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Seismic testing to begin at Arkansas WMA

From the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

-- In the near future, natural gas exploration activity on Gulf Mountain Wildlife Management Area will begin. Crews with Chesapeake Energy of Oklahoma City will survey the area to mark streams, buildings and other protected locations to avoid with seismic activity.

The activity will not interfere with upcoming or current hunting seasons. High populations of white-tailed deer are found throughout the entire area.

Chesapeake is responsible for complying with strict environmental standards under the terms of its lease with the AGFC. It is required to consult with the AGFC about the location of any well site. The AGFC must approve all plans for construction of structures, rigs, machinery, communication facilities, roads, well locations, pipelines and equipment for drilling of wells.

The AGFC has included provisions in the lease agreements that the WMAs, wildlife and fisheries be protected by following guidelines detailed in the Best Management Practices for Fayetteville Shale Natural Gas Activities. The document was developed by a multi-agency group to ensure all Arkansans benefit from the additional energy and the conservation of important public resources such as wildlife, rare plants, clean air and water.

People who utilize the WMA will notice hazard surveying crews walking through the woods or riding ATVs as they determine sensitive locations. Hole location surveying will be indicated by ribbons tied to tree limbs for easy identification and stakes nearby with GPS coordinates written on them in black marker. After surveying is complete, source locations will be drilled beginning March 1.

Once hole locations are marked, sound waves will be shot deep into the Earth by vibrator trucks or energy impulses. Magnetic recorders will mark the length of time it takes for the waves to reflect to geophone receivers on the surface. The impulses will be mostly undetectable as they contain very little energy capacity. All trash, ribbons and stakes will be removed once seismic work is complete.

AGFC employees will closely monitor all exploration activities under the lease agreement with Chesapeake. The agency will make sure the test areas are safe and present minimal disturbance to the land.

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