Investigation of the vulnerability of water resources at Chaco Culture National Historical Park related to threats from oil and natural gas drilling

Primary Investigators

USGS Investigators: Ben Linhoff

NPS Investigators: Arron Adams

Project Details

Start Year: 2019

Category: Intensive

Funding
2019 2020 2021
$99,920 $99,930 $99,320
Project Location

NPS Park: Chaco Culture NHP

USGS Center: New Mexico Water Science Center

States: NM

CHCU is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as an important holy ceremonial site for the Navajo and Pueblo tribes. Nearly 60,000 visitors a year travel to the park, many of whom stay one or more nights in park campgrounds. These visitors, the park staff who make their experience possible, and neighboring Navajo families, all rely on a single vital resource—groundwater from the Gallup sandstone aquifer. The aquifer harboring the only potable water in the region is currently a target for oil and gas development.

This study will characterize the hydrogeology and water quality of the groundwater system relevant to the CHCU water supply. The objective is to assess the risk of contamination of the park’s water supply from oil and natural gas extraction activities.