The ShaleNetwork 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 ShaleNetwork derive from Dickinson College, Pitt University, Penn State, and the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences, Inc. This group was funded by the National Science Foundation in October 2011 to put together the database and to run annual workshops between 2012 and 2015. The ShaleNetwork database will connect researchers, agencies, industry representatives, and community organizers together to generate societally-relevant knowledge from data collected by diverse groups of scientists and citizens. The ShaleNetwork acts as an “honest broker” that collates datasets and learns and teaches how to synthesize that data into useful knowledge. The network will be informed by the understanding developed by ALLARM over the last 25 years working with citizen scientists. The ALLARM approach stresses that observational data can act like a “canary in a coal mine” to help communities.
The ShaleNetwork Mission:
- identify groups, especially in PA, that are collecting water data in the region of extraction of natural gas from Marcellus and other shales
- create a sustainable network among these groups by arranging an annual meeting to discuss and organize this 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.