A Legacy of Impact: 1866-2008
New legacy happening now: Eagle Ford Shale
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
PROTECT THE TOPSOIL
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 loseâ€Ś
â€Ś.instead of this
But, youâ€™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!