6 major Permian producers partner on watershed project

By Luke Geiver | November 28, 2017

Noble Energy, Occidental Petroleum, XTO Energy and other major U.S. shale operators have signed on to be a part of the Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative. The program, sponsored by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, aims to support conservation projects in the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico. The Permian Basin is currently the most active shale oil and gas play in the world.

At 900 miles long, the Pecos River extends from its headwaters in northern New Mexico through the borderlands of West Texas and southeast New Mexico. The river system supports a diverse level of species across an arid and semiarid ecosystem including a large number of fish and other aquatic specimens.

The Pecos Watershed Conservation effort is designed to strengthen the health of existing habitats along the river, improve the management and function of native grasslands that have previously been damaged by past management and fragmentation, address water quality and scarcity concerns and identify opportunities to relocate species to areas of their range where they have been lost or to bolster small remnant populations.

Along with Noble, Oxy and XTO, Anadarko Petroleum, Chevron, Shell Oil Co., the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s NRCS Texas and New Mexico divisions and the NFWF are part of the program. Initially, $3.5 million from the founding partners will be used to develop projects and conservation strategies for the watershed. The group will also work with private landowners, nonprofit conservation groups and the participating states to provide project grants. Over the next few months, the group will solicit, review and award competitive grants based on each project’s potential to achieve long-term conservation outcomes for species of concern.

In a joint statement, the six corporate partners in the initiative said the project “is a unique and extraordinary resource, and we are proud to partner with the NFWS to ensure that the development of our nation’s oil and natural gas resources goes hand in hand with protecting wildlife and improving the quality of life for local communities.”

Project applicants can now apply to be a part of the program here