quality and quantity, and backhoe trenching across quartz veins to determine the nature of the veins and consistency of crystal pockets within them.

Hardrock Mining Development and Production: If the outcome of a good exploration program reveals the presence of a comercially viable ore deposit, then the next step is to progress to the development stage. The decision to mine the deposit is based on the success of the exploration program. Prior to development, the choice of the mining method will have been made. In the development stage the deposit is developed in preparation to mine: additional drilling and trenching may take place, adits are driven in underground operations, overburden is removed in surface operations, ore is blocked out through trenching and drilling efforts. If necessary, outside financing is typically sought during this phase when the exploration has proven the presence of the ore body. Actual removal and milling of the ore occurs in the production stage. Operations in the development and production phases will require Forest Service NEPA review and approval. Due to the nature of quartz crystal deposits, small scale quartz crystal mining related operations typically is an extension of exploration activities. Sites are occupied, often intermittently, for longer periods of time (months to years) for the purpose of removing a specific mineral or mineral group. The actual amount of disturbed area at any given time is very small because reclamation generally occurs at a pace commensuarate with mining. Typically, impacted sites are 1/4 to 1/2 acre in size and the surface impacts are generally limited and easily monitored and controlled in small scale mining related activities. Moderate scale quartz crystal mining related operations typically impact from 1 to 5 acres. While moderate scale operations encompass more land area, the impacts are generally minimal off site and easily mitigated through standard regulatory controls. Quartz crystal mining related activities typically accomplished in this stage involve: 1. Removal of the overburden and vegetation from work areas around the identified ore zone. This is typically accomplished with a bulldozer for larger operations and with the backhoe for smaller operations. Explosives may also be used in operations encountering harder rock; 2. Backhoe is used to excavate and expose the crystal pockets and typically results in a surface open pit operation (actual mining of the crystal is done by hand and with hand tools); 3. Quartz crystal is typically cleaned and processed off the site (off Forest).

Hardrock Reclamation: Full site reclamation is required when any mining related operation is completed. In addition, reclamation commensurate with active mining is required on those portions of an operating area that are no longer utilized. Routine compliance inspections conducted by the Forest Service also helps to insure that reclamation measures addressed in the approval process will be effective when the operation is completed. In mining claim cases, the Forest Service District Ranger is responsible to insure that the reclamation is completed. A reclamation bond is collected from the operator prior to commencement of mining, and it may be used by the Forest Service to complete the reclamation if the operator fails to do so. The reclamation bond amount is set by the District Ranger and based on the projected reclamation cost to the Forest Service if the operator abandons the operation prior to completing the reclamation. In BLM issued prospecting permit and lease cases, the Bureau of Land Management is responsible to insure thatreclamation is completed. The Forest Service as the surface management agency works with the Bureau of Land Management to insure that appropriate reclamation measures are conducted. The Bureau of Land Management has a set minimum reclamation bond amount of $1000 for prospecting permits and $5000 for leases. However, the actual bond amount may exceed this and generally depends on the recommendations of the Forest Service. In any case, the reclamation bond will be returned to the operator if the operator completes the reclamation work to the satisfaction of the Forest Service. Reclamation criteria includes the following: a. Final configuation of the disturbed area. b. Stabilization of the ground. c. Management of the topsoil and addition of appropriate fertilizers. d. Revegetation with prescribed seed mixtures. e. Air, water, and visual quality standards. f. Compliance inpection intervals and bond amounts. g. Conditions for bond release.

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[photo] Forest Service employees inspecting an oil well

Oil and Gas Operating Scenario

Oil and Gas: Geophysical Exploration, General

PLEASE NOTE: Much of this information was orignally borrowed from various sources and drafted in the early 1990's. It is retained here simply to provide an overview of operating structures and scenarios. Since the original draft there have been important technological changes in the exploration and drilling operations conducted by oil and gas operators. Many of of these new innovations and technologies result in far less surface impact when employed.

Information pertaining to Leasing, and exploration and drilling can be obtained directly from the USDI Bureau of Land Management.

For Ozark/St. Francis and Ouachita National Forests Lands in Arkansas: USDI, Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States Office; Springfield, Virginia.

For Ouachita National Forest Lands in Oklahoma: USDI, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Office; Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Hydrocarbons occur in association with water in porous sedimentary rocks such as sandstone. Since petroleum and natural gas are less dense than water, they rise until trapped by a barrier, usually an impermeable rock layer. The likelihood of the presence of oil and gas is often determined by geological prospecting. Such prospecting can be done on the ground, where off-road vehicle travel may be necessary, or by aerial survey. Photographs from orbiting satellities have also been used to identify surface structure. Subsurface geology is not always accurately indicated by surface outcroppings. To verify surface indicators and to map the subsurface structures, geophysical exploration is used. An issued oil and gas lease is not required for geophysical exploration to occur; it may be permitted prior to or subsequent to leasing. Exploration activities may occur across the same area many times and continue over a period of years. There are three types of geophysical exploration -- 1. gravitational field, 2. magnetic field, and 3. seismic characteristics. These are discussed as follows:

1. Gravitational prospecting detects variations in gravitational attraction caused by the differences in the density of various types of rock.

