Assessing restoration outcomes on natural gas well pads in the Upper Green River Basin of Wyoming

The Jonah Field is a large natural gas field in southwestern Wyoming leased to energy operators by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The development of natural gas infrastructure is a large-scale disturbance on big sagebrush plant communities in this region. Reclamation is the mandated form of restoration meant to stabilize these disturbances after mineral extraction and return the ecosystem to its pre-disturbance state. Damaris’s research will assess historic restoration outcomes on well pads based on the seeding methods that were implemented and the age of the well pads since development. She will characterize plant community composition and structure on and off of well pads to evaluate the effectiveness of historic restoration, then will simulate restoration trajectories under future climate scenarios using simulation modeling. This work will contribute to a more detailed understanding of the restoration dynamics of big sagebrush plant communities under current and future climates.



Damaris Chenoweth, Western Resource Fellow | Damaris is a plant community ecologist and doctoral student at Yale School of the Environment. Her dissertation work focuses on restoration and recovery dynamics of big sagebrush plant communities at natural gas disturbances in southwestern Wyoming. She is particularly interested in the role of recruitment and early successional dynamics in determining restoration outcomes under climate change and uses a combination of field work and simulation modeling to investigate these topics. Damaris is from Princeton, New Jersey and has a BA in Biology from Skidmore College and an MESc from Yale School of the Environment.  See what Damaris has been up to.  |  Blog