With the exploration and the production of the Marcellus Shale come inevitable unavoidable environmental impacts to the surface of the Earth and associated waters of the United States including wetlands and streams. Environmental impact assessment includes measurement of impacts to aquatic resources, much of which is associated with the production and transportation of Marcellus Shale gas to market. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has prepared a rapid resource condition assessment protocol that will be applied to determine the existing quality of Pennsylvania streams to assess impacts to those streams and to quantify appropriate compensatory mitigation for impacts to these water resources.

This protocol, advanced by the Bureau of Waterways Engineering and Wetlands of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, builds on prior work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District and the Unified Stream Methodology of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to provide a consistent and rapid condition assessment for projects to obtain water obstruction and encroachment permits, for water quality certifications, as well as general permits that affect waterways, floodways, and/or floodplains.

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