2. Magnetic prospecting often replaces or is used to supplement gravitational work. Magnetic methods reveal buried structures (likely to yield oil and gas) because such structures show a strong magnetic response. The only surface disturbance is that caused by the vehicle used to transport gravitational and magnetic prospecting equipment.

3. Seismic prospecting is the most popular geophysical method on the Ouachita National Forest since it gives the most reliable and reproducible results. Generally, geophysical seismic lines are run on wide spacing intervals and are narrowed and concentrated in smaller geographic areas as the target area is better defined. A separate permit is issued by the Forest for each geophysical request, and it will include specific mitigating measures for public safety warnings, wildlife concerns, property protection (fences, wells, buried utility lines, etc.), and site reclamation.
There are a number of geophysical exploration methods. The least impactive include gravity and magnetic surveys and consist of taking readings at regular intervals across the land from either hand held instruments, ground vehicles, or aircraft. No actual surface disturbance in involved unless off-road vehicle travel is used to reach survey points. These methods are used to get subsurface information over a large area. If promising structures are found, other exploration techniques are then used to further define and locate possible traps and structures containing hydrocarbons. One of these, "vibroseis", uses large trucks equipped with metal plates which are lowered from beneath each vehicle to the ground. With the entire weight of the truck resting on the plate, a hydrolic system vibrates the plate which transfers the energy into the ground to be picked up by the seismic detectors (geophones) arrayed along the line of survey. An instrument truck equipped with a seismograph records the seismic information. From two to eight trucks are used in tandem. Unless the topography is relatively flat and open, the trucks are restricted to existing roads and trails. Little resource disturbance occurs with this type of geophysical exploration. Another way to impart energy into the ground for the seismograph to record is the use of explosives. This can be accomplished by setting off charges in a hole or on the surface. Conventional seismic exploration drills 4-inch diameter holes to depths of 50-200 feet. An explosive is placed in each hole and detonated with the resulting shock waves recorded by geophones and passed on to the seismograph. The shot holes are made using a truck mounted drill capable of driving across country. Although no roads are usually built to accomodate these vehicles, they can create trails which result in some soil compaction and movement and vegetation loss. All shot holes are required to be pluged on the Forest. Surface charge seismic involves placing explosive charges on the ground or above ground attached to wooden stakes some three feet high. Once the charges are detonated, geophones strung along the line of survey pick up the vibrations and channel them to the seismograph for recording. Most work is accomplished by hand labor with vehicle access needed only for the intrument truck. Resource impacts include mowing down of the grass and underbrush within the point of explosive effects. Usually, this is a5-foot circle around the point of detonation, but it varies depending of the size of the charge. Leaves will also be stripped off of trees within this zone. The noise of the explosions will cause some wildlife displacement and can be heard by people in the area. In difficult terrain, both explosive methods may be done using helicopters to ferry people, materials, and instruments to the detonation points along the lines of survey. This eliminates surface impacts resulting from vehicles, but it adds to the noise factor. The shock waves, initiated by using a thumper/vibrator on the surface, or explosives in the bedrock, travel through or are reflected from various rock layers and are received by shock sensor equipment. The sensors are connected to a truck or portable station where the shock waves are recorded. The time required for shock waves to travel through the rock formations yields useful information. The most common seismic prospecting is surface detonations. Two-to-five pound explosive charges are detonated in clusters (generally 25 two-pound charges or 10 five-pound charges). Geophones are used to "hear" the seismic reflections and are strung out in long lines extending over the survey area. Each geophone picks up the signals and they are recorded on sensitized paper and on magnetic tape.

Oil and Gas: Geophysical Exploration, Application

All individuals and organizations such as the lessee, a geophysical contractor, a geochemical contractor, or a government agency wishing to conduct exploration activities on National Forest System lands must submit an application for a permit to the appropriate District Ranger responsible for the Forest lands upon which the activity is to take place. This application may take several forms, but it must contain sufficient information relating to the location and nature of the proposed operations to allow the Forest Service issuing office to properly evaluate the them.

Oil and Gas: Geophysical Exploration, Analysis and Decision Making

An environmental analysis is conducted on exploration proposals prior to permit approval and permit issuance in accordance with the provisions of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 1500 to 1508 (Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act). The appropriate level of analysis and type of NEPA documentation will be based on the nature and scope of individual proposals. Records compiled during the analysis must as a minimum be retained in the permit file(s) maintained at the Ranger District office administering the permit as delegated in FSM 2821.04. The analysis identifies the reasonable and necessary mitigation (stipulations) which, if approved, would be attached to the prospecting permit (Form FS-2800-1). On existing issued leases, the lessee has the right to explore his leasehold. As most geophysical or geochemical survey methods constitute a temporary or casual use of the surface, any surface occupancy provisions of the lease terms do not directly apply to the terms and conditions of the prospecting permit. However, the surface resource or use concerns identified in the leasing analysis may, depending upon the nature of the exploration survey proposed, identify possible mitigation needs or management concerns. If the exploration proposal results in surface impacts requiring reclamation, clean-up, shot-hole plugging, or other resource damage, an acceptable reclamation performance bond is required prior to permit issuance. The responsible Forest official ascertains if the applicant has an acceptable bond or cash deposit in lieu of bond for the proposed survey, or if the applicant has a Region-wide blanket bond on-file with the Regional Office in accordance with the provisions of FSM 6506.82.

