See more from this Session: Student WSCS/WSSS Poster Competition
Monday, June 20, 2011
The purpose of this study was to determine the most successful carbon(C)-rich soil amendment among ten treatments for use as a reclamation tool on southwest Wyoming’s natural gas well-pads. Although it is known that high C content soil amendments cause immobilization of plant nutrients, and is usually discouraged in agronomic practices, recent research showing the high release of nutrients caused by disturbances to soil through oil and gas development indicates possible benefits of carbon soil additions. These include the microbial metabolism of available nitrogen(N) (which is often a predecessor to invasive plant species’ establishment on drastically disturbed sites); an increase in biomass of native plant species; and an increase in soil organic matter(SOM). Treatments included incorporation of straw, woodchips, and a woodchip/compost mix at three rates, which were designed to contribute equal amounts of N. Treatments were chosen based on their carbon content, as well as local availability. An economic assessment of their viability, in addition to their utility as a soil amendment, was conducted. Treatments were analyzed for basic soil properties including pH, EC, bulk density, particle size distribution, and moisture content, as well as for microbial, C, N, and SOM dynamics. Vegetation monitoring was also conducted to analyze emergent plant populations for species composition and biomass. Year One results presented.