At its February 15 board meeting, the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) is expected to lease 3,500-acre Seneca Lake reservoir for unconventional shale drilling, known as “fracking.” The lease, negotiated with Antero Resources of Colorado, will allow the third largest inland body of waterr in Ohio to be hydraulically fractured for the natural gas industry.

The MWCD will receive tens of millions of dollars by signing over almost 7,000 acres of mineral rights at Seneca Lake and the surrounding area. The MWCD projects to earn over $300 million in royalties by leasing Seneca Lake reservoir for drilling. The conservancy district has already received signing bonuses of $40 million by leasing two other reservoirs, Clendening and Leesville in southeast Ohio. In addition, the MWCD could receive hundreds of millions of dollars in royalty revenues from these leases and others that are expected to be signed with the gas industry.

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