Oil and Gas: Exploratory Drilling

When sufficient information is obtained by industry on the geologic resource, a "drill/no drill" decision is made. Geological and geophysical investigations provide valuable information on the potential for the occurrence of an oil and gas field. Based on this information, lands are leased or cooperative agreements are signed with adjacent lessees (on leased lands) to establish control over the lands within the potential field. Oil and gas operations are discussed for three phases: exploratory drilling, field development, and abandonment and reclamation. These phases are not clear cut operational phases with distinct starting and ending points. This is especially true for distinguishing between exploration and field development. Frequently, a decision to develop a field cannot be made based on the results of a single, successful well. Additional exploratory wells may be needed for industry to make a decision on whether to develop the field. These additional wells can also provide meaningful information for land managers to help analyze potential impacts of field development and to make decisions based on more accurate information. In reality, few leases ever have geophysical exploration, much less drilling, occur on them. On average, about 90 percent of wells drilled are dry holes.

Before an exploratory (wildcat) well is drilled, the company organizing the drilling venture establishes a controlling interest in leases for all lands in and adjacent to the potential field area. Unitization is the uniting of all leases into a joint venture to operate under a cooperative or unit plan. Once the unit agreement is approved, all operations within the unit area are administered as if there were a single lease (43 CFR 3180).

Oil and gas leases are issued with stipulations to protect other resources. These stipulations authorize federal agencies to restrict oil and gas activities on the lease under certain conditions. The use of appropriate discretion, on a case-by-case basis, to enforce restrictions contained in the lease is the responsibility of the federal agencies. Exceptions to lease stipulations may be approved for a site-specific proposal based on an analysis of the proposal and the need for the lease stipulation to be enforced. If a stipulation is not needed to protect the resource for which it was designed, the stipulation may not be enforced because the restriction serves no purpose in and of itself. However, the inability of the leaseholder to conduct operations within the terms of the lease may be grounds for denial or delay of a particular proposal. The level of analysis and documentation associated with the approval of an exception to a lease stipulation varies. Generally, an exception would be approved if it can be demonstrated that the impacts of a proposed action can be acceptably mitigated or that the impacts to the resource protected by the stipulation would be similar whether or not the exception were approved.
Industry's decision on whether to develop the field is essentially an economic one. This decision depends, at least in part, on the type of hydrocarbon present, i.e., oil or gas, the size and productivity of the geologic structure and formation, the price of oil or gas, and marketability. In some cases, a discovery may not be fully developed although production may take place to recoup some of the costs of exploration. The initial wildcat (exploratory) well is authorized under an Application for a Permit to Drill (APD). Procedures for submittal of an APD are contained in "Onshore Oil and Gas Order No. 1" issued under Title 43 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 3164, by the USDI, Bureau of Land Management. After this well is completed, subsequent activities may include additional exploratory or confirmation wells to locate and confirm the presence of an oil and gas reservoir. Once the presence of such a reservoir is confirmed, industry may decide to pursue development of the reservoir (field) to fully extract the resource. When sufficient development wells are completed, the production phase to extract, collect, and transport the resource to the marketplace is initiated to get a return on the investment. Depending upon reservoir characteristics which affect the flow of oil and gas to the wellhead, additional development wells are drilled to extract the oil and gas.

To 1989, 5 oil and gas wells have been drilled on the Ouachita National Forest (T2N R32W Secs. 3&8, T3N R27W Sec. 1, T4S R25W Sec. 25, T5N R22W Sec. 32) and hydrocarbon discoveries reported from several of these wells. However, none were producers and consequently all have been plugged and reclaimed. Oil and gas exploration on the Forest as specified in the approved APD may include road construction, clearing all vegetation from a 1 to 3 acre pad site for shallow wells and from 4 to 6 acre pad site for deeper wells, leveling and shaping of the drill pad site, and transportation and set-up of the drilling equipment (drill rig, mud pumps, generators, pipe racks, toolhouse, and other facilities). Surface disturbance resulting from road and pad construction impacts soil, vegetation, and water resources. Topsoil is stripped and stockpiled for later use in site rehabilitation, but the associated vegetation and vegetative site productivity is lost until then. Some erosion of the exposed surface and sedimentation of streams may result. Wildlife and livestock will be displace to some extent by the noise and activity at the well location. Air quality reduction from dust will occur locally along unsurfaced roads. If the well is drilled in a previously undeveloped area, this may change the opportunity for dispersed non-motorized recreation to motorized because of the new road.

