As part of FracTracker’s staff spotlight series, learn more about Ted Auch, PhD and why he started researching the impacts of oil and gas development.
Time with FracTracker: 3 ½ years
College: University of Vermont BS and PhD, Virginia Tech
Office Location: Cleveland Heights, OH
Title: Great Lakes Program Coordinator
What do you actually do in that role?
My interests include topics such as environmental justice, ecosystem services, watershed resilience, and landscape alteration(s). My work here at FracTracker focuses on the Food, Energy, and Water (FEW) nexus as it relates to hydraulic fracturing and related oil & gas activities/infrastructure with a focus on waste, watershed resilience and freshwater demand, and land-use change.
Previous Position and Organization
2011-2012 Vacant Land Repurposing (VLR) Postdoc, Cleveland Botanical Garden
2012- Present Adjunct Faculty, Cleveland State University, Teaching Intro Environmental Science and Geology, Soil Ecology
How did you first get involved working on oil and gas issues/fracking?
I had experienced the environmental and socioeconomic costs of fossil fuel extraction while I was a graduate student at Virginia Tech researching strip-mine/mountain top removal reclamation best practices as part of the Jim Burger’s Powell River Project. However, it wasn’t until I moved to Ohio in 2011 that I began to become aware of similar issues associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF). I began to notice that there are many parallels between the techniques and how they alter communities, the landscape, and watersheds. Thus, when I found out about the chance to join the FracTracker team here in Ohio I saw that it was an opportunity I could not pass up.
What is one of the most impactful projects that you have been involved in with FracTracker?
The projects I am most proud in my capacity here at FracTracker would be our research into the effects of HVHF freshwater demand on the resilience/security of the Muskingum River Watershed in eastern Ohio and our work shedding light on the effects of frac sand mining across several Midwestern states. The latter topic is poorly understood on many levels, and we hope that our work has/will highlight the gaps in understanding and potential research opportunities.