Saline-sodic water impacts to soils and vegetation Conference Paper uri icon


  • Saline-sodic waters derived from coalbed methane (CBM) gas production are being applied to rangelands and production agricultural lands within the Powder River Basin (PRB) of Montana and Wyoming. Impacts from 1 to 4 years of irrigation with saline-sodic waters (EC's = 1.8 to 4.0 dS m -1; SAR =15 to 38) to soil and vegetation were examined on study sites with variable soils, vegetation communities, and water management strategies. Soil chemical and physical parameters (pH, EC, SAR, texture, bulk density, water infiltration rate and Darcy flux rate) from treated (irrigated) sites were compared with those of representative control (non-irrigated) sites at 6 depth intervals to 120 cm. Saline-sodic water applications significantly (P=0.05) increased soil EC values at depths to 60 cm and SAR values to 30 cm. Infiltration rates and Darcy flux were significantly (P=0.10) reduced on treated vs. control sites. Saline-sodic water applications significantly increased both above-ground biomass production and canopy cover of perennial grasses compared to controls on all study sites. Up to 4 years application of CBM waters has significantly altered soil chemical/physical properties, soil water flow dynamics and native vegetation communities, resulting in significant considerations for reclamation potential of these lands.

author list (cited authors)

  • King, L. A., Vance, G. F., & Ganjegunte, G. K.

publication date

  • December 2005