Pecos Watershed Initiative
Our investment in the Trans-Pecos and the Pecos River Watershed of west Texas goes beyond energy resources to benefit local communities, lands and wildlife. In 2017, we joined with six other oil and natural gas companies, the USDA Natural Sources Conservation Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife, New Mexico Game and Fish and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to launch the Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative (PWCI). The PWCI is an unprecedented strategic partnership that supports landscape-scale conservation projects in the Pecos River Watershed, which extends from eastern New Mexico into West Texas and composes a large portion of the Permian Basin. The PWCI’s long-term goals include strengthening the health of existing habitats along the Pecos River and its tributaries, improving the management and function of native grasslands, addressing water quality and scarcity concerns for wildlife and agricultural uses, and identifying opportunities to re-establish species to areas of their range where they have been lost or to bolster small remnant populations.
2018 was the first year of project funding. During the year, the PWCI awarded $1.4 million in project grants to restore and preserve riparian and grassland habitats and the species that depend on them in the Pecos River Watershed of eastern New Mexico and West Texas. These funds generated $2.3 million in matching contributions from grantees, for a total conservation impact of more than $3.7 million. Each of these projects employs science-based and cost-effective conservation strategies that will benefit wildlife and habitat in the near future, as well as supporting long-term restoration goals. Our partnership continues into 2019, as we identify and support projects that align with the conservation goals of the PWCI.
“The Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative represents a new approach to conservation in a landscape that is important to our national economy and is also home to a unique array of wildlife,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO, NFWF. “Bringing together ranchers, conservationists, and energy producers is the best way to quickly and effectively implement conservation projects on the ground that help at-risk species today.”
Noble Energy has also partnered with the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) to fund the Grassland Restoration and Retention Program (GRRP), focusing on benefitting the burrowing owl. The GRRP works with private landowners in the Trans-Pecos to engage in brush management practices that improve degraded rangeland to a condition where it can be utilized by the burrowing owl. These landscape-scale projects also benefit other grassland species, including quail and antelope. The goal of the GRRP is the restoration of 70,000 acres of grasslands.
“The WAFWA Grassland Restoration and Retention Program is an innovative private/public partnership for conservation on private lands within the energy nexus of the Southern Great Plains. The program leverages donations from companies with funding from state and federal agencies to restore habitat for more than forty grassland species across two target areas, focusing on the lesser prairie-chicken in the High Plains region and the burrowing owl in the Trans-Pecos region.” – Sean Kyle, Industry Services Representative, WAFWA