Berkeley Lab

October 2018 – Quick update and hunting season reminder

I wanted to send along a short “virtual site visit” presenting the recent (and ongoing) shale drilling activity at East River. This visit will find you on the Pumphouse lower montane hillslope as we core a 70m deep borehole designed to capture hydrogeochemical processes much deeper than we’ve done so to date.

In general the coring has gone well, however, the weather gods have not been cooperative, as conditions along the steep access road have been challenging. We paused drilling for safety reasons tied to the recent ~30cm of snowfall, and we will be resuming coring at two locations close to Gothic designed to collect samples from regions of the Mancos shale more heavily altered by igneous intrusives. A final update will follow once we finish up that work toward the end of this coming week.

During the drilling activity, we’ve had the pleasure of welcoming Lee Liberty of Boise State University to the watershed. Lee is a newly funded DOE University PI, and he and his team are collecting seismic reflection data along many of the roads within our study area using a novel tow-along seismic streamer. We look forward to having Lee update us on his project and findings during a future Watershed Science Community call.

Important Health and Safety Reminders

The first rifle hunting season starts today Saturday Oct. 13 and runs through Oct. 17th; the second rifle season is Oct. 20-28. Please wear an orange vest, hat or jacket for visibility and safety. Like other personal protective equipment, the costs of these vests, hats, etc. are reimbursable. Please stop by the local hardware store, Walmart, or sporting goods store to purchase these supplies if you will be in the field during hunting season.

Related to this, I wanted to emphasize the importance of suitable field gear. We recently had an incident where one of our employees fell while trying to cross the East River near the Rustlers Gulch access point. As many know, this crossing has become challenging over the past year due to a large beaver dam immediately downstream of the crossing. Multiple cars have flooded their engines trying to cross earlier in the year, as the water line was above the engine air intake. As a result, many folks are crossing the river by foot upstream using logs and rocks to avoid getting their feet a bit wet. Such crossings can be challenging — the proverbial falling off a log. For safety reasons, such crossings should be made using appropriate footwear, such as hip boots, waders or water shoes, in order to minimize risk associated with walking the tightrope so to speak. Please don’t risk an injury just trying to keep your toes dry. As with the orange vests and hats, the costs for proper field footwear are reimbursable expenses.