Approximately 5,000 to 15,000 gallons of water a day may be needed for mixing drilling mud, cleaning equipment, and cooling engines. Water sources may be from wells or streams. Drilling depths on the Forest range from 3,000 feet to 17,000 feet. Transporting and setting up a drill rig capable of reaching the deepest zones requires an access road sufficient to handle the 30 to 40 semi-trucks and trailers of heavy equipment and a daily traffic of 20 to 30 vehicles. A level drill pad of, generally 1 to 4 acres in size, is needed to set up and operate the rig. Usually, the dimensions of a pad measure 380 by 250 feet, but this may be modified based on the natural contours of the land and the other resource values involved. All of the pad must be placed on a "cut" rather than "fill" surface for reasons of safety and rig stability. Once the rig is set up, drilling usually takes place on a 24-hours/day, seven days/week basis. Additional standards are contained in "Surface Operating Standards for Oil and Gas Exploration and Development" prepared jointly by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

Approximately 30 personnel are needed in drilling a typical well. Drilling may take from 2 to 18 months to complete depending on the depth to be drilled. If no economic quantities of gas or oil are found it is considered a dry hole and the facilities are removed and the well pad is reclaimed as described under "Abandonment and Reclamation". The access road is also reclaimed unless it is needed for other purposes in conformance with the Forest Plan.

See the USDI Bureau Of Land Management's "Reasonably Forseeable Development Scenario" for oil and gas drilling and production, further below.

Oil and Gas: Field Development and Production

If a wildcat well is successful or the geologic information gained from the well log warrants additional exploration, additional exploratory wells may be authorized, on a case-by-case basis (prior to field development), to obtain sufficient information about the hydrocarbon reservoir to make plans to develop the field. After completion of these confirmation wells, there should be sufficient information available from the operator to predict the level of future activity. This appraisal includes information as to the extent of the field, initial and fill-in spacing of wells, need for tank batteries and/or pipelines, powerlines, and scheduling of future operations. From this information, an environmental analysis is completed for the potential impacts of the field development and production activities, the need for a transportation plan and utility corridors, and adjustments in the Forest Plan. Before any actual drilling can commence, the operator must have an issued lease and an approved Application for Permit to Drill (APD), both of which must have gone through the NEPA process. As part of the federal approval process any mineral activity is subject to the environmental analysis requirements of NEPA and the implementing regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality. Once an operating plan is submitted, BLM and the USFS would complete an environmental analysis on all aspects of the proposal. As required by NEPA, the environmental review would include a formal process for identifying public and agency concerns regarding a mineral proposal. The environmental analysis would specifically address the potential environmental impacts of the proposal and its alternatives. The environmental analysis would be documented in an EA or an EIS, depending on the scope of the proposal, which would be distributed for public and agency comment as part of the BLM and USFS decision making process. The procedures for drilling development wells are about the same as for exploratory drilling except that there is less subsurface sampling, testing and evaluation. Field development locations are surveyed and a well spacing pattern established by the State with the concurence of the BLM and Forest Service. The spacing of the wells from one another depend on the State's regulations and the type of hydrocarbon sought. Gas wells are usually spaced one per section (640 acres) with oil wells often one per quarter-section (160 acres) or every half-section (320 acres). In developed petroleum fields, there are about two miles of roads per section.

Development of Federal oil and gas resources provides a domestic source of pet- roleum to help offset the import of foreign oil and gas. Foreign imports now make up some 40% of the total U.S. use. The Federal government also receives significant rentals and royalties from leasing and production. States are given 50% of these monies from Public Domain status lands and 25% from lands with acquired status.

Oil and Gas: Abandonment and Reclamation

If the well is a dry hole, the site is recontoured, the topsoil spread over the disturbed area, and seeding with native plants and grasses accomplished. If the well is a producer, that portion of the original pad needed to continue operations will remain unreclaimed for the life of the well (10 to 20 years). Well abandonment requires approval by both the BLM and the Forest Service. Although the approved APD includes a reclamation plan, this plan is reviewed to ensure that it conforms to both the current Forest Plan management direction for the area and the standards and guidelines. Abandonment will be approved when both agencies are satisfied with the reclamation. During the abandonment phase, the reclamation objective established during the approval process is reviewed to determine if reclamation needs have changed. Possibilities may exist for developing a well for fresh water purposes, utilizing improvements, or making wildlife habitat improvements. Reclamation criteria include the following: a. Final configuation of the disturbed area. b. Stabilization of the soil. c. Management of the topsoil and addition of appropriate fertilizers. d. Revegetation with prescribed seed mixtures. e. Air, water, and visual quality standards. f. Compliance inpection intervals and bond amounts. g. Conditions for bond release.

Note: A producing well will generate additional drilling to determine the size and extent of the field. With more producing wells there will be the need for facilities to produce, store, and transport the oil, gas, and water. Associated with this next phase are more roads (some upgraded to all weather travel), utility corridors for pipelines and powerlines, and space for fluid storage tanks and oil/water separators.

