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A Legacy of Impact: 1866-2008

New legacy happening now: Eagle Ford Shale

Permian Basin

Impact beyond direct exploration and production: pipelines

Historic Drill Site: NRCS Oil-waste land Range Site

Modern Drilling Site: Restored native grassland

Historic Pipeline Right of Way: Old World bluestem seeded

Modern Pipeline Right of Way: Native Plants seeded


If you do

then this is possible

What are the impacts? •  •  •  •  •  • 

Habitat loss Habitat degradation Soil degradation Invasive species Altered land use Bare ground/loss of vegetation

Loss of native habitat

Directional drilling allows you to lose‌


‌.instead of this

But, you’ll need this:

Maybe the biggest problem?

Limitations to restoration of native plants in Oil and Gas Production 1.  Lack of appreciation of the impacts on native plant communities –  We need more education efforts –  We need to educate the public and the industry –  Are we preaching to the choir?

Limitations to restoration of native plants in Oil and Gas Production 2. Conflicting recommendations –  Which seeds to use? –  How to plant them? –  What are the expectations? –  Who can do this work? –  Without a consistent message from resource experts and landowners. doubt will persist in industry that we know what to do –  Seed Company Ethics? •  Sales vs. failures •  What you have vs. what they need



Limitations to restoration of native plants in Oil and Gas Production 3. Consistent Results –  Unrealistic expectations and poor performance of many recommendations –  Narrow and difficult recommendations –  Bad information –  Poor site handling –  Poor seed sources –  We have to deal with droughtits always around the corner ! (every planting you will see a picture of was done during the worst drought since 1950)

Limitations to restoration of native plants in Oil and Gas Production 4. Cost & Feasibility –  Recommendations & motivations –  Seed supply –  Cheap exotic grass seed –  Expensive native seed –  Poor quality native seed –  Unless made to do otherwise, the cheapest “natives” will be used

Brown Ranch, La Salle County, TX

Recommendations: •  We have to provide realistic advice: – Don’t recommend the most elaborate, difficult to follow restoration plans in oil and gas projects-they will not be followed. •  Plants are not the oil and gas industry’s priority •  Be willing to invest yourself if you ask an operator to do so

– Be careful to build a wall with cost or take sides •  Evaluate what the operator is comfortable with price-wise •  Holding firm for $300/acre seed mixes is not realistic when $100/acre mixes are the norm

Temple Ranch Duval County, TX

As a group, what we need to do: •  Develop estimates of the extent of impact •  Simplify our recommendations •  Document the problems of exotic plant use and habitat loss as a results of the actions of oil and gas industry –  Scope? –  Impacts?

•  Improve cost and supply of effective native seed sources –  Supply of many recommended seeds won’t provide for even a minority of projects occurring, or on the horizon –  Premium priced seeds will never see widespread voluntary use by industry, if other options that work more consistently are available and cost much less –  Supply, supply, supply is imperative

Dobie Ranch, Atascosa County, TX

The biggest limitation is good seed! •  • 

Cost: $400 per acre vs. $15 vs. $80 Availability: 2010-2011 wild harvest don’t cut it; many areas of the state clearly have no suitable seed sources available –  –  –  – 


Gulf Coast East Texas West Texas Most of Central Texas

Adaptation: What ecotype grows where? How far can you move seed? Industry-wide consistency is needed. –  Seed industry needs to realize the importance of a consistent message with the oil and gas industry –  When one call will get an operator the answer they WANT, there is a problem

•  •  • 

Quality: Bulk seed sales vs. PLS sales Cleanliness: Q: How did the chicken find the restoration seeding in North Central Texas? A: It looked for the Wilman Lovegrass and KR Bluestem. We have to get better results: Many if not MOST native seedings FAIL! But Why? –  Lack of diversity in seed mixes –  Poor planting technique –  Poor site preparation

Buen Vecino Ranch, Wilson Co., TX

The Opportunity Today •  As an “conservation industry” those of use involved in restoration have an opportunity of demand for what we do, right now, possibly unlike any we have ever had: –  Scale of oil and gas activity –  Impacted species of concern are seriously of concern to the oil and gas industry –  Land economics and real estate values support restoration actions, even expensive ones.

•  Time to move out of the shadows and oddness and into the mainstream. •  Restoration is relevant today to ranchers, politicians, industry, and the public-everybody.


Historic Pad Site, Maverick Co, TX

Resources •  South Texas Natives •  Texas Native Seeds – Send us GPS coordinates and we will reply with a written seed mix recommendation-based on science

•  USDA NRCS Plant Materials Centers •  Texas Parks and Wildlife Department- “Voluntary Conservation Practices-Balancing Wildlife Conservation and Oil and Gas Development in the Eagle Ford Shale Region of South Texas”-if a Landman calls, get a copy!

Dream big: What if every dot on this map was a restored native prairie? What an opportunity!

After the boom forrest smith ls  
After the boom forrest smith ls