Fractured knowledge: Mapping the gaps in public and private water monitoring efforts in areas affected by shale gas development

Abby Kinchy, Sarah Parks, Kirk Jalbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Spatial gaps in environmental monitoring have important consequences for public policy and regulation of new industrial developments. In the case of Marcellus Shale gas extraction, a water-intensive new form of energy production that is taking place in the state of Pennsylvania (USA), the perception of large gaps in government water monitoring efforts have motivated numerous civil society organizations (CSOs) to initiate their own monitoring programs. Using geospatial mapping, this study reveals that nearly half of the watersheds in the region lack government water monitoring, and CSOs are the sole source of continuous or frequent monitoring data in 22% of the watersheds. While many watersheds remain unmonitored, the gaps do not map on to demographic characteristics typically associated with environmental injustice. This study probes both the reasons for and the implications of the gaps in watershed monitoring, drawing conclusions about the promise and limitations of citizen science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)879-899
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Government and Policy
Volume34
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • citizen science
  • environmental monitoring
  • epistemic inequality
  • Marcellus Shale
  • spatial knowledge gaps
  • water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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