Raptor Energy Project

Beginning in 2003, the BLM Buffalo Field Office began searching for and monitoring active and inactive raptor nests in close proximity to proposed coal bed methane (CBM) wells in the Powder River Basin (PRB), located in northeastern Wyoming.  The purpose of these surveys was to ensure proper mitigation of impacts from the proposed wells on local raptor populations.   With this database, collected by BLM field biologists and contractors, we at the Wyoming Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit are now analyzing the data looking for patterns in nest activity and proximity to/timing of well construction.  We aim to determine (1) temporal and special trends in raptor nest activity in relation to CBM development, (2) differing reactions between raptor species to an increasingly disturbed environment, and (3) additional environmental factors (besides the CBM wells) that may be influencing changes in raptor activity.  The BLM will then use our findings to (1) determine whether current timing limitations for the Conditions of Approval (COA) for CBM wells are an effective management strategy, and (2) develop species-specific disturbance-free buffer zones around CBM wells.


Reports & Publications

Project Publications

Carlisle, J.D., L.E. Sanders, A.D. Chalfoun, and K.G. Gerow. In review. Raptor nest-site use in relation to the proximity of coalbed-methane development.


Project Reports

Carlisle, J.D., A.D. Chalfoun, L.E. Sanders, and K.G. Gerow. 2015. Effects of CBM development on raptor nest site occupancy in the Powder River Basin.  Pages 10-13 in M. Hillis, B. Irey, G. Kennett, editors, 2015 Campbell County, Wyoming Raptor Symposium Proceedings.

Chalfoun, A.D., K.G. Gerow, J.D. Carlisle, and L.E. Sanders. 2013. Analysis of temporal and spatial patterns of raptor nest occupancy in areas of coal-bed methane development in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming. Final Report to the Bureau of Land Management, Buffalo Field Office and Wyoming Game and Fish Department.


Jason Carlisle, Ph.D. Candidate
WY Cooperative & Wildlife Research Unit
Dept. 3166, 1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY 82071
[email protected]
office: (307) 766-2091

Anna Chalfoun, Ph.D.
Assistant Unit Leader
WY Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit
Dept. 3166, 1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY 82071
[email protected]
lab: (307) 766-5415

Ken Gerow, Ph.D.
Professor and Head of Statistics, and Director, Statistical Consulting Center
Ross Hall 337
University of Wyoming
Laramie, WY 82071
[email protected]

Lindsey Sanders, M.S. candidate
WY Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit
Dept. 3166, 1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY 82071
[email protected]

Project Lead

Jason completed a PhD in 2017 in the Program in Ecology at the University of Wyoming. He was based in the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit within the Department of Zoology and Physiology.


1907: Commercial construction of coal bed methane wells in the Powder River Basin began, and has continued since at an increasingly accelerated rate

1989: Coal-bed Methane Environmental Assesment, Eastern [Johnson] and Western Campbell Counties begins assessing impacts of CBM development in the Powder River Basin

Spring 2003-2011: BLM Buffalo Field Office begins raptor nest surveys in close proximity to CBM PODs (Plans of Development)

Fall 2011: Analysis of the raptor data collected thus far through the BLM monitoring efforts begins at the University of Wyoming through the Wyoming Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit

Funding & Partners

Bureau of Land Management

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Collaborator Resources

BLM Wildlife Survey Protocols: http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/wy/field-offices/buffalo/wildlife.Par.34632.File.dat/WildlifeSurveyProtocol.pdf

BLM Buffalo Field Office: http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/field_offices/Buffalo.html

BLM Raptor Metadata and Geodatabase files: http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/field_offices/Buffalo/wildlife/data.html