A non-profit group working out of Shepherdstown, WV, is dedicated to the use of modern imaging methods and scientifically sound techniques to examine environmental issues in our region, around the nation and world.
SkyTruth promotes environmental awareness and protection with remote sensing and digital mapping technology. We provide stunning images backed by scientifically robust information about our changing environment to stimulate changes in habitat protection, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable resource management. We design and conduct our projects in close partnership with environmental groups, local planners and resource managers to complement their work on a broad spectrum of environmental issues. SkyTruth’s mission is to motivate and empower new constituencies for environmental protection. We use scientifically credible satellite images and other visual technologies to create compelling pictures that vividly illustrate environmental impacts and provide these pictures and supporting data to environmental advocates, the media, and the public.
SkyTruth envisions a world where all people can see and understand the environmental consequences of human activity everywhere on the earth, and are motivated to take action to protect the environment.
To find out how we can help you, learn more about what we do…
For an example of an Alert from SkyTruth, this one regards a Dominion Resources permit for horizontal well fracking in Harrison county, WV, click here.
Amy Mathews Amos of SkyTruth has recently written an article excerpted below entitled: “Tracking Fracking: The Sky’s the Limit”
The Cessna single engine plane could seat only four people, but LightHawk pilot Jamie Gamble, Tioga County Planner Jim Weaver, chief photographer George Patterson of The Downstream Project and Downstream’s Director Bill Howard were serving as the eyes for thousands of concerned citizens on the ground. In a first time ever collaborative effort on May 31, they took grass roots monitoring of Marcellus shale gas activity in north central Pennsylvania to the sky, combining cutting edge technologies with the expertise of at least nine different nonprofit organizations and government partners. As they looked down at the landscape below, dotted with farms, forests and small towns, the guys in the cockpit realized this was a game changer: Even in the remote forests of Pennsylvania, the impacts of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” for natural gas would no longer be hidden.
With roughly 2,000 sites permitted across a five county region that includes remote state forest land—and more than 10,000 sites permitted statewide since 2008—information gaps are inevitable. Questions remain about what people are finding in their watersheds and just what everyone should be looking for in the first place.
“The science isn’t here now to really understand the impacts of fracking on the environment for the long term,” according to Julie Vastine, Director of the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM). ALLARM developed the scientific protocol used by many local groups to measure changes in water quality, and over the past two years has trained more than 750 people in Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia to monitor their water for fracking impacts. But they want to do more.
“We had this really big aha moment about six months into our program,” says Vastine, when they realized that combining data across the state was critical. “Because we have so many streams—83,000 miles of streams and rivers in the state—as many volunteer sites that we can add to a central repository will add to our knowledge of what’s happening.”
SkyTruth, based in neighboring West Virginia, can help. SkyTruth’s Alerts System already maps sites permitted for fracking activity by state agencies in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, making basic information about drilling activity accessible to the public. The next step is helping citizens and scientists share their data to study impacts as gas sites morph over time from pristine forest land to active drilling sites to spent wells.
The Shale Network, a collaborative effort involving Penn State University, ALLARM and the University of Pittsburgh, is working to make those data available to government and academic scientists around the world for in depth studies. High on the list of priorities: creating an interactive, user-friendly portal that will give the Waterdogs and other citizen’s groups an easy way to connect with the universities’ networks and share their information with scientists.