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Ground Plan Drawing of a Typical Well Site

(Occupying 450'x550')
(from USDI Bureau of Land Management, Jackson District Office; 1989)[graphic] Drawing of a typical well site


Reasonably Foreseeable Development Scenario for Gas and Oil

This section discusses the reasonably forseeable development of potential gas and oil resources on the Ouachita National Forest. It has been developed by the USDI, Bureau of Land Management Jackson Field Office of the Eastern States Office, for the Ouachita National Forest. This information is divided into:

  1. Development in the Reasonably Foreseeable Future.
  2. Typical Drilling Scenario and Well Design (Ground Plan Drawing of a Typical Well Site).
  3. Cumulative Impact of Projected Future Development

    a.Chart on "Approximate Area Disturbed from Drilling";

    b. Chart on "Approximate Area Disturbed from Production";

    Summaries of the net cumulative disturbance of Drilling and Production.

Information pertaining to Leasing and exploration and drilling can be obtained directly from the USDI Bureau of Land Management.

For Ozark/St. Francis and Ouachita National Forests Lands in Arkansas: USDI, Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States Office; Springfield, Virginia.

For Ouachita National Forest Lands in Oklahoma: USDI, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Office; Santa Fe, New Mexico.

1. Development in the Reasonably Foreseeable Future

This assessment of the development in the reasonably foreseeable future is based on projections over the next 10 to 15 years using available data and professional judgement. This scenario is a baseline scenario. As such the scenario projects development based on the assumption that all areas are open to development under standard lease terms except those areas closed by statute. This scenario is consistent with the prescriptions contained in Alternative H (No Action) in the Draft Supplement to the Final Environmental Impact Statement of Land and Resource Management Plan. Scenarios were also considered for the existing management prescriptions (Alternative M) as well as the preferred alternative (Alternative W) and all other management alternative proposed. However, inrelation to the availability of National Forest lands for oil and gas leasing and the associated lease terms, relatively minor differences were identified between the baseline prescription, the existing management and the other alternatives. Hence, this baseline scenario is presented as a sufficient and applicable projection for all alternatives. The mineral potential assigned in Section 3of ro the production of oil and gas from the federal mineral ownership (FMO) in the Ouachita National Forest conforms to the rating system outlined in the Draft BLM Fluid Minerals Handbook H-1624-1 (DD 9/7/88). This system is designed to remain dynamic. As new data is received it can be used to change the rating. The ratings used have four levels: high, moderate, low and no potential. These are defined as:

High Potential: Geologic structures and formations highly favorable for the accumulation of oil and gas are known to exist, includes areas previously classified as Known Geological Structures (KGS).

Moderate Potential: Many favorable nonproducing geologic structures and formations are present, but not all potentially productive formations have been drilled and tested.

Low Potential: Geologic structures and formations are well-defined, and potentially productive formations have been drilled, tested, and failed toproduce oil and gas.

No Potential: Geologic structures and formations are present, but the potential for oil and gas accumulations does not exist. These areas contain geologic formations that do not meet the present criteria for oil and gas accumulations; that is, there are no source rocks, porosity and permeability have been developed (except for fractures), and no traps are thought to be present.

Little data is available to the federal agencies concerning the structures and reservoir characteristics of potential gas plays in the Ouachita National Forest. Most of the existing data is held confidentially by petroleum companies. The timing of the drilling and the areas receiving the greatest attention is difficult to predict. This is dependent on the oil and natural gas market values; the success rate of wells being drilled and those that will be drilled in the near future; and the perceived impact of the lease stipulations by the petroleum industry.

The Ouachita National Forest has 12 Ranger Districts (RD) -- 3 in Oklahoma and 9 in Arkansas. The three Ranger Districts in Oklahoma are the Choctaw RD and the Kiamichi RD in LeFlore County and the Tiak RD in McCurtain County.

Choctaw RD, Oklahoma: The Choctaw RD is on the north side of the forest. The possibility that this area will be explored and developed in the future is medium to moderately high. The reason for this is that the Choctaw RD is on a geological trend with ongoing activity to the west. The Spiro/Wapanucka zone has been found to be productive south of the Choctaw Fault when it is encountered on the structurally high, hanging wall side of individual thrust fault wedge zones. Discoveries have been made which prove that the depositional trend of reservoir quality Sprio sandstone extended further south than previously thought. In addition to this the Arbuckle Formation has been proven productive near Wilburton, Oklahoma. This zone lies below the thrust sheet and is a fractured porosity reservoir. Since this production was discovered in 1987 there have been 20 wells drilled to the Arbuckle in a 12 township area. This is somewhat more area than that of the Choctaw RD. Generally these wells are targeted for the Sprio/Wapanucka zone as well as the Arbuckle. This play relies heavily on geophysical exploration techniques and each well has to stand on its own merit. It is expected that this play will move east into the Ouachita National Forest. Due to the nature of geophysical exploration, such as time involved, expense, and permitting this movement is expected to be slow. It is however highly likely that commercial quantities of natural gas will be encountered in the Choctaw RD as it lies between the Choctaw Fault and the Winding Stair Fault traces. It is believed by some that the Winding Stair Fault is the limit of potential production to the south.

