About the Jonah Interagency Mitigation and Reclamation Office (JIO)
The JIO was created by the Jonah Infill Drilling Project Record of Decision (2006) to provide overall management of field monitoring and mitigation activities, both on- and off-site.
To perform these functions, the JIO manages a monitoring and mitigation escrow fund with monies committed by EnCana Oil & Gas (USA), Inc. and BP America Production Company. The original funding of $24.5 million was divided into $16.5 million for off-site mitigation of wildlife impacts and $8 million for other positive environmental impacts. JIO funds are held by the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, established by the State of Wyoming to protect wildlife habitat and other natural resources.
The JIO is staffed with specialists from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Wyoming Game & Fish Department, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, and the Bureau of Land Management. Oversight of the JIO is provided by an Agency Managers Committee, composed of participating Agency directors . The Manager’s committee generally meets about 4 times a year to provide senior-level guidance, evaluate past performance, and review future needs and planned activities.
The JIO solicits project proposals from interested parties (individuals, agencies or organizations) on a continuing open-season basis with October 31 as the deadline for applications to be funded the next calendar year. These projects must meet the spirit of the Jonah ROD - namely mitigating resource impacts associated with the Jonah Field development.
In addition to managing the Jonah Field on-site monitoring and off-site mitigation, the JIO provides adaptive management recommendations to the BLM regarding overall field development. Recommendations are based on ongoing evaluations of current mitigation effectiveness, in particular reclamation success.
JIO staff are actively involved in reclamation monitoring, air quality monitoring, livestock and rangeland health issues, as well as wildlife habitat management and improvement.
About the Jonah Infill Drilling Project (JIDP)
The Jonah Natural Gas Field is an area of west central Wyoming, south of the town of Pinedale, in the Upper Green River Basin. Jonah’s 30,000 acres of rolling sagebrush are 94 percent federally owned. The area has one of the richest concentrations of natural gas in the United States, estimated at more than 14 trillion cubic feet.
The JIDP is expected to produce nearly 8 TCF of natural gas over the 76-year life of the project, enough to heat 4.8 million homes for 20 years. Total economic activity from natural gas and oil production would be approximately $30.5 billion. Under the Jonah Record of Decision (ROD), taxes and federal royalties are estimated at $6.1 billion. The royalty would be equally split between the State of Wyoming and the federal treasury.
The Jonah ROD limits the amount of total surface disturbance at any given time to 46% of the 30,500-acre field. However, reclaimed acreage will be credited toward available surface disturbance limits, up to a maximum cumulative surface disturbance of 20,300 acres. Mitigation measures both within and near the Jonah Project area will help protect and/or improve other natural resources like wildlife habitat, water and air quality, and livestock forage.
The Jonah Field contains one of the most concentrated reserves of natural gas in the U.S. The current FEIS/ROD maximizes recovery of this resource while minimizing impacts to other natural resources through innovative off-site mitigation, on-site monitoring and a decision that encourages industry to minimize development’s footprint while maximizing interim reclamation.