Case Study Quantifies Value of Restored Native Vegetation in Eagle Ford Shale Play

Case Study Quantifies Value of Restored Native Vegetation in Eagle Ford Shale Play

 Natural resource partners determine that native vegetation restoration on oil and gas production sites  can be economically beneficial 

College Station, TX—Texan by Nature (TxN), in partnership with EOG Resources Inc. (EOG),  EcoMetrics, LLC, and Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute (NRI), released report “Valuing Native Vegetation Restoration on Oil & Gas Rights of Way,” which details the results of a  new case study designed to quantify the environmental and economic return of native rangeland restoration in the Eagle Ford Shale play.

 Until now, limited data has been available to evaluate the difference in returning disturbed lands to native states versus the traditional use of non-native seeds post-production. The study, facilitated by Texan by Nature and funded by EOG, aimed to  understand the full scope of this difference, including broad ecosystem impacts and social benefits, and create a business case for native vegetation restoration by industry.

 Evaluating the full scope of benefits, this case study revealed that:

  •   native vegetation restoration creates a greater aggregated value per acre ($1,196/acre) than non-native vegetation ($930/acre),
  •   the native restored sites showed good indications of ecological health with 116% more species abundance compared to non-native production sites,
  •   soil model analysis indicated 172% less surface runoff at the native restored sites, consequently, less sediment lost in runoff,
  •   and native vegetation restoration modeling shows increased potential for 50% higher carbon sequestration rate through increase in biomass, water retention and microbial activity 

“We are excited to share the results of this study,” said Gordon Goodman, Vice President of Environmental and Sustainability for EOG. “We hope the data from this research will provide industry with useful information for future restoration projects.”

“We align with Texan by Nature’s goal to recognize industry partners who can be catalysts for expanding native habitats beyond production sites to benefit working lands,” said Dr. Roel Lopez, Director of NRI and department head of RWFM. “This is the first time we’ve been able to quantify biodiversity benefits of native rangeland restoration, and it adds value for businesses.”

“This study offers industry leaders science-based data to make decisions that embed conservation in their operations and create long-term benefits for people and business.” says Joni Carswell, CEO and President of TxN. “We are proud of industry partners like EOG taking pioneering steps to demonstrate innovative models for the globe to follow.”
Over the two-year period described in the case study, researchers with NRI monitored soil health, carbon sequestration, and biodiversity at four study sites including 1) a native-restored grassland, 2) a non-native-restored grassland, 3) a native-restored well pad, and 4) an unrestored well pad within LaSalle County. These field observations were then paired with literature values to quantify the overall Social Return on Investment (SROI) uplift provided by native over non-native restoration, which is estimated to be $266 per acre. The final economic analysis was conducted by EcoMetrics to provide decision-making tools for industry operators in future restoration projects.

 To read the case study and full research report, visit: tx.ag/QGepr4H

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