Scope and Methods
Energy exploration and development has progressed steadily over the past few years in the Muddy Creek subbasin, Carbon County, Wyoming. The area includes the Atlantic Rim and Creston energy fields. Gravel roads, drill pads, pipelines, buried powerlines, and both production and injection wells have been constructed in the watershed and more are being considered for permitting. Trace elements, such as selenium, arsenic, and copper, are known to occur in soils and water in the watershed, and in some areas at elevated levels. It is important to understand the geologic controls on the source, transport, and fate of these elements so that informed decisions can be made on how and where development should occur.
Eleven sites throughout the watershed were sampled, including the uplands, tributaries, and mainstem of Muddy Creek. Samples or data collected included source rock and soil, alluvial soils, streambed sediments, aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, water quality and streamflow, and sagebrush. Samples are being analyzed for major constituents and trace elements.