Montana State University Extension Water Quality Program has extensive research focus in areas of water quality and soil science as they relate to Montana’s agricultural issues. Within the past several decades much emphasis has been placed on issues surrounding the disposal and/or beneficial use of coal bed methane (CBM) product water; specifically, how product water with a characteristic saline-sodic fingerprint will interact with soil and water resources in coal bed methane/natural gas production areas of Montana and Wyoming.


Background Information
A Novice's Introduction to Coal Bed Methane (2001)
Coal bed methane, otherwise known as natural gas, has a wide variety of energy-related uses. With the current energy crisis and relatively high fuel prices, increased attention has been put on the development of this resource.

Basics of Salinity and Sodicity Effects on Soil Physical Properties (2003)
Saline and sodic water qualities can cause problems for irrigation, depending on the type and amount of salts present, the soil type being irrigated, plant species and growth stage, and the amount of water that is able to pass through the root zone.

Diagnosing Salinity Problems (2003)
The symptoms and causes of salinity, high pH, specific ion toxicity and sodicity are frequently misunderstood. Each have adverse affects plant growth, but differ significantly in their cause and relative impact. Proper field and laboratory diagnostics are critical to successful problem correction when dealing with saline and sodic soil and water quality issues.

Salinity, Sodicity, and Flooding Tolerance of Selected Plant Species of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation (2001)
One concern about coal bed methane development is the potential impact of coal bed methane product water on native and culturally significant plant species in the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Tolerances to salinity, sodicity, flooding and pH have been thoroughly researched to predict how these plants would respond to saline-sodic water produced from CBM development


Frequently Asked Questions
Coal Bed Methane (2003)
Answers to common questions and concerns about coal bed methane extraction, CBM product water quality and management, aquifer drawdown, aquifer recharge and more.

Saline and/or Sodic Water and Soils (2003)
Answers to common questions and concerns about saline and/or sodic water and soils, saline seeps, stream flow and EC, stream flow and SAR, adjusted SAR, crop production, reclamation and more.


Professional Papers on Coal Bed Methane


Literature Reviews
A General Essay on the Bioremediation of Contaminated Soil (2006)
Coal Bed Methane Ownership and Responsibility: A Summary of Surface, Mineral, and Split-Estate Rights (2001)
Quality and Characteristics of Saline and Sodic Water Affect Irrigation Suitability (2002)
Justification for Numeric Standards of Salinity and Sodicity of Water To Be Considered For Beneficial Use For Irrigation (2002)
The Role of Plants in Bioremediation of Coal Bed Methane Product Water (2001)
The Use of Coal Bed Methane Product Water to Enhance Wetland Function (2003)