Kiamichi RD, Oklahoma: The northern part of the Kiamichi RD is still to the north of the Winding Stair Fault and therefore, due to the previously mentioned reasons, has a medium potential for future development. Also, it is very likely that the southern portion will receive some attention if production is found in the northern section. Development will probably be much slower paced than in the Choctaw RD.

Tiak RD, Oklahoma: There is very little production in the vicinity of the Tiak RD. There are, however, a great number of dry holes in the vicinity. For this reason, it is believed that the Tiak RD has medium to low potential for development in the foreseeable future. The fact that production is very shallow, less than 500 feet, indicates that there is a possibility that some exploration will take place.

Arkansas RD's: The nine Ranger Districts in the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas are the Caddo, Cold Springs, Fourche, Jessieville, Mena, Oden, Poteau, Womble, and Winona Ranger Districts. All are considered to have low potential for the production of oil and gas except the Cold Springs, Fourche, and Poteau Districts which were assigned moderate potential. Geophysical data is not available to identify potential traps in the forest in Arkansas. However, an analysis of leasing activity, adjacent fields and conversations with oil and gas employees, both with industry and the State of Arkansas, indicates that three principal plays can be anticipated: The Atokan, Morrowan, and Arbuckle. After petroleum production is established in a field, additional wells will be stepped out. Drilling units contain 640 acres and a fully developed field would have eight to twelve wells within its boundaries. Extending these plays from Oklahoma into Arkansas naturally increases the risk of dry holes. Several wildcats were drilled in southeast Oklahoma south of the basin fairway, but little has been done in Arkansas. Recently, interest has increased in the overthrust belt (frontal thrust zone) as is illustrated by the high bonuses paid during the extensive leasing activity. The prospects receiving the attention at the present time are all located along the north edge of the Ouachita Forest north of the Choctaw Ross Creek Fault complex. These prospects were developed using seismic data with very little well control. None of the wells have penetrated the Arbuckle and the data acquired, down to about 14,000 feet, has not been encouraging. The ARCO Peeler Gap #1-32 drilled in Yell County, Arkansas, was plugged and abandoned at 13,919 feet and did not reassure those hoping for a discovery similar to the field found later at Wilburton Field. Porosity was low and no significant source rocks were noted. Because the hole didn't penetrate the Arbuckle, there is still a chance that a significant gas discovery could occur in the deeper zones, particularly in the Arbuckle.

2. Typical Drilling Scenario and Well Design in the Ouachita NF

To fully evaluate the impacts associated with projected oil and natural gas exploration and development on the forest, the types of activities typical of these actions must be identified and analyzed. Preparation for the drilling process includes construction of a drilling paid and reserve pit. A typical well site layout for a well deeper than 14,000 feet is shown displayed in this Section of Appendix K. For this type of deep well, it can be anticipated that five to six acres would need to be cleared and graded level for construction of the well pad and reserve pit. Depending on the topography of the well site and access area, this constuction may require the ceation of cut slopes and fill areas. The excavated reserve pit in this example is divided into two sections with total dimensions of 450 in length, 200 feet in width and 10 feet deep and is lined with a plastic or butyl liner (or its equivalent) that meets minimum State standards for thickness and quality. Constructed access roads normally have a running surface (width) of approximately 15 feet and a right-of-way of 30 feet. The length is dependent upon the well site location in relation to existing roads or highways. The typical length of road construction will be about 1/2 of a mile or less. Because the cost of rig time in drilling a well is usually several thousand dollars a day, the drilling is conducted 24 hours a day when possible. The actual time to drill a well will depend on the depth of the hole; the number and degree of mechanical problems, if a well is a dry hole or a producer; etc. An Arbuckle test drilled for 330 days in Yell County, Arkansas, in 1985 to a depth of 13,919 feet, before being plugged and abandoned. Material used in construction of the pads and access road (i.e., rock, shale, or gravel fill), when obtained from the forest, is from sites that have been pre-approved by the District Ranger. Shale and/or gravel used in construction of the drilling pad shall be stockpiled or removed when restoring the area. For all surface disturbing activities, the topsoil is removed and stockpiled for redistribution over the disturbed area prior to fertilizing and reseeding of the site. Restoration of the area normally includes reseeding of the area with natural vegetation, recontouring, drainage control, etc., as determined by the Forest Service. In the event production is established, pipelines and/or flow lines will be constructed in conjunction with the construction of the access roads whenever possible to minimize additional disturbance. Pipeline rights-of-way shall not exceed 25 feet in width and will follow existing rights-of-way where possible. Exact right-of-way widths may be set by the surface management agency. Pipeline depth must be at least 48 inches. When possible, a common point of collection shall be established to minimize the number of production sites. All pipeline designs, construction, operation, and maintenance shall comply with Federal Safety Standard for Gas Lines, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 192, Title 49, unless more stringent requirements are required by the surface management agency.

