About Shale Network

The Shale Network is a project funded by the National Science Foundation to help scientists and citizens publish data about water resources that may be affected by gas exploitation in shale. Started in November 2011, the project was initiated by scientists from Penn State, the University of Pittsburgh, Dickinson College, and throughout Pennsylvania. Our goal is to find, organize, and upload data for water resources for online publication. Your data can help. To learn more about the Shale Network and how you can help, contact us.

The Shale Network is a group of individuals working together to organize water quality and quantity data in regions where shale gas is being exploited. The Steering Committee of the Shale Network derive from Dickinson College, the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, and the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences, Inc. (CUAHSI). The group was funded by the National Science Foundation in October 2011 to put together the database and to run annual workshops between 2012 and 2016.

The Shale Network database connects researchers, agencies, industry representatives, and community organizers to generate societally-relevant knowledge from data collected by diverse groups of scientists and citizens. The Shale Network acts as an honest broker that collates datasets and learns and teaches how to synthesize that data into useful knowledge.

The Shale Network Mission

Our mission is to:

  • Identify groups, especially in Pennsylvania, that are collecting water data in the region of extraction of natural gas from Marcellus and other shales and create a sustainable network among these groups by arranging and helping to organize their data and generate opportunities to discuss and analyze the data
  • Work with the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences, Inc. (CUAHSI) to organize a water database that can be used to establish background concentrations and to assess impacts across extraction regions of the Marcellus and other shales
  • Train students in database development and use for betterment of communities impacted by shale gas extraction
  • Facilitate community groups in organizing, collecting, and interpreting water data
  • Evaluate hydrogeochemical data using geographic information systems (GIS) that incorporate population and economic data in order to evaluate the potential for public health risk factors

The Shale Network Vision

The Shale Network will create a central and accessible repository for geochemistry and hydrology data collected by watershed groups, government agencies, industry stakeholders, and universities working together to document the natural variability and potential environmental impacts of shale gas extraction activities.