U.S. Geological Survey
Energy development across the northern plains of Montana and North Dakota is occurring at a rapid speed, while invasive species continue to challenge conservation practitioners’ efforts to restore native prairie, grassland and wetland habitats. Led by researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), this study will help resource managers understand how invasive plants are moving and the role of oil development in invasions. Research results will assist wildlife managers, private landowners and the oil industry in developing effective ways to reduce the spread of invasive plant species. More than 46,000 new petroleum-related wells have been drilled in the Williston Basin and Bakken Formation since the first successful Bakken test well was drilled in 2000. The study will examine if there is a pathway for noxious weeds to become established in adjacent native prairie lands associated with well pad construction, and will help the conservation community understand the interactions between recent energy development and the introduction and spread of invasive species across the plains and prairie pothole region.