3. Cumulative Impact of Projected Future Development

Cumulative impacts are determined based on assumptions and analysis of the reasonable foreseeable fluid mineral development in the forest. The scenario includes estimates of the number of wells that may be drilled and the size of areas disturbed. These were determined by analyzing the previous petroleum activity on or near the Ouachita National Forest in nearby Oklahoma where production is from similar age rocks, sedimentary environments, and trappingmechanisms. These impacts are outlined in the following paragraphs. Theseassumptions are necessary for a meaningful and reasoned analysis of thecumulative impacts resulting from oil and gas leasing and development. Adiscussion of how these assumptions were derived can be found in the previous paragraphs. The assumptions are based on an analysis of historic development and conversations with State and industry employees. The oil and gas potential on the Ouachita National Forest is highly speculative as very little drilling activity has occurred. As a result the projections of future development must be viewed as a range of potential development rather than a single scenario. For example, if a strike is made, it is estimated that approximately 132 wells could be drilled on the Forest to define and fully develop the fields. On the other extreme several dry holes could condemn the prospects. The projection of activity over a range is intended to establish the boundaries of minimum versus maximum field development. The projected number of wells to be drilled on each Ranger District of the Forest have been projected based on three levels of drilling activity; low, medium and high. These are shown in the following table titled "Approximate Area Disturbed from Drilling". These projections are used in conjunction with the typical well design to calculate the anticipated cumulative impacts associated with drilling under each scenario. The following are assumptions used in this analysis:

-The maximum area cleared per well site would normally be 6 acres except on the Tiak where 3 acres will be used because of flater terrain and shallower wells.

-The average length of access road per well would be 1/2 mile, the maximum width of the access road disturbance would be 30 feet. The amount of acreage disturbed is approximately 2 acres.

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[photo] men working on an oil well

Area Disturbed by Drilling and Producation Charts

The following chart titled "Approximate Area Disturbed from Production" displays the estimated area disturbed from production, under a low, medium and high scenario within each Ranger District. In the event production is established, the original drilling pad will be used for production facilities and reduced to a maximum area of one acre. In most cases the access roads constructed for drilling will be used for production operations. Hence, the figures in the following chart for well pads and access road represent acreage that was disturbed as a result of drilling and not new disturbance. However, acreage for flowlines does represent additional disturbance. The assumptions for this analysis are as follows:

- The maximum area cleared per well site would normally be 1 acre.

- The average length of access road wper well would be 1/2 mile, the maximum width of the access road disturbance would be 30 feet. The amount of acreage disturbed is approximately 2 acres.

- The average length of a gas gathering line per well would be about one mile. Gas gathering lines right-of-way widths would be less than 25 feet and where possible will follow existing roads. The amount of acreage involved would be approximately 3 acres.

The following summarizes the net cumulative disturbance of drilling and production operations. In many cases the roads used for drilling will be existing roads and would be used after drilling and/or production operations end. This summary assumes that for dry holes, 50% of the roads constructed for drilling are reclaimed and 50% are left at the direction of the Forest Service.
Scenario Low Medium High

Total Area Disturbed (Drilling) 122 Acres 513 Acres 1246 Acres

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Approximate Area Disturbed by Drilling

 
Ranger District Scenario
O&G Drilling Activity
    Low Medium High
1 Choctaw District Number of Wells 8 25 50
  Producers (P) + Dry Holes (D) 2(P)+6(D) 17(P)+8(D) 40(P)+10(D)
  Well Pad 48 Acres 150 Acres 300 Acres
  Access Road 16 Acres 50 Acres 100 Acres
  Total 64 Acres 200 Acres 400 Acres
         
2 Caddo District Number of Wells 0 0 0
  Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
3 Cold Springs District Number of Wells 1 8 17
North of Hwy 80 Producers (P) + Dry Holes (D) 0(P)+1(D) 5(P)+3(D) 13(P)+4(D)
  Well Pad 6 Acres 48 Acres 102 Acres
  Access Road 2 Acres 16 Acres 34 Acres
  Total 8 Acres 64 Acres 136 Acres
         
3 Cold Springs District Number of Wells 0 0 0
South of Hwy 80 Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
4 Fourche District Number of Wells 1 11 22
North of Hwy 28 Producers (P) + Dry Holes (D) 0(P)+1(D) 8(P)+3(D) 18(P)+4(D)
  Well Pad 6 Acres 66 Acres 132 Acres
  Access Road 2 Acres 22 Acres 264 Acres
  Total 8 Acres 88 Acres 396 Acres
         
South of Hwy 28 Number of Wells 0 0 0
  Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
5 Jessieville District        
  Number of Wells 0 0 0
  Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
6 Kiamichi District Number of Wells 4 12 23
  Producers (P) + Dry Holes (D) 1(P)+3(D) 6(P)+6(D) 15(P)+8(D)
  Well Pad 24 Acres 72 Acres 138 Acres
  Access Road 8 Acres 24 Acres 46 Acres
  Total 32 Acres 96 Acres 184 Acres
         
7 Mena District Number of Wells 0 0 0
North of Mena Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
7 Mena District Number of Wells 0 0 0
South of Mena Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
8 Oden District Number of Wells 0 0 0
  Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
9 Poteau District Number of Wells 0 0 0
North of Poteau River Producers (P) + Dry Holes (D) 0(P)+0(D) 3(P)+2(D) 7(P)+3(D)
  Well Pad 0 Acres 30 Acres 60 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 10 Acres 20 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 40 Acres 80 Acres
         
9 Poteau District Number of Wells 0 0 0
South of Poteau River Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
10 Womble District Number of Wells 0 0 0
  Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
11 Winona District Number of Wells 0 0 0
  Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
12 Tiak District Number of Wells 0 0 0
  Producers (P) + Dry Holes (D) 0(P)+2(D) 2(P)+3(D) 4(P)+6(D)
  Well Pad 6 Acres 15 Acres 30 Acres
  Access Road 4 Acres 10 Acres 20 Acres
  Total 10 Acres 25 Acres 50 Acres
         
Total Wells Projected 16 66 13
Total Producers and Dry Holes 3(P)+13(D) 41(P)+25(D) 97(P)+35(D)
Total Area Disturbed Well Pads 90 Acres 381 Acres 762 Acres
Total Area Disturbed Roads 32 Acres 132 Acres 484 Acres
Total Area Disturbed TOTAL 122 Acres 513 Acres 1246 Acres

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Approximate Area Disturbed from Production Table

 
Ranger District Scenario
O&G Drilling Activity
    Low Medium  High   
1 Choctaw District Number of Wells 2 17 40
  Well Pad 2 Acres 17 Acres 40 Acres
  Access Road 4 Acres 34 Acres 80 Acres
  Flowlines 6 Acres 51 Acres 120 Acres
  Total 12 Acres 102 Acres 240 Acres
         
2 Caddo District Number of Wells 0 0 0
  Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Flowlines 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
3 Cold Springs District Number of Wells 0 5 13
North of Hwy 80 Well Pad 0 Acres 5 Acres 13 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 10 Acres 26 Acres
  Flowlines 0 Acres 15 Acres 39 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 30 Acres 78 Acres
         
3 Cold Springs District Number of Wells 0 0 0
South of Hwy 80 Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Flowlines 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
4 Fourche District Number of Wells 0 8 18
North of Hwy 28 Well Pad 0 Acres 8 Acres 18 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 16 Acres 36 Acres
  Flowlines 0 Acres 24 Acres 54 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 48 Acres 108 Acres
         
4 Fourche District Number of Wells 0 0 0
South of Hwy 28 Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Flowlines 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
5 Jessieville District Number of Wells 0 0 0
  Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Flowlines 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
6 Kiamichi District Number of Wells 1 6 15 
  Well Pad 1 Acres 6 Acres 15 Acres
  Access Road 2 Acres 12 Acres 30 Acres
  Flowlines 3 Acres 18 Acres 45 Acres
  Total 6 Acres 36 Acres 90 Acres
         
7 Mena District Number of Wells 0 0 0
North of Mena Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Flowlines 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
7 Mena District Number of Wells 0 0 0
South of Mena Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Flowlines 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
8 Oden District Number of Wells 0 0 0
  Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Flowlines 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
9 Poteau District Number of Wells 0 3 7
North of Poteau River Well Pad 0 Acres 3 Acres 7 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 6 Acres 14 Acres
  Flowlines 0 Acres 9 Acres 21 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 18 Acres 42 Acres
         
9 Poteau District Number of Wells 0 0 0
South of Poteau River Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Flowlines 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
10 Womble District Number of Wells 0 0 0
  Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Flowlines 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
11 Winona District Number of Wells 0 0 0
  Well Pad 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Flowlines 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 0 Acres 0 Acres
         
12 Tiak District Number of Wells 0 2 4
  Well Pad 0 Acres 2 Acres 4 Acres
  Access Road 0 Acres 4 Acres 8 Acres
  Flowlines 0 Acres 6 Acres 12 Acres
  Total 0 Acres 12 Acres 24 Acres
         
Total Area Disturbed Well Pads 3 Acres 41 Acres 97 Acres
Total Area Disturbed Roads 6 Acres 82 Acres 194 Acres
Total Area Disturbed TOTAL 18 Acres 246 Acres 582 Acres

 

Approximate Reclaimed Area

The following area will be reclaimed. This includes the entire well pad for the dry holes, all but one acre for the producing wells and 50% of the roads for the dry holes.

 

Total Area Reclaimed 107 Acres 381 Acres 726 Acres
Total Area After Reclamation 21 Acres 147 Acres 550 Acres




https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/ouachita/landmanagement/?cid=fsm9_039802